Sunday, August 21, 2011

Euclid Hall - 08/11/2011

1317 14th Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 595-4255

What do dead Greek mathematicians and beer have to do with one another? Nothing as far as I can tell, but owners Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch chose to name their gastropub, Euclid Hall, after the father of geometry and bane of every 10th grader.

The duo have a burgeoning restaurant empire centered around Larimer Square that also includes Rioja and Bistro Vendome. Day to day the kitchen is run by Denver native Jorel Pierce who worked with Jasinski at Rioja before being tapped to be CdC at Euclid Hall.

The building that houses Euclid Hall has had quite a history behind, built in 1883 it served as a home, flea market, bar and according to rumors, a brothel catering to public officials. Inside the restaurant has a polished urban feel that is like an inviting neighborhood bar, but gentrified.

Pepino Picoso - Pinnacle gin, cucumbers + jalapeños, fresh lime + cucumber juice
Despite being more well known for their beers, Euclid Hall offers an interesting if short selection of cocktails. The Picoso packs some serious heat and I could actually feel the warmth spread through my body as I drank this. The drink was quite refreshing but would have been perfect if it was served ice cold.

Ayinger Brau Weisse - Algebra | Still approachable, more flavor, more complexity
In keeping with the math theme, the restaurant divides their beer list in terms of complexity going from Arithmetic, to Quantum Mathematics. I chose to start with something easy and the Ayinger fit the bill nicely. A classic hefeweizen, the beer has a slight malty sweetness but nothing particularly obscure or unexpected.

Roasted Duck Poutine - duck gravy, black pepper, Wisconsin cheddar curds,
The poutine was one of the driving forces behind my decision to try Euclid Hall. I ended up selecting the duck poutine and if that weren't enough I opted for the "Duck Duck Goose" supplement, a mix of egg, foie gras, and duck confit. The ideal putine strikes a delicate balance between the dark braised richness of the gravy and the twang of the cheese curds, this was definitely tilted way over the top in favor of the duck. The fries were also a bit well done for my tastes, I prefer a crisp exterior but more porous interior to soak up the goodness of the gravy.

Sausage Tasting - Beef Short Rib Kielbasa, Uncensored Hoppwurst, Boudin Noir, Bavarian Veal Weisswurst
The sausages are all ground and cased in house . With all the foods coming at once there wasn't really enough time to really appreciate the differences between the sausages. My obvious favorite was the hoppwurst the melty bits of cheddar added a nice depth and sharpness to the meat.

Crispy Buffalo-Style Pig Ears - ranch dressing, celery sticks
For me, that textural interplay between the skin and cartilage is key, but Chef Pierce explained that he removed the cartilage because the clientele in Denver didn't care for it. Without the contrast, the only contrast to the fatty tissue was the batter which didn't quite have enough buffalo flavor for my tastes. Still an enjoyable snack but just not what I was expecting.

Bruléed Bone Marrow - demi glace, sherry reduction, grilled sourdough
This was a gift from our waitress and I am sincerely grateful for it. I enjoy eating raw fat more than most, but that oleaginous mouth feel and buttery flavor can be a bit much even for me. The bite of the raw shallot and delicately saccharine shell on the were vital in tempering the richness of the marrow.

Asparagus and Coconut Soup - pureed asparagus soup, coconut milk foam, chopped scallop and avocado, micro cilantro
This was another of the evening's standouts, the cool frothy top is ever so slightly sweet and creamy, the ideal foil to the hot vegetal savoriness of the asparagus. The rare scallops and avocado provide an extra layer of textural nuances

Chicken and Waffles - Petaluma chicken paillard, sourdough waffles, pure maple syrup, salty walnuts
I find myself compelled to order chicken and waffles whenever I see it on the menu. The flavors were spot on but I question the decision to serve the chicken paillard style. A thicker moister cut of chicken would have gone a long way towards offsetting the dryness of this dish.

Oyster Shells and Shots - on the half shell with pina colada sorbet, shooters with yuzu-30/30 tequila margarita
Raw oysters usually open a meal but the sorbet and shooters made very effective intermezzos. The oysters on the half shell were bracingly sweet with a creeping brine, a great choice for those intimidated by the flavor of raw oysters. The shooters had a nicely balanced blend of tequila and citrus while the oyster provided the salty finish.

Ommegang Abbey Ale Dubbel - Calculus | Pushing the envelope
I would have picked something from the quantum mathematics section to finish but I'd actually tried all those beers before. Instead I settled for an Ommegang Dubbel. Definitely a classic abbey ale the aroma is redolent of spice and ripe fruit with some sweetness thrown in. Flavor is equally quintessential with dark fig and caramel leading to a slight alcoholic burn on the back end.

Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich - salted butterscotch ice cream, praline
This was totally different from what I was expecting. The ice cream was surprisingly subdued while the disconcerting lactic tang on the waffle totally put me off this dessert.

Overall I enjoyed my time at Euclid Hall, aside from the food coming all at once, service was very attentive with the staff clearly showing a passion for what they do. While I may not have agreed with the directions the kitchen took with some courses, for the most part execution was spot on. While dishes were often hit or miss I wouldn't mind coming back to look for a few more hits and maybe sample more of their stellar beer list while I'm at it.


Darin said...

Did you eat all of that by yourself?

The poutine sounded like it had so much promise...sounds like they may have overcomplicated the dish.

Epicuryan said...

No I went with a coworker and she still took home most of the sausages.

You hit the nail on the head with the poutine. The restaurant offers a porcini mushroom and lamb poutines that aren't so over the top.