The Corner Office shouldn't work. It's over-active, over-designed, over-achieving. Its menu covers dozens of different cuisines, from Greek htipiti dip to fish tacos. There are disco balls in the bathrooms.
But rather than being a vile yuppie wonderland, the Corner Office is interesting and satisfying. Its happy hour, running from 3 to 6 p.m. and with additional drink specials from 9 to 11 p.m., has been famous since the eatery's opening in 2007. Like a good assistant, it often pops up with fun activities, like the Sexy Momma Disco Brunch. It even dresses up for the holidays with a now-traditional take on Thanksgiving dinner. I went to measure the worth of the Corner Office's bread and butter -- but then again, that would be too pedestrian for this place.
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Even with a globe-trotting menu, the Corner Office is known for comfort food, primarily the award-winning fried chicken and waffles ($16) and the happy-hour burger and fries ($8). I missed out on a highly recommended deal by forgoing the burger, but I wanted to stamp my passport with some of the more exotic choices on offer.
I was glad to see that the Office had retooled itself a little bit from my last visit: The menu had been tightened up, and the weird 50 Shades of Grey vibe inside and outside has been downplayed. My bartender knew just when to interrupt or make a suggestion. It was a well-oiled happy-hour machine. I put in an order for some Brazilian cheese bread, aka pao de quejio ($5), and wondered why these doughy nuggets of delight weren't more common snacks here in Denver.
The kitchen apparently deep-fries the cheese bread, which made these balls a bit dry. But beneath the crust there was a surprisingly authentic-tasting fusion of cheese and starch. Because carbs are my Kryptonite, I supplemented that with a Korean scallion pancake ($6), which had plenty of veggies and a serious umami effect between a savory aioli and the salty batter. But no points to the person who thought it was a great idea to pair it with a giant bowl of ponzu sauce, thereby creating extreme dissonance between the thin ponzu and the creamy aioli.
With neither Brazil nor Korea having been disgraced by the Corner Office's culinary experimentation, I went on to revisit a longtime menu staple, the pork-belly slider ($4). The Office must have been ahead of the pork-belly curve seven years ago, but today this slider is pretty standard -- though from the slice of quivering meat to the tangy slaw, standard tastes pretty good.
You can't judge a book by its cover. Fifty Shades Freed isn't the memoir of a dour escape artist, and the Corner Office is more than disco balls and gimmicks. Happy hour is supposed to be fun, after all, and the folks back at the office embrace it.
Perfect for: Denver Center employees and actors. Theater patrons usually have someone to impress with fancy wine and dining, but the hardworking folks across the street can take advantage of $3 drafts and $5 well drinks. Don't Miss: The happy-hour burger always comes up in conversations about the Corner Office. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it is a fine burger at a fine price. Also, if you're not a holiday person, their Thanksgiving Day dinner looks delicious as always.