“Continental social food,” the slogan of TAG restaurant in Denver, could hardly be more apt. With menu items that extend from sushi tacos with guacamole through meat loaf friended by bokchoy and kimchi, grilled lamb with Bambino watermelon, and Kobe sliders with irresistible duck fat fries, to salmon served in the company of spring ramps, shiitakes, English peas, cured wild boar, Meyer lemon confit and umami butter, comfort food has never been so edgy.
TAG’s barkeeps follow the same fresh, seasonal path trod in the kitchen by chef and owner Troy Guard. Some classics like daiquiris and stingers are delivered straight, but most, like the Kumquat-Jalapeño Mojito, receive a TAG twist. Also, since many of the bar’s concoctions depend on seasonal ingredients, every visit is likely to be greeted with a surprise, and not one not limited to mixed drinks: the Bazi Shot is an energy swallow packing 12 vitamins and 68 minerals, and there’s house-made ginger ale and a TAG-branded coconut soda. The beverage menu matches the lets-give-it-a-shot attitude emanating from the galley.
I never pass anywhere near Denver without a visit to TAG. It’s the only way to find out what happens if, say, the flavors of yuzu, jalapeño and Pop Rocks find their way onto the same plate. Desserts — peanut butter partfait, for example, with caramel, bittersweet chocolate and Nutella marshmallow ice cream — prolong the adventure. Tag has a raw bar and is open for lunch and dinner (social — a.k.a., happy — hour is 2-6 pm). TAG, 1441 Larimer St., Denver CO 303-996-9985.