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6 Things to Try on The Nickel’s New Menu

Spring things and barrel-aged cocktails

If there’s one thing we love, it’s collaboration. No egos, no culinary dictators, just a couple of chefs churning out dishes together. In The Nickel’s case, four chefs jam behind the line: Executive Sous Chefs Sean Stengel and Chip Travelute, Sous Chef Russell Stippich, and chef de Cuisine Alex Jun, with collective backgrounds spanning the likes of Thomas Keller restaurants, Frasca, and Acorn.

Recently,two-year-old The Nickel inside the historic Hotel Teatro {1100 14th Street, Denver; 720.889.2128} launched a new menu with a few dishes that truly stand out in the Denver scene. Here are two drinks and four dishes to try at The Nickel right now.

Manhattan

#icecubeporn

1. Standard Rock Manhattan

The Nickel is NOT joking around when it comes to cocktails, which means you should probably order one, no matter how tempted you are by the well-curated craft beer and wine lists. The bar barrel-ages all of its specialty cocktails for six or more weeks, making for smooth, oaky drinks, all made with premium and often local liquors. This Manhattan is the signature choice with Leopold whiskey, Dolin Rouge vermouth, “Hair of the Dog” bitters, and addictive house brandied cherries. The whole shebang comes in a charming little wooden pen with a pitcher and rocks glass so you can pour the mixture over the spherical ice cube at your leisure.

2. The Seven-Nickel

We’d put down a lot more than seven nickels for this lovely summer cocktail, which is a gin-y take on the French 75, made with Leopold’s gin, lemon juice, prosecco, and a citrus twist. And go global with other cocktails like the Fernet-laced Boss Hog, limoncello-licious Blackberry Cello, and pisco-filled Pomplamoose.

charcuterie

3. A Charcuterie Platter

We love crafting our own platters (be they of sushi, tacos, or charcuterie) with little write-in charts. This is the way at The Nickel, and you’ll have to exercise a great deal of self-restraint with a long tempting list of cured meats, cheese, house pickles, and other accoutrements. Good choices include the delicate finnochietta, zesty rounds of chorizo secco, the luscious Truffle Tremor from Cypress Grove, and creamy La Tur. Spring for the seasonal jam, too, which right now is a Strawberry-Aleppo-Balsamic concoction.

soup

4. Potato Leek Soup

At once nostalgic, comforting, and super creative, this soup should be split among two to three or ordered as your entrée on a cool, rainy summer night. Rich, comforting—it’s all those things, but the real beauty lies in the topping: a housemade plank of “Cheez-It” bisecting your bowl and decorated with crumbled bacon, chives, and edible flowers.

halibut

5. Halibut

Citrus-lovers, unite! This fish dish features a gazillion varieties of it, including pomelos, blood oranges, and a novel crispy tangerine that reminds us of a cross between sea foam candy and citrus-flavored Cheetos. Don’t ask, just try it.

quail

6. Crispy Quail

Love peas as much as we do? Fancy yourself a fried chicken fiend, too? Then you MUST try this springy dish immediately. A whole Texan quail (this is, we’re told, the best place to source the pint-sized poultry) comes breaded and fried to a deep golden brown over the most peas you’ve ever seen in one place. Also, these peas are gigantic and intermingled with creamed spinach, pea shoots, and a buttery lemon vinaigrette that you might consider drinking with your cocktail straw.

BONUS: Black Forest Cake

This is not so much a cake, as a composition of various intense chocolate-y things. If you are a milk chocolate lover or someone with a high-caliber sweet tooth, this dessert may not be for you. It’s moody, it’s all grown up, and it’s not joking around. A cylinder of dense, creamy chocolate comes topped with a tart cherry purée, hunks of intense chocolate cake, and seriously boozy cherries aside a pile of deep, dark crumbles.

By Maya Silver