When Rob and Karin Lawler opened the doors to the Truffle Table last week, deliberately without fanfare, they knew that cheese admirers from across Denver -- and especially those in the Highland 'hood -- would sniff them out no matter what, and so they did, giving the crew a gentle workout before tomorrow, when the Lawlers, who also own the Truffle Cheese Shop, officially debut their new cheese-and-wine-centric restaurant, perched on the triangled corner of 15th Street and Boulder.
See also: - Truffle owners opening the Truffle Table in the Cellar Wine Bar space - The Squeaky Bean's Crickett Burns tapped as the kitchen manager at the Truffle Table - The Truffle's Rob Lawler on Spam musubi, brains, glutards and his favorite cheese
The space, with its elevated ceilings, weathered wooden floors and marble-topped community table, doesn't look all that different from its predecessor, the Cellar Wine Bar, save for a new coat of moss-green paint and a few new design elements -- a kaleidoscopic collage of cheese wrappers, for example -- that serve as a reminder that you're in bona fide cheese country. "The beauty of the space is that all the bones were here, so we really didn't have to do much at all in terms of renovations," says Karin, noting, however, that they did find a use for an antique refrigerator that they found burrowing in the basement, namely a place to stash napkins and cutlery. "It's where we keep all of our service essentials," says Karin.
Cheese, of course, dominates the menu, executed by Crickett Burns, formerly of the Squeaky Bean. Guests are given a list of the cheeses that the restaurant carries on any given day, and there are notes with each cheese -- its country, region, whether it's raw or pasteurized, sheep's milk, cow's milk, goat's milk or mixed, whether it contains rennet and the style of the cheese, which can be anything from washed to leaf-wrapped. To complement the cheeses, Burns features charcuterie, along with savory tartlets, duck-liver mousse, a duo of salads and cheese accompaniments, including marinated olives and mixed vegetables with bagna càuda, a garlic-and-anchovy sauce. And each Wednesday, the Truffle Table will offer all-you-can-eat raclette; fondue is on the board, too.
The wine list, a well-conceived canvas of sparklers, reds and whites, ballyhoos fourteen pours by the glass (only one bottle, a 2010 Gustave Lorentz pinot blanc, is off limits to by-the-glass pours); two "stickies," an Australian slang word to describe sweet wines, along with a trio of beers, including a Belgian saison, round out the liquid assets.
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The Truffle Table is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and in the near future, says Karin, she and Rob will host guest experts, schooled in cheese and wine, to conduct classes. In the meantime, here's a first look at the space and the menu.