Restaurant Roundup: Bistro Barbes, The Plimoth, Brazen

March 5, 2015  •  Restaurants

bistro-barbes-menuIt just goes to show: putting a plan in place to get to new restaurants is working much better than just letting it happen. It’s just two months into the year and already I’ve been to 6 of the 14 restaurants on my list to try this year. The three spots I’m reviewing in this post have one thing in common: they are small spaces in unassuming neighborhoods that are on the brink of renewal. By drawing people to their humble digs, they will help gentrify what might have otherwise been left a crumbling strip mall or an abandoned old hair salon.bistro-barbes-tabbouleh-figs-cippolini-onionsBistro Barbes bills its cuisine as Mediterranean with North African influences. So think traditional French and Italian dishes with some interesting African spices or ingredients thrown in. The tabbouleh with figs and cippolini onions (wow, is all I can say) is a perfect example.bistro-barbes-escargot-ravioliAs is this rich escargot filled ravioli dish. Double wow.bistro-barbes-short-ribAs I get older, or perhaps as I focus more on what healthy eating is all about, I appreciate a reasonable sized serving. My husband at first thought this short rib was skimpy. But the rich sauce and accompaniments made for a perfect sized beef entree. bistro-barbes-cassouletYou don’t see cassoulet on the menu often in Denver, and it’s a French favorite of mine, perfect for the snowy weather we had on the day I went here, and it didn’t disappoint. The African twist was lamb merguez sausage in the mix, and it worked well.plimoth-denver-carrot-saladNext up is The Plimoth. They’ve been around for about a year, and have just made plans to expand into the empty hair salon next to their current space. Good thing, as the restaurant is small and it was packed. I was dining with a friend who is a vegetarian, so we opted for three vegetarian appetizers to share amongst the four of us: this roasted bolero carrot salad, with Flourish Farm’s greens, carrot & orange vinaigrette, and scented almonds…plimoth-denver-cauliflower-gratinthe cauliflower turnip gratinée, with Pleasant Ridge Reserve mornay sauce and Hunt & Gather’s mushrooms (I could have eaten that entire thing myself and called it a night)…plimoth-denver-polenta-mushrooms…and the creamy sunchoke & parmesan polenta, with grilled confit sunchokes and Cashel bleu cheese. I’m not a hugh sunchoke fan, but put anything on creamy polenta and I’m in! The appetizers are smallish so you can feel free to order several for the table to share.plimoth-denver-chicken-spaetzleFor an entree I ordered the cracklin’ chicken, largely because I was drawn in by the promise of apple gruyere späetzle, but should have remembered from my trip to Germany and France in 2013 that I don’t love the ubiquitous braised cabbage that is always served with späetzle. The chicken was crispy and flavorful…plimoth-denver-pork-tenderloin…but I wished I had ordered my husband’s dish, the brined and grilled pork tenderloin with a smoked shank, peas, pea shoots, glazed carrots, and pearl onions. It was both gorgeous to look at and more interesting than the chicken dish.brazen-denverOver half of the restaurants on “my list” this year don’t take reservations. And most aren’t open for lunch, so when I saw that Brazen had a Sunday brunch, I figured that would work and I met my daughter and her boyfriend there on a snowy cold Sunday morning.brazen-denver-ramenWhat sounds better than a huge steaming bowl of hot ramen with pork belly and an egg when you are stuck in winter? This dish was quite flavorful, but honestly I couldn’t finish half of it. You could share this between two people if you just ask for a second poached egg. My daughter had the chilaquiles with eggs, and they were ok, but I’m really wishing one of us had ordered the Duck Confit Hash with potatoes, brussels sprouts, pickled shallots, cauliflower, and sunny side eggs. Alas, looks like I just might need to go back again, or try Brazen for dinner.


Bistro Barbes
5201 E. 28th Avenue, Denver
Open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday

The Plimoth
2335 E. 28th Avenue, Denver
Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00PM—9:00PM
Friday and Saturday: 4:00PM—10:00PM

4450 W. 38th Avenue #130, Denver
Monday – Friday: 4:30 PM-2:00 AM
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, 5:00 PM-2:00 AM

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