No. 77: Corn Mezzaluna at Bar Dough
Pizza, pasta, a handful of entrees and a collection of appetizers: Not much to grab your attention on the menu at Bar Dough, right? Italian joints are scattered across Denver's culinary landscape like flecks and clumps of shaker cheese atop a bowl of spaghetti. But at Bar Dough, the details make the difference. Smoked mushrooms on a pizza or a streak of charred eggplant paste underscoring a tangle of grilled octopus arms give dishes beauty and distinction. And on a plate of mezzaluna — dainty half-ravioli — the visible artistry immediately apparent hides a burst of summer flavor as rewarding as it is unexpected.
But first the visible: Soft half-moons of pasta, trimmed with scalloped edges, come topped with cross-sections of meaty mushroom, vivid nasturtium petals and baby red sorrel leaves. A dusting of cracked pepper and a glaze of olive oil add a finishing touch. Unseen until the first cut of the knife: A creamy, sweet-corn filling that bleeds pale yellow onto the plate. Best to bite into the ravioli whole; they're a little bigger than a quarter, and the corn filling bursts onto your tongue all at once. Chef Max MacKissock forgoes the familiar Italian tricks (after all, this could easily have been doused in standard sage and brown butter or some heavy bacon concoction) to create something altogether more ephemeral — and more Colorado at heart.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop
No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
No. 98: Porchetta and Kimchi Sandwich at Brider
No. 97: Squab-and-Sunchoke Tortellini at Abejas
No. 96: Housemade Burrata at Viand
No, 95: Schweinshaxe at Rhein Haus
No. 94 Kimchi Jeon at Seoul BBQ
No. 93: Zuppa Pomodoro at Parisi Italian Market & Deli
No. 92: The Ocean Salad at Sushi-Rama
No. 91: The Signature Bowl from Churn & Burn
No. 90: Green Chorizo at Los Compadres
No. 89: The Diavola Calzone at Pino's Neighborhood Pizzeria
No. 88: Biscuits and Green Chile at the Noshery
No. 87: Chirashi at Izu Sushi
No. 86: Brisket and Ribs at GQue Championship BBQ
No. 85: The Tornado at the Chowder Room
No. 84: Korean Fried Chicken Wings at Yong Gung
No. 83: A Meatball Hero at Lil' Ricci's New York Pizzeria
No. 82: Shakshuka at Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen
No. 81: Late-Night Ramen at Brazen
No. 80: Potato Tacos at El Tejado
No. 79: Corned Beef Heart at theWay Back
No. 78: The Fried Bologna Sandwich at Snarfburger
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.