Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Restaurant Spotlight: Euclid Hall, Denver, CO

Euclid Hall Entrance and Upstairs Dining Area
What a fun and fantastic place! The aptly named, Euclid Hall, feels like a high-end hangout where college students would feel right at home; so it didn't go unnoticed to me that Euclid Hall is in one of the trendier areas of downtown Denver, but its entrance faces South on 14th street, which is the direction that most of the college campuses in that area are located.

A fairly short staircase invites you into the main floor of Euclid Hall's well utilized two stories. As you are coming up the steps you will see a giant chalkboard with varying information written on it, like the "glossary of terms," serving as a description of some of their fare, such as Schnitzel and Poutine.  Happy Hour drink prices are also listed on the chalk board under the name: Study Hall, as well as the name of a few of their beers. The kitchen is an open concept, so you can see the chefs preparing the food. There is a bar to your immediate right, and they have a lusty selection of beers available, so there will be no dry mouths at your table, should you decide to partake of a frosty mug of goodness.

I met a friend there who doesn't live in Denver. I told him that I had been wanting to try, yet another, of Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch's delectable restaurants (side note: they also own Rioja and Bistro Vendôme), so I recommended Euclid Hall. He checked out the link to the menu and gushed that he would, "have to try all the desserts on the menu!"

At first blush, for the non-adventurous sort, there may be an immediate thought that the food is a bit, well, interesting. Yes...yes, it is. But interesting in the best sense of the word, and not akin to when someone brings a jello mold filled with tidbits of 'goodness only knows what' floating about in it. I promise you that there is something for everyone. And even though the menu is fairly straightforward, and not excessively long, I was overwhelmed by choices. I changed my mind at least three times before the waiter came back to take our order!

Menu, Trumer Pils Beer, Fries with Bacon Ailoi and Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich - yummm!

I finally landed on the House-Made Kennebec Fries served with a Bacon Aioli dipping sauce.There were just enough crispy bacon bits to not overwhelm the dipping sauce, and the consistency of the sauce was smooth and thick enough to stand up to their perfectly executed french fries (I am a self professed french fry connoisseur), without being too thick. The flavor was slightly sweet, with a hint of smokiness brought on by the bacon.

The Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich was served on a toasted dill rye bread, with large pieces of relatively thin, sliced and battered chicken, which was comfortably tucked away on a bed of shredded, apple cabbage caraway slaw. The slaw was not dragged down by any typical gloppiness that some slaws can have. It was clean and crisp, with an immaculate blending of the flavors that only served to enhance the chicken flavor; especially since I thought the chicken batter could have used just a touch more salt; however, when I ate the rest of my sandwich the next day, the bread held up extremely well and wasn't soggy, and the chicken and slaw mixture marinated in such a way that it actually tasted better than the first day. Go figure!

My friend dug into his Brat Burger that was served on a "bretzel bun," which was essentially a pretzel bun. The top of the bun gleamed beautifully as if brushed with a hint of butter to make it glisten even more. The melted Jarlsberg cheese spilled out from the sides of the burger, as he ate it with great relish. Needless to say, he was extremely happy with his selection.

Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich
Finally, while I am not really a dessert person (although, most everyone I am associated with is), I did have a taste of my friends dessert. It was a difficult decision for him, but he finally landed on their Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich. Yes, you read that correctly, a waffle ice cream sandwich! It was just enough; not too small, and not too big, but just right. It was served in a wrapped paper for presentation purposes, and then slid out onto the plate to dig into. The ice cream was a salted butterscotch ice cream with pralines. This had to be one of the funnest desserts I've ever tasted. The smooth and salty butterscotch ice cream with the pralines was a splendid partner for the slightly sweetened waffles. This isn't a rich dessert, but a satisfying one.

Euclid Hall has the type of food that you'd imagine enjoying while traveling throughout Europe; specifically in Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany - beers, brats and fries! Although, there is definitely a French influence on the menu with multiple dishes served with duck eggs and foie gras. I enjoyed every bite of my meal, and look forward to going back soon!

*photos by That Chick Té


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