Lou’s Food|Bar: “Comfort food and cocktails”

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One of our favorite restaurants in Denver is Lou’s Food|Bar. It is reliably good, starting with the housemade sausage and pâté of the day (excellent to share), followed by the French Onion soup. The pâté is often in the coarse country style, mixing ground pork and liver with nuts and farm-fresh ingredients. Those three items begin our order every time, but by doing so we may be missing out on the Bonanno (French) Fries served any of four ways, grilled artichoke, or cheese curds. During Happy Hour, Bacon Mac & Cheese is on the menu!

Lou’s entrées include such American classics as burgers, sandwiches and fried chicken, as well as duck confit, lamb shank stroganoff, and root vegetable terrine. Wash it down with a clever cocktail, beer, or wine poured from a cask or bottle. Top it off with a dessert or flight of port or dessert wine.

The concept of offering wine on tap from is both environmentally and economically sound, enabling vintners to package wine for restaurants in reusable casks. Wine poured from the tap typically costs less per glass, although at Lou’s the $8.00 price was matched by other by-the-glass selections priced at $8.00. Local winery Infinite Monkey Theorem wines are on tap at a number of Front Range Restaurants, so the concept is catching on in Colorado.

We discovered Lou’s when attending a Colorado Wine Dinner in November 2011, and it has been on our short list ever since. It started as a French Bistro in Frank Bonanno’s diverse offering of restaurants, but over time has evolved to more of a casual neighborhood favorite serving American classics with a French touch.

Recently we met friends for dinner at Lou’s. The booth in the back corner was open, which is one of the easier places to talk in a space that can get noisy. Every crumb of the orders of country pâté, five-spice sausage, and Cajun sausage disappeared, accompanied by glasses of Workbook Old Vine Blend served on tap. Two in our party chose the Brick Chicken – so-called because they roast half a chicken skin side down and put a brick on top to help crisp the skin. Pork tenderloin and a spinach entrée salad rounded out the order. It seemed a crime to leave behind any of the confit potatoes (roasted in duck fat), but that yielded just enough room to sip flights of port for dessert. It was the perfect meal that sustained us through three hours of conversation.

The port flight: Dow’s Tawny 10 Year, Dow’s Tawny 20 Year, and Blandy’s Madeira 15 Year. The mixed flight makes sense because Port and Madeira are fortified wines, although made from different grapes. Tawny port and Madeira have a similar texture. Port comes from Portugal and Madeira from the Madeira Islands. The trio of tastes punctuated the evening nicely.

Until our next adventure in Colorado wine and food…

Lou’s Food|Bar
1851 West 38th Avenue, at Shoshone Street
Denver, CO 80211
Neighborhood: Highlands/Sunnyside

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