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First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR

The team behind TAG RAW BAR, which opened today in Larimer Square
The team behind TAG RAW BAR, which opened today in Larimer Square
Lori Midson

At exactly 11 a.m. today, the doors of TAG|RAW BAR, located in the newly remodeled Larimer Square walkway, swung open, and by 11:30, the orange sherbet seats at the pint-size raw bar were jammed with chefs, including Lola's Jamey Fader, curiosity-seekers, tourists and regulars from TAG, the whimsical Larimer Square restaurant owned by husband and wife team Troy Guard and Leigh Sullivan, who also operate TAG|RAW BAR.

One by one, they sauntered in, greeted by jovial shouts of "poppycock!" from the line, led by Guard, Sam Freund and Shawn Motoda, both of whom came from TAG. "It's like when you walk into someone's house, and they say 'welcome,'" explains Guard, who gives everyone an amuse of poppycock when they sit down. "It's our way of welcoming people inside our restaurant."

A restaurant, says Sullivan, who recognized several faces that wandered in, that's definitely not your typical dinner destination for a heavy meal that sits in your stomach like a house of bricks. "The entire menu is small plates, and if you want to leave really, really full, then you're going to have to eat quite a few things on the menu," she says. "You're not going to get an entree, but you're going to leave filling satisfied and energized," echoes Guard, adding that nothing on the board, which is divided into sections -- "Raw," "Almost Raw" and "Sushi" -- is cooked beyond 120 degrees. "What we're doing is all about fresh, clean, pure, raw flavors that make your body feel good," he says.

Sullivan and Guard are still waiting on their liquor license, which they should have by tomorrow night, but while the cocktails, all of which are concocted with fresh-squeezed juices and fresh fruits, sound amazing, there's also a section devoted to "Sober Sips," alcohol-free liquids that also benefit from the use of fresh ingredients, not to mention wacky little nuances, like red hots. "You know what Troy's like," says Sullivan. "He likes to do all sorts of crazy, weird things."

Today, though, Guard was all business, turning out artistically composed plates that do a body good. We stopped in early this afternoon to sample a few dishes and brought back a taste of what you have to look forward to.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Harissa-dusted poppycock with roasted sesame kombu sweetened with mirin.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

The TAG|RAW BAR counter, which overlooks the exhibition kitchen.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Scallop and ahi ceviche with micro-cilantro and pico di gallo.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Fire and ice sushi roll with triangles of ahi and hiramasa straddling small blocks of avocado, shiso and cucumber. It's drizzled with octopus oil and served with slivers of daikon, half moons of dragon fruit and a small mound of tofu and wasabi foam that's sprayed tableside.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Goat cheese salad with red beets, mache and li hing mui -- dried plum powder.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Hearts of palm salad with blueberries, ginger, watercress and honey.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Hericot verts specked with white sesame seeds, sprinkled with soy and enlivened with Korean garlic chives.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Kobe beef tataki with arugula pesto, tomato relish and tatsoi.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Colorado lamb loin, seared with a blow torch, glistened with tarragon oil and plated with Stranahan's peach gastrique, sunchoke chips, mizuna and Parmesan shavings.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Hawaiian ahi topped with rings of jalapeno and pooled in a ponzu sauce with carrots, watermelon radishes and carrots.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Cucumbers with rice vinegar, agave, sesame and fluttering bonito flakes.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Hot tamale limeade, squeezed with fresh lime juice, infused with a hot tamale syrup, wreathed with thinly sliced limes and topped with red hots.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Haupia, a traditional coconut-based Hawaiian dessert plated with diced mangoes, pineapples and dragon fruit with a tamarind gastrique and dabs of pineapple gel.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Monkey bread iced with vanilla glaze.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Yuzu-meringued tarts and Mexican chocolate macarons.

First look: Food porn from TAG|RAW BAR
Lori Midson

Executive chef/owner Troy Guard with his brand new, out-of-the-box Japanese knife.

TAG|RAW BAR is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; 5 p.m to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more info, call 303-996-2685.

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TAG|Raw Bar - Closed

1430 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202

303-996-2685

www.tagrawbar.com


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