For those who can't resist the allure of fried pig ears washed down with freshly brewed ale, there is Euclid Hall. Apparently, I am precisely one of those people.
Euclid Hall has all the elements for success in Denver: a historic downtown location, unusual and cholesterol-laden pub-style food, an extensive beer menu, and a well-known chef/owner.
We arrived with a couple of friends for a very early (4pm-ish) Saturday night dinner. The restaurant was relatively busy for the early hour. We were seated upstairs and quickly got started with a round of drinks. Euclid Hall has an extensive beer menu, including my husband's beloved Lost Abbey, which is a bit of a rare find. He was instantly happy.
We began with a couple of starters: Buffalo Style Pig Ears and Seared Scallops.
First, the Buffalo Style Pig Ears:
|Buffalo Style Pig Ears|
These weren't what I was expecting. I thought the ears would look, you know, a lot more like ears than generously breaded, sliced-up ear slivers. They were also much softer than I had anticipated and had a very mild flavor. In fact, I mostly just tasted the fried exterior, which was very well seasoned but seemed to overwhelm whatever cartilage flavor may have existed.
Next were the seared scallops:
|Seared Scallops with Peaches and Mustard|
This was a much more traditional appetizer, and also much lighter than our pig ears. The scallops tasted lovely and were cooked perfectly. They were served with fresh peaches and Euclid Hall's traditional mustard, which I could have lived without in this dish.
Euclid Hall is known for its sausages and mustards, so we knew we had to try at least one. In an attempt to be adventurous (since eating pig ears wasn't enough), we settled on the Boudin Noir, a blood sausage.
|Boudin Noir (Blood Sausage)|
That ominous-looking sausage was my first blood sausage ever, and it certainly wasn't as scary as the name made it sound. It had a crumbly texture and a sweet flavor that was complimented by the addition of golden raisins to the sausage. Even not being much of a sausage fan, I really enjoyed the taste. It came with the grainy mustard assortment below, each with a unique flavor that nicely complimented the sausage (much better than it had with the scallops).
Even after the blood sausage and pig ears, I had another journey into uncharted food territory ahead of me: poutine, the French Canadian grease-bomb staple, is prominent on the Euclid Hall menu. I've never seen this dish at any Colorado establishment, but Euclid Hall bravely serves it up in several varieties.
My husband and I split the lamb poutine, which came with braised and grilled lamb, goat cheese, and espagnole sauce.
The lamb was tasty and well cooked, the goat cheese was as delicious as goat cheese always is, the sauce was too salty for my taste. Overall a decent pile of food, but not as good as its more ambitious counterpart, the cleverly titled Duck Duck Goose poutine:
|Duck Duck Goose Poutine|
This impressive pile of saturated fat-laden deliciousness included duck gravy, black pepper, cheese curds, a sunny-side up duck egg, and goose foie gras. I loved the combination of ingredients, particularly the more traditional poutine toppings of gravy and cheese curds. I always feel that fois gras should be the center of attention on any dish it's served, so I struggled with the thought of having that tiny piece be a compliment to a giant dish of French fries.
One last note about the food at Euclid Hall: besides the intense cholesterol punch, it is very heavy on the salt. I needed quite a bit of water to counteract all the sodium as I ate.
After all that delicious and heavy food, it was time for dessert.
We settled on splitting a Red Velvet Cupcake and the Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich.
First, the Red Velvet Cupcake:
|Red Velvet Cupcake|
The frosting on this little guy was incredible. It was soft and airy, almost like marshmallow fluff atop the moist, deep-red cupcake.
And the Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich, served with salted butterscotch ice cream with a praline topping:
|Sourdough Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich|
These sourdough waffles are the same carby staples that make up Euclid Hall's intriguing Chicken and Waffles dish. I didn't care for the sour flavor coupled with the sweet ice cream, but the ice cream itself - and its crunchy praline topping - was outstanding.
We had an excellent waitress looking after us all night, and she suggested we attend Euclid Hall's Great American Beer Festival Midnight Breakfast on September 29. The menu offerings looked delicious, but the thought of packing my stomach with so much grease and beer at midnight on a Thursday night and then trying to wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning for work sounded a bit like torture. Oh well.
Even after all the food we ingested, we didn't get a chance to try many many dishes that sounded fantastic, including bruleed bone marrow, a brat burger, or funnel cake fried bananas. Definitely need another visit.
(8 of 10)
Pros: Great beer selection, great service, unique dishes
Cons: Very fatty and salty food, restaurant can be loud