Down and Out in Denver

Barolo Grill

Posted in food, wine by Blake on December 18, 2009

Last night, after a number of postponements, Alastair and I ventured out to the Italian restaurant, Barolo Grill, on East Sixth Avenue.  We were accompanied by two southern lady friends of ours and we had ourselves just a great time.  Hey y’all!

The four of us had an enormous extravaganza of a meal.  We began by splitting two appetizers, both of which were very tasty: a fritto misto of calamari, rock shrimp, and scallops with some spicy peppers; and, from the tasting menu, some sort of mini scallops and mushrooms in a squash purée.  Both were de-lish, so much so that one of our southern lady friends (whom I’ll call Bethany Sue) in not so lady-like fashion used her fingers to scoop up the remaining purée.  It was that good.

Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Speck and White Anchovies

We then moved on to salads.  Alastair and I both had the grilled romaine hearts salad with speck and a horseradish/mustard dressing.  We opted to add white anchovies and were not disappointed.  Well, I wasn’t; Alastair likes his anchovies fuzzier and saltier.  (See photo above.)  Bethany Sue went for the mixed greens (ho hum, but what can you expect?) and Bonita Lou (our other southern gal pal) had the mixed seafood salad: Dungeness crab, calamari, lobster, and rock shrimp, tossed with celery and tomatoes.  It was super cold, just as it should be, and wholly delicious.

Mushroom Risotto

Now we come to the main course, and it was here, dear reader, that your intrepid diners were somewhat disappointed.  Bethany Sue and I went for the grilled ahi tuna, which came with braised leeks (I loves me some leeks!), fried gnocchi, and tomato broth.  The tuna could have had more flavor and it could have been hotter.  Our waiter had also warned us that it would just be seared (it was, after all sushi-grade tuna) and we both acquiesced to this enthusiastically.  Well, turns out only Bethany Sue’s was seared; mine was cooked pretty much right through.  Alastair had the flatiron steak, which was fine, though none too thrilling, and Bonita Lou went for the mushroom risotto: flavor was good but it was a little on the runny side.


We drank wine throughout, chosen from their extensive wine list – it has a table of contents – and finished off the meal with two chocolate ganache truffles for the table and some digestifs.  Those Southern gals love their Baileys!

Finally, the service and the décor:  One was fantastic, the other not so much.  Can you guess which?  Our waiter was a Chatty Cathy throughout the evening but it must be said that we were nothing if not encouraging.  He was also attentive and knowledgeable and brought us what we wanted when we wanted it.  So all good on that front.  The décor, on the other hand, could use some work, or perhaps more to the point, less work.  Barolo is, in a word, busy.  It’s as if the owners have just picked up one of this and one of that wherever they’ve gone.  Thrown up on the walls are plates and paintings and Christmas decorations and lights and fake plants and real plants and pictures and posters and you name it.  And then there are the niches filled with any number of knick knacks and tchotchkes.  Combine this with the fact that the space itself is not large and not quiet and it’s all a little overwhelming.  Just a little decorative editing would do Barolo a world of good.

All that said, and the slightly disappointing entrées nothwithstanding, the DaOiD boys and their Southern lady friends had a fantastic evening and would be excited to give it all another whirl sometime in the future.  New friends and good food; how can you go wrong?


6 Responses

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  1. Alastair said, on December 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I want to swim in a pool of fritto misto…

  2. Historiann said, on December 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Why is it that most places I go to, the apps are SO much better, more interesting, and just executed better than the entrees? And why can I never remember this, and just order off of the starter menu?


    • Blake said, on December 22, 2009 at 7:28 am

      So true! And WHY is this? My fear, however, is that if I just get appetizers I also won’t get enough food. Did I survive the Great Depression? Unclear.

  3. downtown said, on January 1, 2010 at 9:59 am

    (I loves me some leeks!), ??????

    a bit racist?

    • Blake said, on January 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      Is it? My apologies, if so. Toward whom would it be racist? I was under the impression that framing the love of something or other in this way had sort of entered into common conversation. But I confess I have no idea of its origins.

  4. […] gone from Barolo Grill to Grand Lux Café and everything in between. Looking back, there have been some clear trends. We […]

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