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What to Eat Now at The Hound in Cherry Creek North

Get some fried chicken and peanut sauce with that beer, y'all

The Hound

Once upon a time, Fifth and St. Paul in Denver’s Cherry Creek North neighborhood was home to the Guinness-pouring Irish Hound. And while beloved of many, it was refreshed in November 2016 with a similar, but newer concept: The Hound {575 Saint Paul, Denver; 303.996.0709}.

Keeping much of the pub feel of its predecessor, the updated Hound is delivering much-needed culinary comforts to the Cherry Creek neighborhood. With a quiet patio shaded by soaring Fifth Street trees; a cozy, booth-studded interior; and dog-centric art, it really is a home away from home.

The Hound bar

The Hound interior

When Executive Chef Ray Clinton—a veteran of Boulder staples like The Med and Blackbelly—scribed the menu, his eye was on the classics, elevated with personal flair and a touch of whimsy. Underscored by freshness and quality, the menu captures a lot of organic, prime ingredients from across the country; standout purveyors include Mary’s Organic, Harris Ranch, Fresh Guys, and the cheese monger right around the corner.

Not surprisingly, the winter opening-day menu was lately in need of a spring refresh. Which is why Clinton took to the menu with a red pen, updating heavy winter sides with spring produce while being sure not to strike any of the now-famed entrées that devotees covet.

To wit, the American-rooted menu will still offer rotating oysters and its inimitable Short Ribs—fork-tender beef married to deep-fried artichokes and an airy parsnip purée—but loyalists will notice some key differences, too. The Kale-Apple Salad is fittingly replaced by the Arugula and Carrot Salad, for example, while the standby Adult Grilled Cheese takes a seasonal backseat to the Tuna Poké Burger.

The Hound's Pan-Seared Scallops

The Hound’s Pan-Seared Scallops

Whatever the season, however, it’s important to sample what makes The Hound shine. The Pan-Seared Scallops, for instance, combine an earthy medley of spring peas with butter-like scallops, edged up with vaguely acidic roasted cherry tomatoes. And the Charred Filet—an indulgent go-to for many—is savory and succulent, but never better than when paired with Clinton’s bone marrow potato croquette and a hint of horseradish au jus. Get it all in one bite and settle in for a tornado of flavor. Crowning the menu since day one, however, is the indisputable king of fried chicken, the Korean Young Fried Chicken. Brined legs, breasts, and thighs dip in the laciest of batters (thanks to the vodka, we’re told), and is best enjoyed first with a squeeze of lemon, then with Clinton’s Asian-inspired peanut sauce. (The chef is king of sauces, we were informed—proved in no small measure by this slurp-worthy side.)

The Hound Salad, which takes its lead from seasonally available produce—and Chef Clinton's inspiration

The Hound Salad, which takes its lead from seasonally available produce—and Chef Clinton’s inspiration

Young Fried Chicken with peanut sauce and lemon

K0rean Young Fried Chicken with peanut sauce and lemon

Then, dessert. Typically, spring sweets lean on berries—and The Hound’s after-dinner selection is no different. Our pick: the Mixed Berry Tart. The crust—not to mention a hint of grapefruit zest—makes this one sing.

Mixed Berry Tart, with a Budino photobombing

Mixed Berry Tart, with a Budino photobombing

Local beers and wines are ever at the ready for pairing, of course, while house cocktails run from classic and simple—à la the Hound Old Fashioned made with Bulleit—to the more springy and inventive Somethin’ Somethin’—a refreshing wash of Hendricks gin, cucumber, tarragon, and Drambuie.

Sadly, we didn’t have the chance to sample brunch wares, but drop by any weekend from 10am-2pm to feast on Biscuits and Gravy, Huevos Rancheros, or a smoked pork-tucked Bánh Mì—alongside bottomless Bloodys or mimosas, of course.

If all of that isn’t enough to inspire a trip into The Hound, this might: Ever a community champion, The Hound is constantly looking for ways to give back to the neighborhood. From fundraisers for schools to event hosting onsite, they’re all about supporting the community that supports them. And is that what a neighborhood haunt should be?

For more information and up-to-date menus, visit thehounddenver.com

Article and Photography by Jeffrey Steen