1691 Central Street, Denver, CO 80211

Happy Hour at Central Bistro: Cheers to the View

By Chris Utterback, Denver Westword Fri., Sep 26 2014 at 4:35 PM
Chris Utterback

I was wandering the Highland neighborhood, hunting for that most rare of beasts: a happy hour that runs until 7 p.m. Once the clock hits six, it’s time for most restaurants to put away the small menus, top off that happy hour sangria and roll out the red carpet for the folks who actually spend, you know, real money. Then I stumbled on Central Bistro & Bar’s all-day Tuesday happy hour: seven hours of small plates, cheap cocktails and good times. I was there for at least two of them, just enjoying the food and the view.

See also: Happy Hour at the Horseshoe Lounge: It Must Be a Neighborhood Thing

Chef Lance Barto launched Central’s kitchen back in 2012, then Matt Selby took over the next year. The menu changed, but Central still wants to be a casual spot rather than a hipster-fied foodie joint. The board rockets from mac-n-cheese comfort food to pan-seared duck breast in a single bound, hoping to please all comers.

At happy hour — 4 to 6 p.m. during the week, 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and all day Tuesday — the menu is small but still substantial, as if Central’s regular offerings had been hit by some supervillain’s shrink ray. But at any size, the bar team at Central kills it. Their creative side isn’t as visible in the drink specials, but I was wowed by a simple champagne tipple with bramble cordial ($5) and an Irish coffee made with the house’s own Irish cream ($11, not a happy hour special).

Mark Manger

I sampled two dishes from opposite ends of the Central spectrum: a highfalutin cheese plate ($12) and some middle-brow confit chicken wings tossed in hot sauce ($6). I felt like a real rube using my hands to gnaw on drumsticks and snap up almonds, especially when everyone sitting on the patio looks like realtors poking out of a real estate catalog. But care has evidently gone into these simple dishes. I saw Pecorino Romano in a whole new light when paired with house-made lavash flatbread and two other funky cheeses. And the confit treatment the chicken received was a fig leaf of respectability for this sports bar standard, making the wings crisp but not thick with breading.

Having spent almost two hours in a haze of food and drink, I rose from the table to find almost no one around me had budged, so engrossed in conversation, alcohol and the view of the skyline. At least on a Tuesday evening, Central was an oasis in the city — guess it was just what I was looking for.

Perfect for: Families with kids — I was surprised to see so many high chairs around, and Central offers a pretty good kid’s menu, especially for brunch.

Don’t Miss: Any craft cocktail your server says is on special; the bar’s creativity really should be experienced. And though it’s not cheap, the Irish coffee ranks as one of the best in town.

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The 11 Best Things We Ate This Year (So Far) in Denver

By Ruth Tobias - Zagat Mon., Jun 30 2014 at 3:27 PM

What an embarrassment of riches 2014 has already yielded. Narrowing down every spectacular thing we’ve sampled in the past six months to just 10 (OK, 11) would have been impossible without some ground rules. One: we limited our boundaries to Denver proper (sorry, Aurum and D’Angelo’s Italian Deli). Two: the dishes had to be new to menus this year — unlike, say, La Calle’s unforgettable tacos de cueritos and East Asia Garden’s tofu and black eggs. Three: they also had to be currently available to you, dear reader. That meant excluding To the Wind’s chicken and dumplings and pretty much anything on Lower48 Kitchen’s exquisite but constantly changing menu, as well as overlooking this tonkotsu ramen (at least until Jeff Osaka’s upcoming noodle shop sets an opening date). Yet after all that, we were still left with a plethora of creations that will drop your jaw and blow your mind.

Lemonade-Cured Foie Gras at Central Bistro & Bar

Why We Love It: The words “foie gras” and “refreshing” rarely appear in the same sentence. But when they do, you can bet the name “Matt Selby” will be there too: as chef at this neighborhood magnet in LoHi, Selby has gone and built an exuberant showcase for everybody’s favorite liver. Exquisitely creamy and tinged with verjus, his torchon is set atop thin disks of custard-battered sourdough French toast, then accompanied by sweet-tart blueberry-rum jam and a zingy salad of mint and fennel whose seared slivers of yet more foie tie everything together. It’s an instant summertime classic, really. 1691 Central St.; 303-477-4582


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Central Bistro and Bar expands brunch to Saturdays

By Examiner.com Mon., Jun 30 2014 at 3:23 PM

Denver’s Chef Matt Selby and his brunch-partner-in-crime, Chef Jesse Vega, have long delivered a morning menu that is clever and imaginative. As of recent, brunch lovers can experience Central Bistro and Bar’s food, cocktails, patio, and view of the downtown Denver skyline all weekend long instead of only on Sundays.

It’s easy to find Mexican Chiliaquiles in Denver. But Chef Matty’s remarkable version of Bistro Chilaquiles layer crispy chips with braised pork, salsa roja, and crème, and are only made better as the runny egg yolk is broken spilling down the sides. The Smoked Salmon Flatbread can be split amongst the table as an appetizer, or ordered as a main dish. Crispy, hand-tossed flatbread is topped with whipped cream cheese, red and green onion, tomato vinaigrette, and Everything Bagel seasoning. The spot-on bagel seasoning quickly transplants you to an East Coast bagel shop. (And apparently stems from a who-makes-a-better-bagel-competition in the kitchen!)

Many of the brunch menu items were created by Chef Jesse as he was given some major creative authority. He’s quickly becoming renowned for his specials and supreme palate. Last weekend he was testing a dish called Egg Yolk Carpaccio. Reminiscent of something you would find on a dinner menu, stunningly plated egg yolks were topped with crumbled chorizo, crispy asparagus tips, sliced radishes, diced avocado and heirloom tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, and drizzled with basil mayonnaise. The extraordinary thought was only beaten by the exceptional flavor. This dish is one-of-a-kind and surely a memorable bite.

When asking the server what she recommends, she’ll tell you she consistently mentions Umami Fried Rice to brunch-goers. It’s another brainchild of Chef Jesse. Fried rice is topped with seared scallops, halibut, frothy eggs, carrots, celery, cilantro, and radishes. The hints are unquestionably umami, a little bit salty, and completely flavorsome. The dish was originally a kitchen favorite which was loved so much that it crept its way into the dining room.

As part of a seasonal and changing menu, the summer menu is receiving a slight refinement with Shrimp Tacos replacing the Cuban BBQ Pork Sandwich. Large shrimp are battered and quickly fried and served in a corn tortilla. Standard seafood taco fare – cabbage, cilantro, onion, and avocado – dress-up the tacos which are then drizzled with a slightly spicy chipotle cream sauce and fresh lime juice.

Of course, the patio cocktails are flowing all weekend long. Try the Bloody Mary with 42 Below infused vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix. The Bloody Mary mix is blended each morning by that day’s bartender. They combine tomato juice, whole peppercorns, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon and lime juices, and two types of Tobasco sauce to taste. The secret is a pinch of whiskey salt and a glass rimmed with chili lime salt. No weekend brunch would be complete without bottomless mimosas. Central Bistro and Bar takes morning mimosas one step further with a Seasonal Mimosa in addition to traditional orange. Seasonal fruity flavors rotate often.

Check out weekend brunch in LoHi at 1691 Central Street. Menus, events, specials, and more info is available online.


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Drink What’s New on Denver’s Summer Cocktail Menus

By Carrie Dow Thu., Jun 5 2014 at 1:42 PM



Summertime and the living is easy.

Patio drinking season is here! With a change in the weather (Hail, hail, go away!) Denver bars and restaurants are rearranging the drink menus for the long warm days of summer. Here is just a small sampling of what will be found in Denver cocktail glasses. It also happens that all of these places have inviting patios to drink on as well. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Central Smash The Central Smash from the Central Bistro in the Highlands brings the bar’s love of whiskey to a summertime cocktail. The drink features Old Forester Bourbon, Aperol, cherry bitters, tarragon and orange. The cocktail has a fruity sweet taste with the tart finish of smoke and cherry. Enjoy on Central’s patio overlooking the Denver skyline. (1691 Central St.; 303-477-4582)

- See more at: http://denver.thedrinknation.com/articles/read/12930-Drink-Whats-New-on-Denvers-Summer-Cocktail-Menus#sthash.6U8TG8Xy.dpuf

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8 Hottest Restaurants in Denver

By Zagat - Ruth Tobias Thu., Jun 5 2014 at 11:50 AM

With so many major openings just weeks or even days away, Denverites are facing a real feeding frenzy this summer. So we’re updating our Hottest Restaurants list now, before you’ve got more on your plate than you know how to handle. The following spots are all less than eight months old, with two impressive exceptions. If you’ve yet to hit any one of them, better put it at the top of your to-do list, stat.

Central Bistro & Bar

Why It’s Hot: This modern American go-to in LoHi had plenty of mojo even before beloved veteran chef Matt Selby entered the picture. But his arrival means that the kitchen is operating on a whole new, exuberant level. Must Order: Thanks to weather that has delayed the crop cycle this year, most of the must-try dishes from the spring menu still are available, including this sumptuous seared lamb with fresh chickpeas and Robiola fondue. Don’t pass up the fried chicken oysters, either. Insider Tip: Throughout the season, keep your eyes peeled for the vegetable-based desserts Selby and pastry chef Heather Krussow are rolling out. Meanwhile, you whiskey fans should chat up the bar crew any chance you get (particularly on Wednesdays); they’ve got bottles by the dozens to try.

1691 Central St.; 303-477-4582

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