Under culinary director John Broening, the menu at Argyll Whisky Beer is full of temptations, from classic to contemporary pub fare. Still, I'm always drawn to the Scotch egg, which is coated with ground sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden. And I find it hard to resist a few other appetizers around town; here are four favorite starters.
4) Steamed Bao Ace 501 East 17th Avenue 303-800-7705 If you take your ping pong seriously, you might eat light at Ace for strategic reasons, so you can chase down whatever your opponent sends your way. I don't, but I do eat strategically. And at Ace, my first move is always an order of steamed bao. At lunch, I can make a meal of them; at dinner, I start with a few, then usually order a few more, before deciding what to try next. My favorites? The char siu pork with cilantro, peanuts and chiles, and the braised short rib with Korean barbecue sauce and kimchi.
3) Fried Pickles Acorn 3350 Brighton Boulevard 720-542-3721 Fried pickles aren't as healthy as the kale-apple salad that has become synonymous with chef-owner Steven Redzikowski's restaurants. Good thing healthfulness isn't the only thing that counts when it comes to good food. The last time I took friends to Acorn we had a terrific lunch that included seconds of the crispy fried pickles with green goddess aioli. And long after the plates were cleared, my friends couldn't stop talking about that starter. Keep reading for two more favorite appetizers.
2) Pork Rillete The Plimoth 2335 East 28th Avenue 303-297-1215 The menu changes frequently at The Plimoth, a charming neighborhood bistro, but chef-owner Peter Ryan knows better than to take the pork rillette off the menu. "We keep it simple and unrefined," says Ryan. "This is what grandma would make." Rather than blending it smooth, Ryan leaves pockets of fat and chunks of pork, which add an irresistible texture when spread on crostini with jardinière and mustard on the side. "People love it," he says.
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SHOW ME HOW
1) Scotch Egg Argyll Whisky Beer 1035 East 17th Avenue. 303-847-0850 The Scotch eggs survived Argyll's relocation from Cherry Creek to Uptown -- smart move. The sausage-and-breadcrumb-crusted classic is even better with Broening's complements of a tangle of fennel, slivered Granny Smith apples and a dab of orange-spiked mustard aioli.