When Emmerson opened at 1600 Pearl Street in Boulder in mid-August, it was the intention of founder Ben Kaplan and his team to be a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Two months later, Emmerson has achieved that goal, launching breakfast and lunch service this week.
Kaplan says that adding hours took a little longer than expected because of the current shortage of restaurant labor in Colorado. "We're very selective about the caliber of talent we bring in to execute at a very high level," he explains.
Executing at a very high level means turning out a variety of breakfast pastries under partner/pastry chef Jeb Breakell as well as a range of savory dishes designed by Michael Gibney, who's the executive chef and also a partner in the business. The two are both veterans of the New York restaurant scene, so their first order of business was perfecting a New York bodega breakfast sandwich, marked on the menu with "BEC SPK" — that's bacon, egg and cheese with salt, pepper and ketchup, for those unfamiliar with the ubiquitous NYC breakfast.
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From there, a worldly variety of breakfast dishes are available, from the Chinese-inspired duck-leg congee to a yeast-risen waffle reminiscent of Belgian street food. Eggs in Purgatory atop creamy polenta, toast in various levels of morning attire (house butter, cheese with fermented berry preserves, or avocado, tomato and radish dusted in furikake), and steel-cut oats with bacon lardons and syrup offer enough flavors and textures to keep early risers satisfied. "These guys don't do anything just sweet," Kaplan notes. "It's always savory and layered and complex."
He also recommends the "eggs-on-eggs" omelet, explaining that "it's a really straightforward omelet — and then Michael lines the inside with trout roe. I was really so pleased with how that turned out."
Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., overlapping with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The lunch menu is small but offers a daily pasta, a Reuben (there's that New York influence again) and a dry-aged-beef burger, along with lighter options for Boulderites on the go. There's also a fun list of morning cocktails and full coffee service, with beans from Middle State Coffee.
Can't make it to Emmerson early? No problem; there's also a new happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m., with $5 wines and bubbles by the glass as well as plenty of nibbles from the crudo bar.