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Menu Updates: Small Bites at Bittersweet, Local Eats at Lower48, Sabering at Sarto's

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From new brunch to a revamped roster of smaller plates, a few Denver restaurants are fine-tuning their menus and service to take advantage of the longer dining days and warm weather.

On East Alameda Avenue, Bittersweet has been dishing up elegant and artistic plates from chef-owner Olav Peterson for nearly five years. Beginning this week, the kitchen will shake things up a little with a new array of shareable bites and smaller servings. The menu ditches the standard appetizer/entree configuration and instead offers eighteen plates — up from fourteen — organized by "from the garden," "from the water" and "from the field." Prices vary depending on complexity and ingredients, but the portion sizes for all dishes are similar, allowing diners to sample and share a wider range of flavors. Seasonal highlights include summer-pea agnolotti, swordfish carpaccio with pickled spruce tips and garlic scapes, and wild boar with Palisade cherries and baby yams. Bittersweet is also rolling out a Thursday tasting menu beginning in August, featuring four courses and wine pairings for $50 per person.

Lower48 Kitchen continues to be enamored of one particular state in the lower 48: Colorado. The Ballpark neighborhood eatery is offering a nightly four-course prix fixe menu for $34 a head through August. And as it did for July's special, the kitchen will focus on local meat and produce, with dishes featuring Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford melon, 7X Beef and products from Monroe Organics, Granada Farms and Pastures of Plenty. Although the prix fixe price does not include beverages, drop in on a Tuesday night for select bottles at 50 percent off the regular price.
In up-and-coming Jefferson Park, Sarto's is adding a whole new menu: Beginning this weekend, the posh Italian eatery will add brunch service from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. But this won't be just any egg-and-pancake affair; swords will flash for guests who order specific bottles of sparkling wine. Sarto's will demonstrate the art of sabrage — by opening the bottle with a saber. The new menu offers ancient-grain muesli, breakfast pizette with smoked creme fraiche and crisped prosciutto, and an Italian Benedict with Parmesan bechamel served on focaccia. On the sweeter side, a highlight is the marsala bread pudding with lemon curd served in a cast iron pan. And, of course, epsresso drinks will be available, along with a handful of signature breakfast cocktails.

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