Gold Helmet Award

Farfalle pasta with braised Colorado goat, from left, Lombardy fashion stuffed quail, lil’ gems salad, doughnuts, The Boyner pizza, and wood-oven roasted carrots Thursday, Dec. 20, at Bar Dough. (Daniel Brenner, Particular to the Denver Submit)

three.5 stars (out of four)

Carrie Baird didn’t intend for “fancy toast” to develop into her signature dish. After a final-four end on season 15 of “Top Chef” — and two Quickfire wins courtesy of her amped-up bread creations — the plate has develop into a everlasting fixture on the menu at Bar Dough, the place she’s a associate and government chef.

The dish attracts followers from throughout the nation trying to style Baird’s creations in individual and see what imaginative toppings she’s cooking with as we speak.

Fortunately, all the eye hasn’t modified the soul of the three-year-old LoHi eatery: an off-the-cuff neighborhood restaurant and bar serving considerate, scratch-made Italian meals with, as Baird places it, a “Bar Dough twist.” This is a venue the place regulars’ favourite dishes, just like the bucatini ($26) and pollo al limone ($26), will all the time be obtainable as a result of, properly, individuals love them.

Bar Dough was opened by the indefatigable restaurant workforce of Juan Padro, Katie O’Shea Padro, and chef Max MacKissock (the trio behind Señor Bear, Morin, and the upcoming Maine Shack, amongst others). Baird stepped into the chief chef position final yr after stints at native eating places reminiscent of Brazen and Simply Be Kitchen, bringing basic methods and a way of enjoyable to the bountiful menu of antipasti, house-made pastas, and pizzas.

Sure, you’ll be able to go to Bar Dough for the flamboyant toast. However you’ll need to keep for the strong, all-Italian wine listing, sharp service, and assured cooking, as a result of even amid the chaos of Denver’s seemingly tireless eating scene, Bar Dough stands out as one of many metropolis’s greatest.

A buyer waits for the remainder of his get together to reach Thursday, Dec. 20, at Bar Dough. (Daniel Brenner, Particular to the Denver Submit)

Vibe: Vigorous. Bar Dough is virtually all the time packed, from the marble-topped bar counter to the communal high-tops to the deep-red banquette seating. The restaurant is present — uncovered wooden ceilings, open kitchen, wood-fired oven — with out falling into the realm of trendiness that makes many new venues indistinguishable from each other. Televisions flash sudden movies in black and white, like Invoice Murray’s “The Man Who Knew Too Little” or new “Top Chef” episodes, to a wide-ranging viewers that seats fiftysomething ladies celebrating a birthday close to a few ski bros sporting flannel shirts and beanies.

Hits: Probably the most gratifying dishes at Bar Dough may be discovered within the insalata part: The wood-oven roasted carrots ($14) manages to make Peter Rabbit’s favourite snack an all-star. The oven lends the just-softened orange wedges a smoky taste, and the carrot juice and cumin French dressing, enhanced with shallots and toasted cumin seeds, provides a delicate spicy sweetness. Tossed along with chewy farro, entire chickpeas, and shaved carrots, each chew is a wonderfully composed mix of texture and taste.

One other profitable appetizer, or antipasti, because the menu notes, is the Italian wedding ceremony soup ($15). The caramel-hued darkish hen inventory — remodeled the course of 24 hours after which infused with Parmesan rinds for hours more — imparts a French onion soup taste, offering a luscious basis for mini pork, pancetta, and beef chuck meatballs, just-past-al dente radiator noodles, carrots, greens, and enormous slivers of Grana Padano cheese. It’s a belly-warmer good for winter’s frigid temps. (Value noting: The mushroom risotto, $34, is made utilizing an analogous inventory.)

Carrie’s Fancy Toast containing home ciabatta, poached pears, grapes, prosciutto, Italian gorgonzola, almond, and thyme paired with an Aperol spritz Thursday, Dec. 20, at Bar Dough. (Daniel Brenner, Particular to the Denver Submit)

Goats are having a second on restaurant menus, and Bar Dough’s is no exception. Even tentative diners will discover the goat farfalle ($18) a cushty intro to the protein. Baird and her staff butcher an entire, Colorado farm-raised goat as soon as every week, utilizing it to make a inventory and braising all the meat till it’s unctuous, not gamey (to make use of Baird’s spot-on description). The tomato-based sauce and shredded goat Gouda discover their approach into all the chubby farfalles’ crevices, making the dish wealthy and creamy however not heavy.

Honestly, you’ll in all probability be too stuffed for dessert, however there’s virtually all the time room for a scoop of gelato ($three). Bar Dough’s satisfying flavors (vanilla, pistachio, and salted caramel have been out there on a current go to) come from Boulder’s Ice Cream Alchemy.

Oh, did we overlook to say that fancy toast? As anticipated, that’s good, too. Although the exorbitant worth ($19) for the present topping mix of baked prosciutto, poached pears, grapes, Italian gorgonzola, and almonds (an satisfying shock) on crispy-crusted, house-made ciabatta makes it one thing to order as soon as, then transfer on to different, higher — and more pretty appraised — dishes. (As a result of pears are virtually out of season, anticipate this dish to vary quickly; Baird and staff change up menu gadgets pretty often based mostly on what produce is out there.)

The Boyner pizza is topped with pink sauce, roasted wild mushrooms, black olives, roasted garlic, aged mozzarella, and has an all the things crust Thursday, Dec. 20, at Bar Dough. (Daniel Brenner, Particular to the Denver Publish)

Misses: Bar Dough is an distinctive restaurant, however dishes typically founder underneath the load of 1 or two bungled components.

Certainly one of Baird’s favourite pastas is the tagliarini ($28), by which a squid ink noodle base is tangled with meaty squids and out-of-the-shell mussels. Nevertheless well-cooked the pasta was, it was badly under-seasoned. The larger difficulty, although, was a point out of orange zest on the menu which translated to an overwhelming citrus taste that muted all the things else on the plate.

A young roasted quail ($28), brimming with a cranberry-dotted ciabatta stuffing, was let down by a bland, skinny sage polenta that lacked chew and any flavoring from the herb, even with the fried leaves on the plate.

The six pizzas on the menu all profit from puffy, completely charred crusts — constructed from eight-year-old starter — however the spicy clam providing ($18) is mild on clams, or actually, any briny taste, and spice, with the house-made chile oil including grease however not much warmth.

Ask a staffer which dessert to order, they usually’ll all reply with “the zeppole!”, 4 doughnuts created from a ricotta batter that’s folded with walnuts, fried, after which full of vanilla cream cheese ($eight). The insides are gentle and the accompanying caramel lick-your-finger good, however not all doughnuts have been created equal: some had barely a drop of cream cheese, whereas others principally oozed filling, molten cake-style. With every doughnut almost the dimensions of a baseball, the portion was additionally much too giant.

A House Once more cocktail containing rittenhouse rye, don ciccio nocino, calvados, and gifford banane brasil. Thursday, Dec. 20, at Bar Dough. (Daniel Brenner, Particular to the Denver Publish)

Drinks: Bar supervisor Shawn Williams oversees a noteworthy cocktail program that spans an array of spirits and introduces tipplers to new elements whereas not straying too removed from the acquainted. The present nine-drink lineup will change when the seasons do, so whereas it’s nonetheless out there, order the Residence Once more ($14). You’ll whiff the rye and brandy as quickly because the server units the drink down, however the banana and walnut liqueurs give it a clean end. 4 spritzes (all $9) are additionally on supply: basic, lemon-rosemary, grapefruit-basil, and Giffard ardour fruit.

The beer choice ($6 to $14) leans towards draft choices and is Colorado targeted (there are some European appearances, too) however doesn’t restrict itself to the anticipated. There’s an IPA from Lafayette’s Odd13 Brewing and a Belgian ale from Westbound & Down Brewing Firm in Idaho Springs. For the indecisive, downtown Denver’s Tivoli Brewing Firm crafts a pairs-well-with-anything Bar Dough lager for the restaurant.

Sommelier Chris Boyne’s all-Italian wine program has one thing for each style and each worth level. The marginally fruity Schiava from Kellerei Kaltern ($13 for six ounces) is smooth sufficient to pair with most dishes however has sufficient physique to face as much as a number of the spicier choices.

It’s additionally commendable to see a strong array of choices for nondrinkers, together with quite a lot of Italian cream sodas (all $5) and two mocktails, each soda-based.

A server waits to welcome clients Thursday, Dec. 20, at Bar Dough. (Daniel Brenner, Particular to the Denver Submit)

Service: It’s a dance inside Bar Dough, the place aproned servers in white shirts sidestep and twist between always-full tables. They’re well-versed in each menu merchandise — drinks and eats — and are fast to make suggestions when requested. This is pleasant, approachable, polished service correctly.

Backside Line: Bar Dough is persistently spectacular, showcasing flawless method and a deep understanding and love of meals with out being pretentious. Service is wonderful, and whereas not each dish achieves equal success, diners can all the time anticipate an gratifying — and filling — meal.

Worth: Appetizers and salads ($6 to $19); Pizzas ($12 to $18); Pastas and entrées ($18 to $54); Desserts ($three to $eight); Cocktails ($9 to $14)

Enjoyable Reality: Baird acquired an opportunity at redemption this month on “Last Chance Kitchen,” “Top Chef’s” accompanying net collection, the place toques vie for the prospect to return to the primary competitors. She nabbed the highest spot within the first two episodes of season 16 however, in much less enjoyable information, was eradicated within the third episode’s breakfast battle.  


Bar Dough

2227 W. 32nd Ave.; 720-668-8506; bardoughdenver.com

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m., Monday via Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m., Sunday; completely happy hour, three to five:30 p.m., every day.

Reservations: Accepted

Parking: Free road parking

Star Score Information: Scores vary from zero to 4 stars. Zero is poor. One star, passable. Two stars, good. Three stars, excellent. 4 stars, wonderful.

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