If you happen to find yourself in the heart of downtown Denver, you’re in for a treat – a culinary and musical experience like no other. Back on October 24th, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, an 8000-square-foot gastronomic haven, transformed into the battleground for a Chef Throwdown event that brought together the city’s top culinary talent to raise money for a noble cause.
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox: Where Past Meets Present
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a true gem that combines dining, entertainment, and art in a unique blend. It’s no ordinary restaurant; it’s a gastro brothel that seamlessly intertwines old-world charm with a modern edge. The venue itself pays homage to the building’s intriguing past while embracing the inspiration of Ophelia, the muse.
This multifaceted hotspot is the brainchild of Justin Cucci, the mastermind behind Root Down and Linger. Known for his vegetable-forward, globally-inspired dishes, Cucci brings his culinary talents to Ophelia’s. The menu here is a testament to his commitment to responsibly sourced food, with a delectable selection of flatbread pizzas, small plates, mouthwatering burgers, and shareable charcuterie boards.
A Culinary Extravaganza at Chef Throwdown
The stars of the evening were eight local chefs brought together to battle it out in a live competition, all in the name of charity. Each chef flaunted their culinary artistry, creating dishes that excited tastebuds and showcased their culinary prowess. The competitive spirit was infectious, with the final chef standing set to receive $5,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.
The event kicked off in the early evening with happy hour specials from 5 to 6 PM, giving attendees the chance to whet their appetite with some sips and snacks. As the night went on, the excitement and energy in the room grew palpable. In the thrilling quarterfinals of the competition, we witness the culinary strengths of the contestants. Oakes Trombly from Brutø and James Gnizak from Koko Ni demonstrated their remarkable talents, culminating in a culinary duel that left spectators spellbound. In the end, it was Oakes Trombly from Brutø who emerged victorious, securing a well-deserved win and taking a step closer to the coveted title.
TUE, NOV 28 | ROUND 06
TUE, DEC 05 | FINALE
A Feast for the Senses
The menu is a gastronomic journey of its own, offering dishes that are both inventive and satisfying. Whether you’re a fan of handcrafted cocktails with fresh, local ingredients or prefer kegged cocktails and Colorado craft beers, Ophelia’s has something to satisfy every palate.
The moment we took our seats, the table was set for an exceptional evening, and the menu did not disappoint. Here’s a glimpse into the mouthwatering selections we had the privilege of tasting:
Green Chili Cornbread The meal began with a burst of flavors as we indulged in Green Chili Cornbread. Each bite was a perfect blend of jalapeño’s subtle heat, creamy goat cheese, and the refreshing green tomato marmalade. To top it all off, the whipped honey butter added a hint of sweetness that married beautifully with the other elements.
Cola Braised Pork Belly The Cola Braised Pork Belly was an absolute standout. The Palisade Peach Mostarda contrasted the rich, tender, and slightly salty pork belly. The Mojo Spice and Harissa Honey brought heat and exotic flair to this delectable dish.
Low Country Picnic Board For those who appreciate the joys of sharing, the Low Country Picnic Board is the perfect choice. Speck ham, aged Manchego, blistered shishito peppers, and honey butter created a mouthwatering medley. Accompanied by smoked almonds, green tomato marmalade, and a house-made buttermilk biscuit, it was a delightful assortment that celebrated both savory and sweet notes.
The Fun-Guy Pizza lovers rejoiced as “The Fun-Guy” arrived at the table. This hot and ready pizza featured a perfect balance of flavors. Ricotta cheese added creaminess, while koji mushrooms brought an earthy umami. The garlic-chili crunch, arugula, Parmesan, and sherry agrodolce tied it all together, making it a dish that was both satisfying and rich in depth.
Dessert Delights For dessert, we had the pleasure of indulging in two incredible creations. First, the “Strawberry Shortcake Bar” wowed with its whipped goat cheese mousse, strawberry magic shell, and almond milk crumble. Notably, it’s gluten-free, but you’d never guess it from the taste.
Thicc Mint Sammy Our final sweet treat was the “Thicc Mint Sammy.” Mint chip ice cream, dark chocolate ganache, and Oreo cookies combined to create a dessert that was not just delicious but also a testament to the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Each cocktail at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is more than just a drink; it’s a work of art, an embodiment of creativity, and a sensory journey. Here’s a glimpse into the delightful concoctions we had the pleasure of savoring:
“French Kiss” This elegant drink is perfect for those seeking a touch of effervescence and a hint of floral sophistication. The butterfly pea flower infusion lends it a mesmerizing hue, while the lavender and lemon add layers of complexity that are beautifully complemented by the bubbles.
“Hawaii 5-OH!” For those yearning for a taste of the tropics or an affinity for classic tiki cocktails, “Hawaii 5-OH!” is a revelation. The blend of rum, cacao, blue curacao, pineapple, and lime creates a tropical paradise in a glass, brimming with exotic flavors and a touch of escapism.
“Peep Show” Refreshing and invigorating, “Peep Show” combines the smoky allure of Espadin Mezcal with the zing of black pepper honey, the brightness of grapefruit, and a zesty splash of lime. The soda adds a fizzy kick, making it a must-try for margarita and Mezcal enthusiasts.
“Burlesque” “Burlesque” is a unique creation that may surprise the palate. Blanco tequila takes the stage, complemented by the sweet juiciness of melon and the zing of lime. The addition of sage adds an herbal twist to this cocktail, creating a unique flavor profile that’s perfect for those who appreciate lime and melon-infused libations.
An Experience to Remember
Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox and events like the Chef Throwdown are not just about food and music; they are about creating an unforgettable experience. The boudoir-style décor, the history-rich ambiance, and the commitment to supporting local charities make this establishment a standout in Denver’s vibrant culinary scene. You’re guaranteed impeccable service, incredible food, and a memorable time.