It started with a late-night visit after a show at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, when a couple of friends and I convinced the bartender (it didn’t take much) to plug in my smartphone so we could listen to a particularly righteous playlist. There was no one else there (it was close to closing time), and the modern hip-hop tunes were a great juxtaposition to “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which is one of the many black-and-white oldies the eatery screens continuously in huge format on one wall.
My love affair with Baur’s Restaurant and Listening Lounge, which sits in the circa-1891 O.P. Baur Confectionary Company space, continued through another stop for a drink from their well-chosen, well-varied roster — the Steigl Radler brew from Austria is an exceptional shandy, a light, almost effervescent concoction with just the right touch of grapefruit — and then became truly serious after a friend and I saw A.J. Croce (son of Jim) play a spirited show there that was so much the better because the acoustics are phenomenal, courtesy of all the wood in the dining areas.
Many food items have been sampled by now from their ambitious, historically motivated menu, which pays homage to an earlier time — tender and moist wild salmon ($29) in a large pool of beurre blanc with red potatoes and celeriac remoulade is also a favorite — but it’s the lobster deviled egg that is the most fun, an expertly conceived little egg half containing a soft, lightly creamy filling.
The devil is indeed in the details here: A properly hard-boiled egg white and soft, creamy filling with just enough lobster meat to taste it and the right sprinkling of bacon. Flanking the egg ($4 each) are two house-made potato chips, and the whole thing sits on smashed avocado that had been lightly seasoned so that it doesn’t overshadow everything else. It’s the kind of thing that takes the edge off a night of buzzed meandering around downtown, without being too filling (although I could have eaten 10 of them).
Service here could not be better. When I couldn’t finish the salmon, I asked the server to make sure, please, to scrape the rest of the beurre blanc — whose slightly sharper and welcome vinegar bite cut the sauce’s richness — into the takeout container. When it was returned to me, inside sat not one, but two containers of fresh sauce. Nice.
Convenient to: The DPAC, but also anything downtown — and with a weekly roster of appealing musicians, Baur’s is a destination in its own right.
Info: Baur’s Restaurant and Listening Lounge, 1512 Curtis St., Denver. 303-615-4000. Click here for details