At Block & Larder, we’re lucky enough to have these giant windows in the front of the restaurant which let in the natural light of Tennyson Street. The other day I was seated near the back of the restaurant as my brother Lucas, our chef, went over the changes that he is making to our menu (or at this point has made). Over his shoulder, I noticed that the quality of the light had changed and that the leaves on the trees outside were gold and orange instead of green. Fall has arrived in Denver.
Lucas brought out several new dishes, tuned for the season. My favorite was the cassoulet with duck and house-made paprika pork sausage. Well, maybe it was the chimichurri pork crisps, which replaced the sriracha version that we had run through the summer. Actually, it might have been the new iteration of our mixed green salad with a poached (sous vide) egg broken over the top. Even the vegetarian mushroom pappardelle impressed – as an unabashed carnephile, I would order that.
We update our menu at least twice a year, however, this year we decided not to make any changes to our brunch menu. People seem to be loving the bottomless mimosas and fried chicken & waffles, no need to mess with those. Lucas explained to me that his vision for our “main menu” was to do more with less and making it dovetail with some the extensive bourbon, scotch and other whiskey selections that Aaron has collected behind our bar.
Along with adjusting our menu for pairing and to take advantage of the fresh local ingredients available during the tail end of harvest season, Lucas has decided to pare it down significantly. We have not gotten rid of any of the favorites or signature dishes (such as our 16 oz Pork Chop or Fried Chicken) but we have reduced the sheer number of items on our everyday menu.
This decidedly does NOT mean that we will have less food. Lucas’ idea is that with fewer options on the everyday menu it will allow he and the kitchen staff to become more creative with extensive, out of the box specials. Doing things like bringing in whole bison and butchering nose to tail. Maybe we’ll get really wild and bring in something like snake!
I for one am excited to see where he takes it. Come and visit us often to see what we have in store! We celebrate great food, whiskey, and life daily at Block & Larder in Berkeley. From the sounds of it, there will be more surprises than ever coming from our kitchen this fall and winter season.