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Udi’s Bread Bistro

I was so close to walking out of the new Udi's in Stapleton last week. Seriously, like thirty seconds away. I'd strolled into the casual, dimly lit bistro on a half-full night intending to order some takeout, had been handed a couple of fairly impressive menus at the counter, and then had been abandoned there to stand around like a shmuck. Servers and floor staff kept wandering by, paying me no mind whatsoever, and I was on the verge of abandoning the place in favor of a burrito from Chipotle across the street, when -- finally -- someone noticed me looking at my watch and asked if anyone had been by to help me. I said no. Shocked, the server apologized, insisted that I let him buy me a dessert, apologized again and generally did a very good job of smoothing things over. And I'm truly glad that I didn't succumb to my pissier instincts, because Udi's food is amazing. I mean, eat-'til-you're-sick-and-then-eat-some-more amazing, can't-talk-because-your-mouth-is-full amazing, go-twice-on-the-same-night amazing. I had an adobo barbecued pulled-pork sandwich with buttery slices of avocado on a challah roll that was hands-down the best barbecue sandwich I've ever had outside an actual barbecue restaurant. Pair that with a sweet ham and gruyère sandwich on pressed ciabatta that was like a French version of a good Cuban minus the pickles, some proper frites, the best bread pudding I've tasted since leaving New York, and a mild sourdough boule that I tore into with my fingers while still in the restaurant, and it adds up to one of the most surprisingly excellent meals I've had all year. What's most incredible, though, is that these were just the sandwiches. From his beginnings as a baker and bread wholesaler, Udi Bar-On (now aided by his son, Etai, and his daughter, Robin, ex of Per Se in New York) has moved on to offer an entire dinner board, complete with chicken schnitzel and horseradish-spiked red beets, seared beef tournedos with grilled asparagus, wine and desserts. Next time, even if I have to wait an hour, I'll do so gladly.

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