Saturday, May 30, 2015

Forest Room 5

Forest The Love of Pete!!!

Getting There

Forest Room 5 is in located the very popular Highlands area of Denver.  They do not have their own parking lot; however, the street parking is free so no need to worry about those pesky parking meters.  Finding the place is very straightforward and although they don’t have a huge sign out front, it is hard to miss the trees and the forest setting in the middle of the sleek and trendy bars, restaurants, and boutiques of the area.

The Atmosphere

Forest Room 5 is above all else, a bar.  It is best summed up as an “industrial cabin” and looks as though David Bowie had a baby with Paul Bunyon.  The booths are tree trunks with padded seats and wooden benches with backrests made of padded flannel.  The tables are made of massive slabs of wood and add to the eclectic, rustic feel.  There is a small eating area in the main room by the elaborate bar.  Behind the bar is a large movie screen that shows beautiful scenic views, colorful sunsets, and at one point a front row seat showing two Grizzly bears getting cozy, if you know what I mean.  The bartender’s dogs wandered in and out of the bar and patio area casually greeting each visitor as they walked in.  This may be off putting to some; however, it seemed to add to the atmosphere of the bar.  We felt like we were at a watering hole up in the Colorado Rockies.

The centerpiece of Forest Room 5 is the patio area.  They have managed to bring the mountains to the city.  There is a stream running through the patio, fire pits, tables, and beautiful lighting when it gets dark.  An interesting and beautiful setting to meet a group of friends for drinks and good conversation.

The Eats

Because it is a bar, we decided to get a couple of the specialty drinks listed on the menu.  First we ordered The Grizzly.  This is made with cazadores blanco, apricot and cayenne simple, and grapefruit spritzer. 

We also tried their Bear Heaven which is a mix of whipper snapper Oregon whisky, St. Germain, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and bitters on the rocks. One thing we can say about Forest Room, they don't skimp on the drinks.  They were...pungent.

We started with the Smoky Mac and Cheese.  Cheesy and filling this was tasty beginning to our evening.  It was made with roasted mushrooms, gouda, and bacon.  The bacon mixed well with the smoky, creamy gouda and instead of the typical elbow macaroni, this was a cavatappi pasta (corkscrew shape).  The sundried tomatoes added s sweet, chewy texture and rounded the dish out nicely.

We also tried the Green Garlic Soup made with achiote creama, fresh garlic, and fire popped heirloom corn.  This was creamy and had an intense garlic flavor that paired well with the sweetness of the corn.

The Smoked Bison Tacos were tasty and straightforward consisting of shredded bison seasoned perfectly with corn salsa and red onions all tucked away in soft flour tortillas.

Herbed Truffled French fries are all the rage right now and that is why we ordered them at Forest Room 5.  These were served with shaved parmesan cheese and  truffle aioli.  The fries were very fresh, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  The aioli was not our favorite but was adequate for a truffle sauce found in a bar setting.

Our most unique find was without a doubt, the Grilled Watermelon Salad.  Slices of Watermelon were grilled briefly to form an almost carmelized coating on the outside while preserving the chilled, juicy melon on the inside.  It was served with both honeydew and cantaloupe melon balls, feta cheese, pistachios, and fresh arugula.  It was then drizzled with a fresh arugula sauce.  We would never have thought to mix melon with arugula but the flavors meshed perfectly and made for a light, whimsical salad.

We decided to try the fried chicken off the large plate portion of the menu.  The chicken had a very good coating, crunchy and crispy without drying out the chicken itself.  The meat was juicy and flavorful.  It was served with a light summer slaw, puffed wheat, and fresh honeycomb.

The flat iron steak was served with grilled baby vegetables, farro ( a type of grain), roasted carrots, and mushrooms.  This was simply prepared with no fancy sauces or glazes.  As with many items at Forest Room, this had a distinct smoky flavor to it.

Duck Confit is a favorite with us at MenuManiacs and we were a little surprised to find this on the menu in this type of setting so we just had to give it a try.  We were surprised at how good it was.  It was fall off the bone tender, served with an arugula, feta and goat cheese, pistacio, and strawberry salad.

The last item we tried was the bison short ribs.  These were served with fry bread, baked new potatoes, and wild asparagus.  This was served with an unctuous sauce that was basically the drippings from the meat.  This was another table favorite.  The meat had the texture of a pot roast and was very succulent.

On to desserts.  First, the dark chocolate brownie served with spruce tip and smoked peanuts.  This was an extremely rich and extremely dark chocolate brownie that had the texture of a flourless dessert.  So much so that we were unable to finish it. 

We also tried the S'mores.  Smoked marshmallows, graham cracker crumble, and dark chocolate.  This was a tasty dessert as a whole; however, the graham cracker crumble was the star of the dish.  It was more like a cookie than a graham cracker and was delicious when dipped into the chocolate.

The People 

As we stated, Forest Room 5 is a bar.  That being said, when you visit them don't expect stellar service.  The employees are basically bartenders and really cannot be compared to the wait staff at fine dining establishments.  Our server Roxy was helpful and kept our food coming and our drinks full.

Summing Up

Forest Room 5 gets its name from the 5 large rooms you can reserve for larger parties.  They are set up for live entertainment and dining service.  Call if you have interest in booking these for a get together or office party.

They have options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free items on their menu.  They have a nice, varied menu and offer something for everybody. 

Forest Room 5 is a nice little bar with a unique setting in a very popular part of the city.  A good place for friends to get together after work for a drink.  Because of this, we award Forest Room 5 a fork.

Thank you for a truly unique dining experience.
Forest Room 5 on Urbanspoon

The Officially Unofficial Voting Legend
Take it with a grain of salt, we're not professionals.
Awesome place, we’ll shovel more food in our face!
It was okay. Not our favorite, but we’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Breakfast on Broadway

We Aren't Yolking, They Are Eggcellent!

Breakfast on Broadway is well known to breakfast enthusiasts in the Denver area.  It has been around for quite a while and in addition to breakfast, BOB has a pretty impressive lunch menu as well.

Getting There

Located at 2901 South Broadway in Englewood, Breakfast on Broadway is easy to find since there is a large sign out in the parking lot.  Seriously, it's the place with the giant spatula.  We aren't joking.  It's huge.

Anyhoo, there is a lot of free parking and even a special section for bikes and motorcycles.  That way, you don't have to experience the joy of finding a free spot only to feel intense disappointment a second later when you see a Harley has already claimed it.

The Atmosphere

The restaurant has a warm, light, and fun atmosphere.  The walls sport earthy tones and are covered with both murals and black and white nostalgic photos of old time Denver including the Majestic, the Gothic, and old Broadway.  The restaurant is not an overly large space but they do have plenty of tables, booths, and even bar seating.  They offer a good sized patio for those who prefer to dine outside. 

The Eats

One of us took advantage of the bottomless Mimosas...and they mean bottomless.  As soon as a quarter of the glass was empty, the server would swoop in like an orange juice ninja and fill that champagne flute to the brim which was pretty awesome.

We started off with the homemade donut holes.  These were dusted with powdered sugar and served with cream cheese frosting as well as a beautiful strawberry sauce.  The donuts themselves were crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.  The strawberry sauce was amazing because it was straightforward and simple.  It wasn't overly sweet and allowed you to taste the true flavor of the strawberry.  Definitely our favorite sauce for this breakfast appetizer and yet another lesson to us that something doesn't have to be fancy to be delicious.

We ordered several dishes and sides so we will list what we ordered and what we thought of each item.

Per our server Kara's recommendation, we ordered the Broadway Breakfast - two eggs any style, potato cakes, choice of bacon, turkey bacon, patty sausage, or taylor ham and served with your choice of toast, biscuit or pancakes (we opted for the Strawberry Romanoff Pancakes).

We also ordered Corned Beef Hash - grilled, crisp, topped with two eggs your style and their hollandaise sauce with your choice of toast or pancakes (we chose the Butternut Squash Pancakes for this dish).

W.P.K.'s Irish Oatmeal was also selected - served risotto style.  This came with a tray of extras:  brown sugar, pecans, granola, and raisins.  We also chose the sourdough toast with the oatmeal.

In addition, we tried a side of jalapeno bacon, biscuits and gravy, and their patty sausage.

The sides of bacon and patty sausage were wonderful.  Both were cooked perfectly and had excellent flavor.  The bacon was crisp without being burnt.  The sausage patties were tasty without being overly spicy.  Even our non-sausage eater finished the patty she was given and believe me, that is saying something.

The jalapeno bacon was one of our favorites, but this does have a kick to it.  You have been warned.  The bacon was cooked with jalapenos on the top and was a great combination of salty, spicy, and meaty.  We imagine it would be excellent with their breakfast burrito or huevos rancheros.

Eggs.  Two over easy.  Very simple but exceptional.  Fried eggs are best with crispy edges and these were a little pocket of heaven.  The yolk was not hard and have I mentioned the crispy edges?

The sourdough toast was great as well.  Not over toasted and simply buttered.

Biscuits and gravy are typically a staple order when we visit a breakfast restaurant.  Their biscuits were large and fluffy without being doughy and the velvety gravy had a good flavor with only a hint of sausage.  This was a little unusual since most gravies we have tried tend to be the opposite with sausage being the star of the dish.  Overall, we really enjoyed Breakfast on Broadway's take on the classic biscuits and gravy.

Irish oatmeal is a favorite with us.  Especially since 1/2 of the MenuManiac team is of Irish descent.  We always prefer this type of oatmeal due to the texture of steelcut oats as opposed to the rolled oats most people are used to (think instant oat meal).  The fact that they cooked the oatmeal risotto style really made a difference because it was not overly thick but not too thin or watery.  Also, they offered several options ON THE SIDE.  On the side is very big with us (think When Harry Met Sally).  These included pecans, brown sugar, raisins, granola, and a creamer full of milk.  We used the brown sugar and pecans and it was fantastic!  We liked this dish so much that it was the last to leave the table and that was only after prying it from our hands after distracting us with a pretty color.

The Strawberry Romanoff Pancakes were buttermilk pancakes topped with marinated strawberries and brown sugar cream cheese.  We were pleased to see that Breakfast on Broadway serves smaller sized pancakes which means less for us to waste (or eat, let's be honest).  These were really tasty.  The buttermilk pancakes were rich, fluffy, and decadent.  The strawberries were fresh and tasty and the brown sugar cream cheese butter was sweet enough to negate the need for maple syrup.  It would make an excellent dessert!

Butternut Squash Pancakes, people!  The surprise dish of the morning.  These were a completely different consistency and texture than the strawberry pancakes.  They were very similar to the texture of French toast and because of the cinnamon and nutmeg, it had a nutty flavor with spices similar to a pumpkin bread.  These were served with a maple butter that again erased any need of syrup to be added.  We loved these pancakes!

We also tried the Corned Beef Hash.  This was served with two scrambled eggs and hollandaise sauce on the side.  The mark of good Corned Beef Hash is when it is crispy on the outside and creamy in the center.  This was a perfect hash.  Neither of us is a fan of hollandaise sauce typically, but this sauce really brought out the flavor of the hash and it really surprised us.  The hollandaise was not as lemony as others we have tried and was very delightful.

Breakfast on Broadway's potato cakes were a cross between mashed potatoes and hash browns.  They were lightly fried on each side and were seasoned well with little to no filler.  All potato.  Totally delicious.

The People 

Our server, Kara was a delight.  She was bubbly and attentive.  This is not easy when you are in such a busy restaurant.  We asked her for suggestions when ordering and she didn't skip a beat.  We ordered everything she recommended and we loved every dish.  We were a little disappointed that she did not provide anybody to rub our full tummies like our moms used to do, but we will let that one slide.  Seriously, if you can request Kara as your server do so.  She is just delightful.

Summing Up

Breakfast on Broadway is an extremely busy restaurant.  They do not take reservations; however, they do offer call ahead seating and they honor that even when there is a crowd.  If you have to wait, complimentary coffee and water as well as reading materials are offered.  The only negative we saw during the whole experience was the fact that they do not have much of a waiting area.  There was a large crowd waiting to be seated outside so if it's a hot summer or cold winter, you could be in for a long wait.

They offer an espresso bar menu as well as a night shift happy hour between the hours of 7 to 9am that offers bottomless J Roget Mimosas and 2 for 1 Svedka Bloody Marys. 

The restaurant is very reasonable and for the price, you get huge portion sizes.

We gave Breakfast on Broadway the coveted Golden Spoon.  They offer a lot of food at a great value and their food is very, very good. 

Thank you to Kara and the staff of BOB for a wonderful and surprising Sunday morning breakfast.  We will be back for lunch very soon.

The Officially Unofficial Voting Legend
Take it with a grain of salt, we're not professionals.
Awesome place, we’ll shovel more food in our face!
It was okay. Not our favorite, but we’ll take another stab at it.
Didn’t make the cut.