As so many of our favorite restaurants have been forced to close to diners during the coronavirus pandemic, one space that had been closed for a remodel before the mandated shutdown has been able to reopen its service, at least partially, to the public. Call, Beckon’s more casual sibling, has popped up during its still-in-progress remodel (which began last fall) to offer its delights to takeout and delivery customers. Given how sad I was to have to give up my regular RiNo stops at Call in 2019 because of the remodel, I was thrilled to make it my first carryout happy hour.
Call’s menu is limited, but, as before its hiatus, the execution reveals the sort of intention I dream about every time I go out to eat. Not including the two family dinner options (which are unfortunately a little large for my needs), the menu offers a total of six items: a salad ($10), soup ($12), a snack/dessert ($10), and three sandwich-esque items ($16 each). The eatery also offers two different wine price points in a choice of red or white: $30, with the claim “Really good, gets the job done," and $50, “Really great, also gets the job done.”
First, let’s talk about the weather. We're at least fortunate that the weather has been friggin' gorgeous these past few days. And you know what goes with good weather? A picnic feast, to go. As far as I can tell, Call is doing it right. Walking up to the restaurant for pick-up, I see a sandwich board on the sidewalk but am blocked from entering the interior of the restaurant. Instead, the hand-off is made cleanly, one woman’s gloved hand reaching across the table with my pre-paid paper bag of goodies, and I’m off. It's amazing (if strange) when distancing truly feels like care and community.
I can’t wait to get to my backyard picnic table. I’m most nervous about the Danish aebleskiver, which I’ve already decided to eat first. Will the quasi-fried dough balls turn chewy in transit? What about Call’s famous homemade bread? Once I’ve returned home and spread the goods on the picnic table, I almost can’t wait to take photos before I dig in (so you will notice the absence of the sixth aebleskiver).
I opted for Chef Duncan’s World Famous Chicken Salad Sandwich, the Smoked Mushroom Tartine, and, while I would have loved to mow down a Pork + Fried Egg Sandwich (which I already knew was one of the best sandwiched pork products in Denver), I decided I should expand my horizons with the Danish aebleskiver. And, lest I forget, I went with Call’s $30 white-wine option, which turned out to be a light German riesling (a 2016 Weingut J.B. Becker Wallufer Walkenberg riesling kabinett trocken), something that would under normal circumstances have made an appearance at one of Beckon's multi-course tasting dinners — turned into a cherry-picked deal special to these times.
Despite my nerves, each of the items traveled brilliantly. The aebleskiver, still warm and crisp on the outside, revealed a soft and springy interior. Tearing the sphere in two, I used one half to scoop up a side of tangy ricotta sauce and the other to dip into the preserved fruit. Smooshing the two halves back together, I plopped a perfect sweet-tart bite into my mouth. Later that evening, my roommate and I fought over the last fried ball, which miraculously held up to the test of time — even if we had already devoured the tasty toppings.
After the sweet start, we turned to the famous chicken sandwich, which was light and summery, with about equal parts chicken confit and romaine and celery. The bread was nothing less than divine — well-toasted and crisp on the exterior, with a soft and stretchy chew and a perfect glaze of oil; I almost wanted to eat the filling and its holster separately.
I shouldn’t have saved the best for last, but I couldn’t help it. The tartine was so beautiful to look at, that thick slice of homemade bread weighed down by rich ricotta, meaty mushrooms, and a smattering of dill and parsley. I couldn’t believe how many gorgeous mushrooms Call had loaded on, not to mention a healthy coating of parmesan. Meanwhile, the accompanying dill and parsley acted as so much more than garnish, instead a tiny, refreshing herb salad.
With all that’s going on, I felt so fortunate for the sunshine and sustenance, but most of all for the fact that chef Duncan Holmes, Allison Anderson and the rest of the team have chosen to keep producing, focusing on their simple menu and outstanding bread program. That’s what I Call a silver lining.
Call is located at 2845 Larimer Street. Order for delivery or pick-up by visiting call-denver.com or calling 303-954-0230, then get your food between 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. The restaurant also has family dinners for pick-up, including prime rib and roast chicken.
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