Spring is nearly here, despite what the snow outside is telling you, and with it comes menu changes. A new sushi bar in the south suburbs just added a fun new beverage program to help you celebrate the end of winter, and a classic Russian bistro downtown has spruced up its menu with a few bright flavors that stray from typical Eastern European fare. Keep reading to see what's new at the Cherry Hills Sushi Co. and Red Square Bistro.
The Cherry Hills Sushi Co.
1400 East Hampden Avenue, Cherry Hills Village
The Cherry Hills Sushi Co. opened at East Hampden Avenue and South Lafayette Street in January with a promise to soon add a liquor license. That promise has been fulfilled, and owners Bradford Kim and Olivia Maeng have rolled out a smart drink roster to match their unique hand-rolled temaki sushi program. Japanese whisky and sake are the stars, but there are also a few fun surprises.
Since the sushi menu is designed with temaki sampling in mind, sake flights are a logical pairing. Groupings of three pours of sake come in at $9, $14, $21 or $28, or you can buy by the glass with prices ranging from $6.50 to $12. If you want to drop a little more, sake is also available by the bottle. "We have good sakes at very good price points, and we do have the very fabulous Kubota Manju ready to go," says Kim. "We are also very proud to be the only sushi bar in Denver to stock Dassai 23, 39, and 50 daiginjo junmais."
Japanese whisky generally mirrors Scotch in both ingredients (malted barley) and spelling (there's no "e" in Japanese or Scotch whisky). Standouts include Kavalan (from a family-owned distillery in Taiwan, not Japan), Hibiki Harmony, and Nikka Taketsuru Coffey Grain, a noteworthy whisky for those looking for something unusual.
Wines by the glass fall in the same price range as the sake, and there's also a $300 bottle of Perrier Jouët Belle Epoqué 2007, in case your horse just came in. "When exciting events come up in our everyday lives, we need to treat ourselves to something special once in a while," Kim explains of his decision to carry the posh label. "Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque is a nice, very dry champagne — perfect for when you close that big deal, if you got a big promotion, or feel like a splurge."
Red Square Bistro
1512 Larimer Street
Red Square has been a go-to stop for late-night sips of house-infused vodkas for more than a decade downtown, and the Russian-influenced menu has attracted a loyal following of regular customers over the years. But a new chef and an updated menu means that has Red Square has something to offer for those who haven't already discovered the dark, romantic spot hidden in the recesses of Writer Square.
Executive Chef Brandon Becker joined the team four months ago and has just rolled out a spring menu, which he says is almost entirely new except for a few Russian favorites that elevate simple, country fare to fine-dining status. Standouts on Becker's new slate include pan-seared grouper with lobster dumplings, romanesco and chervil in a lobster emulsion; Colorado rack of lamb with sous-vide sunchokes, Swiss-chard rolled lamb and confit fingerling potatoes; and a modernized beef Stroganoff, with a lean New York strip nestled into whipped potatoes under a blanket of cremini mushroom sauce.
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On the appetizer menu, a clever vegetarian "calamari" uses hearts-of-palm ringlets to stand in for squid, while a beautifully presented steak tartare spills out of a crisp pastry horn onto a plate decked with asparagus, radish, pickles, black-garlic aioli and a quail egg. There are also traditional bites like pelemeni (meat-filled dumplings), golubtsi (beef-stuffed cabbage rolls), blinchiki (chive crepes filled with crab) and pierogi.
Along with the almost intimidating list of vodka brands and the bar's colorful array of infused vodkas, a new spring cocktail menu is also available.