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 [email protected]
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co. No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium No. 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale No. 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill No. 69: Tahini Cauliflower from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs No. 68: The Ham and Cheese Tartita from Maria Empanada No. 67: Ronnie's Favorite from Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli No. 66: Shoo-fly Pie from the Long i Pie Shop No. 65: Czech Potato Pancakes at Sobo 151 No. 64: Fried Chicken at the Post Brewing Co. No. 63: Braised Brisket Sandwich at Masterpiece Delicatessen