Earlier in the week, I put forth the question: When all the traditional choices have been burned through, where is the best place to bring your mom when she comes to town?
I got a lot of great answers. Potager, the Berkshire, Solera and Strings (no), Duo (I would've gone to Olivea first) and Tables and Table 6 (she's been) and Twelve (a bit too involved for her tastes, I think). There were adventurous choices (Lao Wang Noodle House) and not-so-adventurous ones (Highlands Garden cafe). Venue came up a couple times, as did Jonesy's, as did Olivea (again). There was Bastien's (again, been there), and Little Man Ice Cream and Vita (three times). It was, in short, a fantastic list. And in the end, I went with one place that no one suggested (you'll hear about it in a review soon enough) and then to one of the most popular suggestions. That's a picture of it above. Can you guess who put together that beautiful plate?
Yup. Keegan Gerhard at D Bar Desserts. We showed up just a few minutes shy of prime time last night, slid into one of the last available tables, and proceeded to stuff ourselves full of the newest offerings from what stands right now as Denver's only successful dessert bar ever.
Couple of new developments since I visited last... First, the new(ish) liquor license serves the place very well. And by "serves the place" I mean "makes me happy" because rather than just contenting ourselves with milkshakes and sparkling water, we were able to put away a few glasses of Veuve Cliquot yellow label instead, and there ain't no meal that isn't improved with that as a starter.
The quote/unquote dinner menu (really just a short and sweet collection of sandwiches and brilliant apps like the dressed avocado--in fresh lime, olive oil, Maldon salt and pepper--which I still occasionally dream about) was the same as it ever was. Called simply "Things We Like To Eat," apparently the tastes of owners Gerhard and his wife, Lisa Bailey, haven't changed a bit.
The dessert menu, though (always the main event), has gone through some alterations with the seasons and the whims of the line. That chocolate-cherry thing I once loved is gone, but the cake-and-shake remains. Milk and fresh-baked cookies? Still on the board. But then, there's also a new obsession of mine: the D bar ice cream sandwich. It's vanilla bean ice cream, served between two warm waffles, spiked with rock sugar, stuck together with a bit of caramel (the only thing, I think, that holds it vertical), topped with amaretto cream and sided by a hot, three-cherry compote (which was amazing...) and a smear of cherry puree as red as a stop sign. Sure, the creme brulee was good (for a creme brulee).
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Sure the cake-and-shake was still as decadent as ever (that cake is the richest thing I have ever tasted, topped with Manjari chocolate frosting and as dense as a brownie). But the ice cream sandwich blew them all away. I want to eat one every day for the next year. Or until I die from some sort of sugar overdose. Whichever comes first.
Mom was happy. I was happy. And as we wound our way home through the city, she started listing off all the neighborhoods we'd visited, all the restaurants we'd been to since she'd started coming out to Denver to visit--a more-or-less running commentary on some of the best (and a couple of the worst) restaurants Denver has known over the last half-dozen years. The list went on a long time. I think she was impressed.
And now, with her and my dad both due out for another, longer visit in September, I've got a couple months to start planning a whole new round of places to hit.
I wonder how they'd feel about duck's blood. Or maybe soup dumplings. Or maybe an all-pork menu. She's still got one day left in town and the Berkshire is still a possibility...