No. 62: The Scotch Egg from Argyll Whisky Beer 1035 East 17th Avenue 303-847-0850
Argyll began its life at a time when the word "gastropub" was still a novelty in Denver, and it survived a three-year hiatus after owner Robert Thompson closed down his restaurant in Cherry Creek North and waited for the right space to open in Uptown. But instead of seeming like a tired resurrection of a worn-out concept, the new Argyll improved on its take on British food with Indian flourishes, by keeping what was playful and delicious when it first opened, adding flair from chef John Broening and modernizing the bar program with craft cocktails, a big list of esoteric beers and a focus on whisky (and whiskey) from around the globe. One dish that survived the move, although in a slightly different form, is Argyll's Scotch egg, which first made its appearance as a brunch item at the old location.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
The general form of the Scotch egg is still there: a soft-boiled egg encased in a layer of sausage before being breaded and deep-fried. The sausage layer is thin and firm, almost like a wrapper of country pate. The yolk is miraculously runny inside its casing of egg white, meat and crunchy bread-crumb crust.
Broening's contribution to the dish is an apple-fennel slaw that adds lively freshness and a mustard aioli that, combined with the yolk, brings the flavor of deviled eggs to mind. It's a humble appetizer that captures rustic-pub simplicity while somehow rising to gastronomic brilliance. The technical achievement is just baffling enough to make the dish more interesting, even beyond its savory appeal. While many deep-fried bar bites rely on fat and salt to mask ordinary food, Argyll's Scotch egg uses the technique to add wonder and delight. One golden-brown sphere with its molten core, served with a dram of Highland malt whisky, is enough to ensure the continued life of the gastropub, at least for as long as Argyll cares to stick around in its new home.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
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