I rolled on up to Larimer Street because Denver has decided, very kindly I might add, that all the best restaurants will be located either on this street or near it. This street is filled with all sorts of cute shoppes but I'll get into that in another post.
I'm going to be honest here. I chose Tag because it was open. I know Chef Troy Guard has a reputation as one of Denver's finest chefs, but to be fair, Tag was right in front of me as I walked up and it was open for business. Either way, I plopped myself down at the very chic bar that was incredibly colorful for such a raw, masculine space. I loved the little cups of herbs and fruits that lined the bar. I am definitely a fan of the design of this joint. It's narrow like you'd see in most downtown restaurants. There's a very comforting aura that fills this establishment, despite my hatred of warehouse designs. Then again, I was here alone and I had no one to talk to besides the bartender. Also, food was why I was here.
I was very hesitant about the menu that I saw online. There was a heavy emphasis on Asian elements on their Social Hour menu. As this was going to be my first meal, I couldn't go too heavy. I chose two dishes that both involved raw fish. I know. I know. I know! Landlocked state + raw fish = "what the hell are you thinking Chris?!? Are you that much of a sushi freak to order it out here?" The answer is 'yes' by the way. I am that much of a sushi addict that I would order it out here. This, however, was not the reason I ordered it this time. I figured I had to try it and as it was staring at me right in the face, I obliged.
|This aioli is DYN-O-MITE|
I will make it known right here that I am a fan of Japanese style sushi. The idea of overloading my senses on a food that's meant to be an exploration on simplicity of flavors and ingredients is heresy in my book. I want limited but high quality ingredients and as little "cooking" from the chef as possible. The only thing the chef should do is assemble the ingredients in a manner that best enhances the excellence that both nature and the chef that prepped the rice have provided. Now that you know this about me, you'll probably think I hated this roll. You're right. I absolutely hate this thing like I hate bound feet. There's so much that went wrong with this roll. Basics of roll making: cut your pieces so that they're all even. It was like having Tim Taylor "eyeball" the size of each piece. (For those of you deprived individuals who have never seen the show Home Improvement, you didn't miss out on much, but let's just say that he was NOT the best at judging distance and sizing without the aide of a measuring instrument). Where was I? Oh yes. More hatred. The cucumbers or zucchini that they used was too raw. The ahi was chopped up beyond recognition. The rice was torched. Why oh why did they do that? I wasn't sure if the rice was undercooked or if it was of the torching that dried the rice out. Either way, it was horrid. This brings us to the aioli. I don't know what was dynamite about it. It didn't contribute to the flavor. It didn't give me any heat. It didn't even mask the horrible job they did on roll itself. On the level of explosiveness, it was about even with a cotton ball. I think I've spewed enough venom on this roll.
I got to talking to the bartender, who was very knowledgeable, and he saw how much I liked the hiramasa. He suggested that I should try out the sister restaurant: Tag Bar. I took his advice and did exactly that. More on this next time boys and girls.