No. 45: Pasta puttanesca from Sketch
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Just a few months ago, Brian Laird, the former longtime executive chef of Barolo Grill, was flipping burgers at Rockbar, and the introduction of those burgers, for whatever weird reason, caused a major uproar with Rockbar die-hards whose chagrin was more than palpable. "We can get burgers anywhere! We cannot shamelessly dance our faces off anywhere else. DON'T DO THIS!," screeched one Cafe Society commenter. Blah, blah, blah. In any case, Laird has since moved on to Sketch, the wine, charcuterie -- and now -- pasta bar in Baker that's owned by Jesse Morreale, who also oversees Rockbar. And here, Laird has returned to his roots, turning out bowls of majestic housemade pastas, including his pasta puttanesca, which, if you didn't already know, was allegedly invented -- and made -- by prostitutes, who relied on the sauce's come hither perfume to lure customers. But when you order Laird's puttanesca, you're getting a lot more than that: His textured, chunky sauce, flecked with red chile flakes, tangled with capers and olives and scented with garlic and a whisper of anchovies, is better than most sex.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:
No. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro No. 93: Posole from The Porker No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor No. 74: South African black ruff from TAG No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One No. 72: New England clam chowder from Bittersweet No. 71: Celery and lime popsicle from Spuntino No. 70: Curried split pea soup from Modmarket No. 69: Mais pizza from Pizzeria Locale No. 68: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola No. 67: Frico caldo from Frasca Food & Wine No. 66: Sea scallop and rock shrimp noodle bowl from Bones No. 65: Luther Burger from Crave No. 64: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden No. 63: Bouillabaisse from Deluxe No. 62: Crue fries from D Bar Desserts No. 61: Chili gobi from Jai Ho No. 60: New Mexican eggs Benedict from DJ's Berkley Cafe No. 59: Lamb vindaloo from Cuisine of the Himalayas No. 58: Gazpacho verde from Zolo Grill No. 57: Hama Hama oyster from Jax Fish House-Denver No. 56: Mixiote de borrego from El Trompito Taqueria No. 55: Samosas from the British Bulldog No. 54: Mole verde with carnitas from Tarasco's No. 53: Pork chop from Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar No. 52: Santa Fe skillet from Hits the Spot Diner No. 51: Pork tenderloin with bread pudding and green split peas from the Wooden Table No. 50: Noodle jelly salad from Thai Street Food No. 49: Telluride jalapeno poppers from Encore No. 48: Carnitas from Araujo's No. 47: Croque Madame from Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe No. 46 Xiao Long Bao from Lao Wang Noodle House In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up...before Best of Denver® 2012. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.