I had been looking forward to 5280 Restaurant Week since this time last year. It is actually two weeks in Feb-March when a long list of restaurants in Denver offers a fixed menu with different options for each course for $52.80 a couple (in honor of the mile high city), half of that for one. More than a month before this year's event, the list of restaurants was available online, and I began to make my own list of places to try. I somehow have gotten very behind on my blogging...I plan to write about each of the five that I tried. I will start with the one to which I will most likely be going back.
Duo. It was the restaurant I went to with a group of friends brought together by Natalie, my best friend from Evergreen Circle in Beatrice, who was visiting with her husband Ryan from Michigan. They had visited at this time last year and purposely planned their yearly Colorado ski weekend for the same week this year. Last year we all went to Richard Sandoval's restaurant Tamayo. It is a 'modern Mexican' restaurant in Larimer Square that pleasantly surprised me with its unique dishes and quite possibly the best chocolate cake I had ever tasted.
Duo is a seasonal contemporary American restaurant. I love seasonally-changing menus. Most of their ingredients are from local farms, which I also like. The atmosphere was cozy and relaxed, with brick walls, rustic wooden tables, and patterned cloth napkins held together with silver napkin rings. Some, but not all of the restaurant week options were dishes on from their regular menu. We had an early dinner reservation, with our only disappointment being that although we were there in time for happy hour, the happy hour drink specials were offered only at the bar; had we have known this, we would have come a little early to grab drinks at the bar before sitting down.
We all had a difficult time deciding what to order from the many options on the three course menu. I started with a sweet potato ginger bisque, which was wonderful. I also sampled the polenta fries and fennel salad, both of which were also excellent. The second course options included a pork, arctic char, vegetable cassoulet, and mahi mahi (the mahi mahi was a special that hadn't been listed on the printed menu). I had the arctic char, which I mainly ordered because it came with a brussel sprout, bacon, and apple ragout. It was very good, but after sampling the other dishes, I unfortunately was wishing that I had ordered the pork or the mahi mahi. The pork was served on top of a root vegetable mash and the mahi mahi won the best presentation award. [I kind of hate it when I don't win the best ordering award.] Fortunately, this mistake was completely made up for by my dessert order, the sticky toffee pudding, which was, in my opinion, the clear winner.