909 Walnut Street, Boulder
The new Boulder eatery with the mission to explore "the true identity of American cuisine" is now extending that mission to lunch hours, with service from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Although opening chef Matt Lackey is no longer with Arcana, chefs Jordan Quidichay and Rob Meier (who have both been on the team since day one) are continuing to focus on ancient grains, indigenous ingredients and seasonal, local produce. Because of that, the menu shifts regularly, but expect a range of salads, tartines (open-faced sandwiches) and larger plates with which dinner guests will already be familiar. Prices range from fresh-baked zucchini bread at $4 to bison ribeye with quinoa at $19. New additions include stone-cut oats with buttermilk, berries and black-walnut granola, and Nashville-style hot chicken.
Owner Elliott Toan says the dinner menu has also been expanded with a larger range of prices and platings, and that the goal right now is to "keep the same spirit...and capture the essence of spring." A south-facing, twenty-seat patio should be the perfect spot to soak in the spring sun and enjoy Arcana's spring flavors. For complete lunch and dinner menus, see Arcana's website.
The Way Back
4132 West 38th Avenue
The Way Back officially opened on the first day of April with bar service only, but since then the kitchen has been fired up, and it's now serving a full menu of thoughtful, ingredient-driven small plates and entrees. Earthy flavors like marble potatoes with ham and charcoal or snail Stroganoff with shiitake mushrooms share space with rustic roasted chicken with creamed greens and potatoes. It's a small menu, with only fifteen items (ranging from $4 to $26), but there are also a few housemade confections — and, of course, an extensive range of cocktails, craft beers and ciders, boutique wines and select sherries to keep the dinner menu company.
For a deeper dive into the Way Back's culinary repertoire, check out its Sunday Supper series; the next is on May 1 and features beer pairings with some rarities from New Belgium Brewing and Dutch brewer Hof Ten Dormaal. Details can be found on the Way Back's Facebook page.
Max's Wine Dive
696 Sherman Street
The Governor's Park wine bar with a reputation for standout fried chicken just rolled out a new spring menu. Small plates include tuna poke lettuce cups; fries with asparagus, prosciutto and Gruyère cheese sauce; and buffalo carpaccio. For bigger appetites, there's a new sweet & spicy BLT made with candied bacon; a pork burger, which is Max's signature burger topped with house-braised pulled pork; and spicy shrimp sofrito. If you need to avoid gluten, check with your server; many of Max's dishes — including that BLT — can be made "gluten friendly."