Ad Hominem opened over the weekend in the former home of Charcoal at 43 West Ninth Avenue, bringing an eclectic and creative menu to the Golden Triangle.
Executive chef Chris Martinez and chef de cuisine Catie Reese are both Rioja alumni, and their time there shows in certain details, including housemade bread service and attention to plating and ingredients. The menu is small, with only fifteen items — divided between small plates and entrees — on the opening slate, plus a handful of desserts. Inspiration comes from around the globe, with a "dim sum" plate of pork bao buns and smoked sushi rice, a South American cornmeal cake called a cachapa served with chicken, and wakame (a type of seaweed) served with pork belly and a duck egg. The team also takes advantage of the yakitori grill (part of Charcoal's original kitchen) to grill up octopus, chicken wings and other proteins that benefit from time over wood coals.
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Ad Hominem has teamed up with Rebel Farm, a local hydroponic greenhouse, to offer fresh greens, herbs and other produce from its 15,000-square-foot indoor operation in southwest Denver. The farm has also installed a small hydroponic display case between the restaurant's bar and dining room where trays of plants will provide additional color and flavor to plates.
Martinez says he plans to give the same level of attention to proteins. The opening menu is heavy on pork as part of the chef's focus on Niman Ranch meats in April; in May he will switch over to lamb from Boulder Lamb for the month. But there's also plenty of seafood, house sausage (a dish of blood sausage and scallops combines both) and poultry, and there will always be meatless options, too.
Ad Hominem is now serving lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (starting at 10 a.m. on weekends), happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 11 p.m. (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Brunch is also in the works, but is still a few weeks away. Call 303-454-0000 or visit the Ad Hominem website for additional details.