The Populist, the new hipster restaurant in the RiNo neighborhood, received two out of four stars from the Denver Post in this week's review. The newspaper's critic, William Porter, found the cozy room and engaging staff to be a promising beginning to the dining experience, a positive start that continued as Porter sampled the Populist's variation on an Old Fashioned cocktail. Porter found the chicken liver mousse to be tasty but ill-paired with the chocolate that accompanies this small plate. The bacon jam with a poached egg seemed to be a clever dish while the carrots three ways disappointed with the pureed variation highlighting strong bitter notes.
Porter had mixed reviews on some of the main courses but he seemed to hands-down like the beef cheek and was perplexed by the idea of deconstruction a Cuban sandwich, something the Populist does in its Broken Duck dish. The off-putting $10 "round for the kitchen" item prompted the critic invite the kitchen staff at the Populist to reciprocate with foot rub, if they like his review, of course.
This week, Westword's restaurant critic Gretchen Kurtz took on Cafe Byblos, a Mediterranean restaurant located at 4th and Corona in Denver. The restaurant, which opened last fall and still does not have a liquor license, impressed the critic who enjoyed the well-balanced hummus, the Greek salad, and the soupy bowl of fava beans. Kurtz advised to skip the friend eggplant but to give the kabobs - lamb, beef, or chicken - a try.
The Populist [Photo: Denver Off The Wagon]