The name: TAG
The name: TAG
A Perfect Indian Summer Happy Hour at Troy A. Guard’s Larimer Restaurant
By Gabrielle Devenish
Sept. 18, 2010
I arrived at TAG Continental Social Cuisine during social hour (2-6 p.m.), which features drink specials and small plate specials -- all for $5 each. I ordered a blueberry habenero mojito and a house salad to start. The mojito was fresh, not too sweet and generous with the rum. You could tell it was made with homemade simple syrup -- not just granulated sugar, or a mix. The glass had tons of fresh mint, and a handful of ripe blueberries as garnish. It had only the slightest hint of habenero -- the average person probably wouldn't be able to discern it if they didn't know it was in the drink beforehand.
The house salad was artfully plated, with wonton crisps and a yuzu soy dressing. I was happy that it included more than just a few leaves of romaine, which many restaurants are wont to do.
When my companion arrived, he ordered a mojito as well, though it was a toss up between that and the caipirinha cocktail. We then tried the baja tacos, one steak and one fish (again, $5 for the pair). Both had a baja slaw of napa cabbage and fresh avocado wedges. The corn tortillas were warm, soft and firm enough to hold the contents without spilling all over or falling apart. We also had a pair of duck baja tacos, with fresh peach salsa and a chipotle sauce; another big hit.
Next, I had to try Troy's famous himachi with jalepeno and pop rocks. The fish was thinly sliced, in a soy/sesame oil type dressing, and each of the six slices was topped with a raw jalepeno. The dish was then garnished with red Pop Rocks -- though the candy didn't fizz (on my plate or in my mouth). I was impressed that the kitchen managed to keep the red candy dye from staining the sauce or the fish, and the little nuggets added just a slight sweet and sour crunch to contrast with the silky himachi and hot jalepeno.
We were already starting to get full, and the weather was still warm on the patio. Larimer Square was just beginning to come to life on a Friday evening. Revelers going to Oktoberfest or trickling in from the Great American Beer Fest began to fill the streets with a happy, TGIF buzz. Unfortunately, we had to be leaving soon, because of prior commitments.
To refresh our palates, and to finish off the glass of wine I had ordered (and the beer he was sipping), we split a wild arugula salad (from the dinner menu) with parmigiano reggiano shavings, watermelon and a blueberry vinaigrette. The dressing was the texture of a freshly blended smoothie, and the sweet/sour lightly danced with the spiciness of the arugula.
We couldn't skip dessert; a fruit shortcake with nectarine, vanilla cream, a nectarine "gel" sauce and a quenelle of lemon ice cream. It was the perfect coda to an excellent early evening meal. Long live Indian summer and Continental Social Cuisine.
1441 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80202
Happy Hour Bar
15400 Hebgen Lake Rd, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
, Denver, CO 80202