We're approaching the heart of growing season in Colorado, and chefs at restaurants all over the city have been incorporating the very best of what's available into their lists of dishes. Abundance means that menus are changing frequently, too, and daily specials are often brilliant showcases of produce at its peak.
Here are five mid-summer menus we find particularly intriguing:
We've been digging ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro's posted specials, which have recently included a watermelon salad and a beef carpaccio with fresh vegetables and edible flowers. But we're also eager to sample the new dishes, including a porterhouse with watermelon, tomatoes and corn puree; a lobster roll; and a new pho dish. The crew also brought back one of our all-time favorites: the cold, tart green papaya salad with fresh green beans, tomatoes and tamarind sorbet.
Summer's brought all sorts of changes at EDGE Restaurant & Bar, the restaurant in the Four Seasons, and the dinner menu now features items like foie gras with cherries, halibut with English pea and sweet corn ragout in a huckleberry gastrique. But we're arguably more interested in the More Than Just a Sundae Supper, a Sunday night three-course prix fixe menu that ends with ice cream sundaes like the Carnal Caramel -- dulce de leche ice cream topped with chocolate-covered potato chips -- and the Campfire, an ice-cream-and-topping combo meant to mimic s'mores. Plus, if you don't like one of EDGE's options, you can craft your own.
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We're on a major radish kick this summer, and we're particularly digging the crisp, spicy vegetables done simply in a little salt and butter. We've seen that exact dish on the menu as a special at Table 6 and, more permanently, at Colt & Gray.
Potager is just back from its summer break, and it reopened its doors with a menu that celebrates some of the best aspects of summer produce. We're lusting after the baked goat-cheese soufflé with grilled peaches; fresh mozzarella with a tomato-strawberry salad; and the hand-cut noodles tossed with corn, green beans, basil, tomatoes and more peaches.
Boulder's Cafe Aion varies things on a daily basis, and the menu is rife with local finds. Recent favorites include house-cured coppa and mission figs, minestrone with pea sprouts and peas, broccoli with a smoky bread-crumb salsa, turnip salad and -- one of our favorites -- beer-battered squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta.