No. 84 Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall 1317 14th Street 303-595-4255
When the phrase "chips and dip" appears on a restaurant menu, your eyes tend to slide right past to more interesting options. At Euclid Hall, though, that would be a mistake. As with all the dishes at this modern take on a German beer hall, you always get a little more than you expected -- even after reading the full description on the menu. If lemon goat cheese dip and two styles of duck -- one smoked with oolong tea and the other a confit -- don't seem interesting enough, the final presentation of this dish is both clever and deeply delicious.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
Yes, the dish is essentially chips and dip, as the name states. The chips are crispy fried Kennebec potatoes scattered over a smooth and creamy goat-cheese dip with the intense flavor of lemon zest but without the tartness of the juice. A layer of shredded duck confit sits between the chips and the dip, tender enough that you don't need a fork -- a potato chip is all that's required to scoop up a little of the duck and a little of the dip, creating a mouthful that combines the rich, mildly gamy meat with the brightness of the goat-cheese blend.
The surprise is the tea-smoked duck, shaved frozen over the chips in leaf-thin pink curls. The duck thaws almost instantly, but still hits your mouth ice cold, in contrast to the warm confit. The flavors open up on your tongue -- a hint of smoke, a sweet layer of fat and the steak-like quality of the medium-rare duck breast. A little dill and extra virgin olive oil finish the plate and add herbal notes to the mix.
This isn't a new dish on the menu, but it maintains the same level of surprise and delight as the first time we dug into it. Chef de cuisine Josh Prater, who started as sous chef when Euclid Hall first opened, has continued putting out thoughtful and fun plates that seem new and fresh with each visit. The balance of hot and cold, the combination of savory and zesty, and the textural collision of crunchy chip with toothsome duck make this chip and dip combo stand out despite its unassuming name.
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 email@example.com.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
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