No. 73 Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn 3350 Brighton Boulevard 720-542-3721 Acorn in the Source has been earning praise almost since the day it opened. Of chef and co-owner Steve Redzikowski's now-iconic kale and apple salad, our restaurant critic Gretchen Kurtz wrote: "The recipe is now a classic; the salad has been on the menu from the start at both Oak (the chef's Boulder restaurant) and Acorn." Acorn has become such a well-deserved destination for dining and cocktails, it's easy to forget that the kitchen serves up a distinctive menu of lunch dishes, only a few of which carry over to the dinner hour. The open-faced, smoked turkey croque-madame sandwich is one of the lunch-only treats that draws us in for a daytime sample of what makes Acorn so special.
The restaurant just recently started carrying loaves from Grateful Bread, a slice of which forms the base of this sandwich. Chef Amos Watts says the next layer is turkey breast that's been brined, smoked over oak for twenty minutes, then roasted to finish. Tenderbelly applewood bacon adds more smokiness; a classic Mornay -- with Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses -- enrobes the whole thing in silky richness.
If that's not enough, a single fried egg perches atop everything to add its lush yolk to the mix. It's not a delicate sandwich by any means -- a knife-and-forker for sure -- but Watts, who added it to the menu as hearty fall fare, says it has been selling well even during warmer days. Maybe it's the sprinkle of fresh baby herbs or that sunny egg on top, but we'd eat this dish come rain or shine.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're already loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next nine months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, 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.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
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No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co. No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe