If you walk past Bar Dough's bathrooms and continue through what looks like an emergency exit, you'll find a staircase that leads to the restaurant's office. In this space — which, with its corner copy machine and computer-stacked desks, is one of the most unlikely dining rooms in Denver — resides Segretto, a private dining experience that's offering some of the most exciting cooking in this city.
Segretto is the private playroom of Bar Dough chefs Max MacKissock and Blake Edmunds: It's a fully customizable experience unleashed by the Bar Dough team that you can book for anywhere from two to ten people. MacKissock says it was inspired by the Broncos, who would come to Bar Dough to "get weird" after their games. "We would just shut the door and let them do their thing," says the chef.
The kitchen began allowing other parties to book that office space, where it offers the inventive fare that MacKissock had made his calling card at the Squeaky Bean, fare that's been refined over the years at both that restaurant and Bar Dough. That menu is bolstered by Edmunds, who's been with MacKissock since the Bean moved to LoDo, and is also a partner at the future Señor Bear, where he'll be executive chef.
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If you do book the room — which, despite the office supplies, is cozy and intimate under candlelight — your experience is fully customizable, so no private dining room meal is going to be the same. "Some people order family-style, others go for a full-on, multi-course meal," says MacKissock.
At an introductory Segretto dinner last night, we ate a thirteen-course feast that included tagliarini tossed with rich, verdant uni and topped with taut lobster; seared foie gras in a peanut-and-mint-spiked squash consomme somehow reminiscent of Thailand's best papaya salad; and a parsnip cake edged with a sharp mascarpone icing and bitter pine nuts. The last was like a walk through an autumnal Colorado forest, enhanced by a pine-branch centerpiece, doused in warm water so that it would give off thematic aromatics. And everything at this meal was paired with wine culled from deep in Bar Dough's cellar.
Rates for Segretto start at $150 per person and are customizable depending on what you choose. Do yourself a favor and leave most of the creativity up to the kitchen; the front of the house handles wine pairings beautifully, too. Call the restaurant at 720-668-8508 to secure reservations.