D Bar Desserts sweetens the vegetarian food scene

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As adults, we can eat what we want when we want -- which sometimes means dessert for dinner. And those are the times you'll want to head to D Bar Desserts, 1475 East 17th Avenue, where the Food Network's Keegan Gerhard creates beautiful cupcakes and truffle treats for the display case, as well as decadent delights that pack a dessert menu. There's also a "Things We Like to Eat" menu, which contain several entree options for non-meat-eaters. (Vegans, too!)

The restaurant opened at 5 p.m. this past Sunday and was already close to full by 5:05, with families filling up the tables, a trendy couple sitting at the bar to watch the dessert prep, and Gerhard himself with his laptop propped open at the other end of the bar, talking shop with an associate. The sky-blue-and-chocolate-brown decor had been festively updated for the holidays with a simple, elegant ornament display and understated wreaths on the door; thankfully, the music piping over the loudspeakers was bereft of the ubiquitous holiday tunes, and instead offered up some intelligent drum-and-bass, Coldplay and Gary Jules.

The thin-crust Pizza Salad Sandwich, pictured above, was priced at $9; it contained pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese and D Bar's Simple Salad (baby greens, pine nuts, grape tomatoes, red onion and lemon vinaigrette). Vegans can order it without the cheese; the Simple Salad is also available on its own for just $5, a steal for lighter diners.

Another worthwhile option was the veggie pan, a grilled veggie mix (mostly eggplant and zucchini) with parsley pesto, Fruition farms ricotta and a balsamic onion marmalade; on the side was a quinoa and couscous salad with whole peas and chunks of carrot. The ricotta added a beautifully creamy texture to the sandwich, but vegans could go without and still be satisfied.

Other vegetarian dinner entrees include the vegan dressed avocado and the baked mac-and-cheese. Vegans don't fare so well with the dessert menu, but there are always the cupcakes from Watercourse ...

The meal ended with a brand-new addition to the dessert menu (which is why you won't see it online), cleverly titled the Nu-Flay. The Guayaquil chocolate (64 percent cacao) souffle was served with Nutella beignets and candied hazelnut ice cream. You could smell the souffle baking long before you saw it in front of you -- and it was so big, it was definitely a dessert to share.

D Bar is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m.; call 303-861-4710 or visit www.dbardesserts.com.

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