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Robert Abrams
Restaurant Reviews
Linger Restaurant
United States
Dance Mountain (1 mile above sea level or higher)
Greater Denver
Colorado
Denver, CO
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Linger Restaurant in Denver, Colorado – A meal to remember

by Robert Abrams
December 27, 2015
Linger Restaurant
2030 West 30th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
303-993-3120
Micro-review:
Linger Restaurant, Denver – Devils on Horseback: bacon, dates, goat cheese, mind-blowing flavor; a meal to remember. exploredance.com/4253
Over a year ago I was in Denver, Colorado and had lunch at Linger Restaurant. I have remembered the flavor experience as mind-blowing, and regretted not writing about it. You know how sometimes you gotta dance?, well sometimes you gotta eat.

I went to Linger this time with friends and family for dinner.

Some restaurants start you off with complementary bread or chips. Linger served spiced popcorn. This was the first indication they do things differently. Well, the first food based indication – the actual first indication being that the restaurant is located in a former mortuary.

The popcorn was served warm. It was rich and sophisticated. If you thought popcorn was supposed to be paired with butter, you haven't lived enough. One of the spices was sumac (not the poisonous kind).

While the popcorn was spiced, I wouldn't call it spicy. If granularity was a flavor, this would be granular popcorn. It was a seriously good pre-dinner snack, but resist filling up on it.

Linger has a full bar, including specialty cocktails. I had the sangria, which I enjoyed.

Linger is basically a tapas-style restaurant, so you order a variety of small plates to make up a meal, usually to share. Our server did a good job of suggesting how much of each dish would, together, make the right amount of food for the table. The cuisine includes dishes inspired from around the world.

The first dish we tried was Devils on Horseback, which contains applewood smoked bacon, medjool dates, herbed goat cheese and sambal gastrique (Europe and Eurasia). Our server recommended we squeeze the provided lime on it. Devils on Horseback is semi-crisp bacon wrapped around a soft, but resistant date. The flavors were complementary. I found each piece could fall apart if I was using a fork. Not a problem. You are eating in a mortuary among (living) friends. Feel free to pick it up with your fingers. I thought I tasted a touch of honey, although that might have been another ingredient (it is not like the restaurant gives away all of its secrets on the menu). There was a hint of hot-spicy. Devils on Horseback provided the evolutionary satisfaction of fatty food. It was like a great rib, but far more sophisticated in terms of combining food groups. Even the garnish greens were delicious. Devils on Horseback tastes, without qualification, mind-blowing, and is an example of why Linger has a tendency to linger in one's memory.

Next up were the sliders with waffle fries (Wagyu sliders with peppered bacon, aged cheddar, curried sour cream; and sweet potato waffle fries with chipotle ketchup; Americas). I thought this was a good burger, but not "WOW". On the other hand, maybe somewhere else it would be. (Devils on Horseback is a very hard act to follow.) The fries were good too. The ketchup for the fries had a tiny bit of zing to it. Nice.

The third dish of the night was the duck buns. This is Mongolian BBQ duck with scallions and miso pickled cucumbers. The dish hails from the "Buns" region of the world. (What can I say? I like Linger's sense of humor.) These duck buns contrast soft foods, the bun taco and duck, with the crisp snap of the pickle. There seemed to be a signature sweetness here too. I might suggest offering extra pickles both because the pickles themselves were very good, and because the contrast of textures made the dish. Some diners might want more opportunities to taste the elements of the dish together. (While, admittedly, some would think it heretical to make suggestions to the chef, Linger already offers many dishes in vegan and/or gluten-free variations, including the duck buns, so I think this suggestion is in keeping with Linger's existing desire to artfully meet the needs and tastes of its diners. And it doesn't change the dish, it just adds more pickles.) Be bold, and ask for more pickles.

Considered together, the three dishes were all great, but the Devils on Horseback was my favorite. This was definitely the kind of truly mind-blowing flavor I remember from my last visit to Linger, which also suggests that Linger's quality is not only memorable, but has been consistently maintained over the years.

Linger's décor, at night in Winter, was dark, spacious and vibrant, but with well designed, soft spot-lighting that lets you see the excellent food and your dinner companions. The noise levels were loud and chatty, but quiet enough to hold and hear an intelligent conversation.

We also had beef tacos (sesame BBQ tacos with wagyu short rib, Napa slaw, radish, avocado and lime; Americas) which were also good, but sometimes you have to stop taking notes and just eat, so I will leave the detailed description blank here, and let you fill it in. Linger has about 29 dishes on the dinner menu alone, so there are plenty of blanks to fill in, and plenty of excuses to go back and try something new.

Prices for each dish ranged from $5 to $33, and from scanning the menu, $10 to $15 per dish was typical. Linger isn't an inexpensive restaurant by any means, but it isn't outrageously expensive either. Considering the high quality of the food and service, the prices are good value.

We completed the meal with sesame caramels, which were soft, chewy and rich. A physicist might describe them as a state of matter somewhere between a solid and a liquid, or perhaps as a viscous sweetness with a hint of salt. These were small, but you only need one. Even if you are the kind of person who normally skips dessert, at Linger, don't skip dessert. The sesame caramels were a sophisticated and flavorful end to a sophisticated and flavorful meal.

Don't leave Denver without visiting Linger.
Popcorn at Linger

Popcorn at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


Devils on Horseback at Linger

Devils on Horseback at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


Sliders with Waffle Fries at Linger

Sliders with Waffle Fries at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


Duck Buns at Linger

Duck Buns at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


The decor at Linger

The decor at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


The decor at Linger

The decor at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


Beef Tacos at Linger<br>(Someone snagged one before I managed to take a photo.)

Beef Tacos at Linger
(Someone snagged one before I managed to take a photo.)

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams


Sesame Caramels for dessert at Linger

Sesame Caramels for dessert at Linger

Photo © & courtesy of Robert Abrams

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