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In the feeding frenzy, we left the fried artichokes almost untouched — but only because, served as halves, they required too much effort to eat and became casualties of our distraction. But we didn't need that dish, anyway. Even if we hadn't ordered appetizers, our entrees would have been plenty of food...and good food, at that. I couldn't wait to return.

On my next visit, Rob and I shared a booth and a meal that started with pumpkin-and-pear soup and a baked burrata salad. Several spoonfuls into the soup, I couldn't decide whether I liked it. Pumpkin is a bland vegetable that requires a lot of seasoning to pep it up. The kitchen had sweetened the soup with pear purée and studded it with delightful textural elements — like crunchy pepitas and chewy poached pear — but it still needed something savory to bring the flavors into balance, and the dollop of mascarpone in the center didn't do the trick. The salad, however, was outstanding. Burrata, with its stretchy casing and creamy center, is a top-notch cheese, delicious even when served with just a little salt. The kitchen had gone much further, though, pitting the burrata against bitter greens and sweet figs, complements in both texture and flavor, and wintery enough that I didn't mind eating raw vegetables on a freezing night.

Rob had ordered the risotto as an entree, and I spent a few minutes seething with envy after it came to the table. Preparing risotto is time-consuming, and Crimson Canary had clearly taken a great deal of care with this dish, adding stock in layers to achieve a rich creaminess, cooking the rice until it was an ideal al dente, tossing the shrimp in at the last second so that they didn't overcook, then garnishing the risotto with a slice of crisped prosciutto — which added a one-two punch of porky goodness and texture — and fresh pea shoots, which pair so well with prawns. My Italian grinder — which piled salami, mortadella and provolone on two halves of a lightly toasted baguette — paled in comparison. It might have worked better at lunch, but Crimson Canary doesn't open until 3 p.m.

Crimson Canary's risotto is an offer you can't refuse. See more photos from the Crimson Canary.
Mark Manger
Crimson Canary's risotto is an offer you can't refuse. See more photos from the Crimson Canary.

Location Info

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Crimson Canary

141 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80223

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Southwest Denver

Details

Crimson Canary
Fried calamari $9
Side meatball $2
Side pasta with marinara $3
Osso bucco $15
Linguini with clams $14
Shrimp risotto $15
Italian grinder $9
Baked burrata salad $8
Pumpkin-and-pear soup $5
141 South Broadway
303-284-9026
Hours: 3 p.m.-1:30 a.m. daily (kitchen closes at midnight)

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On my own in the neighborhood late one afternoon, I decided to reward myself after a long day with a glass of cheap, simple, juicy negroamaro red wine. The cold had me craving red sauce, so I asked for a couple of side orders, one of spaghetti and the other of meatballs, to make my own spaghetti and meatballs. The same house-cut pasta we'd enjoyed in the clam linguini came topped with a thick, chunky, herb-laden tomato sauce, tangy and pungent from oregano, with just a little kick from dried red peppers. The same sauce complemented a pair of dense, all-beef meatballs, redolent with more oregano and tons of garlic. Together the dishes packed the punch of a circa '70s Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro or Marlon Brando movie: classic Italian-American, as glorified by Hollywood.

After I'd licked the dishes clean, I paid my check, and the bartender handed over a coupon for a discounted bottle of wine with the purchase of an entree. "Come back soon," he said.

"I will," I promised. Even without the wine deal, a meal at Crimson Canary is an offer I can't refuse.

See more photos from the Crimson Canary

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4 comments
Elwood
Elwood

Squid is a fish now?

NeilRobertson
NeilRobertson

I also forgot to mention my biggest pet peeve: the red wine being served in a rocks tumbler. The last time we went went we got the usual red in a tumbler while a friend ordered a white wine which was served in a wine glass. The red was a $10 glass, by the way. It was clear that the red was only half the portion. We even saved a second glass to test it when we ordered another round and asked for it to be poured in a wine glass this time and it came out to be just half. I felt scammed.

NeilRobertson
NeilRobertson

Crimson Canary is near my house and I've gone a number of times out of convenience, as well as initially intrigue since Interstate is a favorite of mine, but this review had me cracking up! As well as questioning if the writer went to the same restaurant I've been to as recent as last week. Then I remembered that several friends have also agreed on the disappointment it is the broadway scene. So I'm left with questioning if this writer has any food knowledge. Probably just friends with the owner. The space is lacking in creativity and looks as if it was thrown together over a weekend. Though, the bar area itself is pretty slick. The menu is the first thing that threw me off. It's introduction of the restaurant sounds like it was written by the cast of the jersey shore for a lodo club. "Red carpet experience", really!? The mob theme is entirely kitsch! To the point it comes off as a joke. Then the food... all three times the meatballs were dry, it almost seemed as if they were microwaved. The cheese selection was limited to mozzarella and provolone. Far short of being "fairly serious". The burrata was repeatedly cold and lacked a warm center. You would have thought this reviewer was talking about Il Posto. Then again, there you are forced to speak about the actually flavor, what stands out, the processes rather than simply what makes up the dish which is the only thing this reviewer accomplishes. All in all, this is a joke of the review, doesn't represent this restaurant at all and I know readers that are compelled to go 'cause of it will be disappointed.

 
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