Jensen Cummings, the chef de cuisine at TAG, jokingly calls Denver Restaurant Week "Denver Restaurant Half Month," a phrase he's coined to remind diners (and the service industry) that DRW is definitely longer than the one week its name implies. But if DRW was, in fact, one week long, then Cummings, along with TAG exec chef Troy Guard, would have had enough kangaroo to get them through the last day. As it turns out, the kangaroo, a starter on TAG's DRW menu, has proven so popular that Cummings says the kitchen will likely serve the last of it tomorrow night -- two days before DRW comes to a close.
"I initially ordered 100 pounds, originally thinking that no one would want it -- that we'd be running it as a special next weekend -- but by tomorrow night, we'll have gone through about 200 pounds of it and won't likely have any left for Thursday and Friday," says Cummings, adding that only a handful of diners have sent the dish back. "Kangaroo meat should be served rare; otherwise it can get really tough. But not everyone wants rare meat, so we've had to cook a few of them a bit more -- but not many," he adds.
The flesh, flash-seared, hued ruby red and impossibly tender, comes plated with lemongrass-scented gnocchi, tatsoi microgreens and a jus enlivened with the funk of fermented black beans. And, yes, it's worth all the begging, bribing and butt-kicking of other diners you'll have to do in order to get it. "The feedback has been incredible, and people can't stop talking about it," says Cummings.
And for diners like Hotdog, who posted the following comment on our daily Denver Restaurant Week post, kangaroo sounds exactly like the kind of thing he's looking for:
I have gone to 7 restaurants in 9 days, and I have gorged on good, rich food. Three friends/relatives went with me. I will pass on the rest of the RW week unless I find something that really is different.
Because of costs, it seem that most restaurants on the high end come up with very simple menus -- steak, salmon, chicken -- although very nice preparation. I have had too much steak this past week, I even tried chicken twice! Creme brulee seemed to be on everyone's menu.
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By the way, there's no chicken on TAG's DRW menu, which is posted on the following page.
Hop to it.
First Course Choice of one:
Australian Kangaroo / Kabocha Squash / Lemongrass Gnocchi / Chinese Black Bean Jus or Hawaiian Ahi "Salad" / Persian Lime / Jerusalem Artichoke Chips / Smoked AioliCulver or Duck Confit Empanadas / Brûléed Avocado / Smoked Goat Cheese / TAG Mole
Second Course Choice of one:
Steelhead Trout / Soy Bean / Quinoa / Sunflower Seeds / Piquillo Peppers or Center Cut Pork Loin / Long Beans / Green Onion Smashed Potatoes / Chile Pasilla Sauce or Colorado Bison Shortribs / Sweet Potato Purée / Brussels Sprouts / TAG Pancetta / Kung Pao Butter
Third Course Choice of one:
White Chocolate Bread Pudding / Beet Raspberry Gel / Ancho Chile Chocolate Crumble / Crushed Hazelnuts or Nutella Semi ~ Freddo / Black Pepper Crust / Nutella Powder / Raspberry Lemongrass Ice Cream or Citrus Almond Sponge Cake / Pear Gelée / Micro Shiso / Miso Caramel