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Shhh! Secret menu items at Denver restaurants revealed

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Steuben's does it; Jensen Cummings, the executive chef at Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar has plans to do it; and Keegan Gerhard, the chef/pastry king at D Bar Desserts has been quietly doing it for months.

What, exactly, is it that we're talking about?

Unlisted, unmentioned, and unknown dishes that you'll never see scribbled on a restaurant menu.

Once a week, every week, we'll tell you about a restaurant that's got secret stash in its kitchen, so that when you waltz in, regular or newbie, you can sit down and order like an in-the-know pro.

A few months ago, while we were sitting at the counter at D Bar Desserts, Gerhard delivered the news that he's got several hidden menu items -- seven to be exact. Two of those dishes -- "The Presley" and the "Elvis Presley" -- honor the king of pelvic thrusts. The Presley, says Gerhard, is a "tantalizing sandwich done just like the famous icon loved it" -- with caramelized plantains, natural peanut butter and Colorado honey. The Elvis Presley is all that, plus applewood-smoked bacon.

In addition, says Gerhard, you can off-menu order tempura-fried lobster, which, he notes, is the ideal sidekick to the baked macaroni and cheese. "You'll get a whole new perspective on comfort food," he promises. Other secret dishes include the grilled free-range chicken salad, sweet potato fries, Mountain Dew -- "I love it, so we always have it," reveals Gerhard -- and the V.I.P., bacon-wrapped dates (pictured above) with fanned avocado slices and a dressed salad. "The vision for this dish," says Gerhard, "came from guests who just couldn't decide what appetizer they wanted."

If you're privy to other secret dishes in Denver restaurants, we invite you share your knowledge with the rest of us. Fill us in on what you know in comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.

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