13 May 2016

City o city is staffed by douchebags, but I love it

I have been trying to get in to City, O'City for lunch or brunch for a year (admittedly, I have not been trying that hard), and I finally managed to stake a claim on a bar seat a couple of weeks ago on a weekday at 11am. Seriously, that's all that was available. So, I will start by pointing out that this place is kinda douchey.  It's in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and everyone who works there has this practiced disdainful look as they tell you the wait will be at least 20 minutes. And you can see that half the tables are empty.  If, however, you are willing to slump in a bar stool, you can uncomfortably perch over your food, which on the day I went, was actually the better choice, personality-wise. The very knowledgeable bartendress actually made eye contact and and had pleasant manners, though the music was very loud in that part of the restaurant.  Whatever, the food was amaze balls.

The beers on tap were great, offering a nice variety of everything that is currently trendy (sours, summer lagers, oddly spiced porters) from a number of local breweries. I had the chicken and waffles, which was actually breaded, fried cauliflower and waffles.  It was so perfectly seasoned, and everything on the plate went so well together, that I think it might have been the most carefully composed dish I have ever had. The cauliflower was generously spiced with cumin and the breading was thick and satisfyingly crunchy.  There was a perfect little drizzle of bourbon maple syrup for scraping your waffle and cauliflower through on the way over to dip the whole pile into the chive-sprinkled creme fraiche on the side.  The carrot "bacon" was not terribly flavorful, but it at least provided some visual appeal.  I have seriously had dreams about this meal since I ate it. Look, there it is!:

The old man had the BBQ bowl, which was a thoughtfully arranged heap of a whole bunch of decadent-sounding items that turned out to be surprisingly light and bright in flavor (though quite filling).  Here's everything that was in the bowl: mac & cheese with homemade cashew cheese (you could get real cheese for extra $) BBQ tofu, mustard glazed greens, creamy coleslaw, and fried shallots. Everything about it was delish, but I think we agreed that the greens and the coleslaw were actually the most interesting items in the bowl. It looked something like this:

I have no idea how many years it would take me to find a seat for a weekend brunch, but I can tell you I'm going to succeed or die trying, because there are so many more things on this menu I want to try.  I think City, O'City is particularly remarkable not for the great menu items (which are actually becoming easy to find in super-hip, super-healthy Denver and NoCo), but for the execution. The balance of ingredients and choice of seasonings was just right on everything, and to see that attentiveness to detail in any craft is very exciting.  I hate the games we have to play to get a seat (do I need to be younger? Wear skinnier jeans?), and the whole vibe in there feels a little too in love with itself, but maybe they have a reason to think they shit gold.  Cuz the kitchen staff just might.

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