Argyll goes gastropubbin'

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Mark Manger
It worried me that Argyll is located in a subterranean address in Cherry Creek -- which seems to almost always doom any restaurant to a slow, lingering death. It worried me that this particular subterranean address used to be the home of the Squealing Pig: a terrible excuse for an Irish pub that survived for years longer than it should've because, apparently, there was a big call in the Creek for a place where bitter, drunk yuppies could eat potatoes in a basement. It worried me that owner Robert Thompson used to own (along with his then-wife, Leigh Jones, who currently owns another gastropub in town) the best restaurant in the city of Denver (Brasserie Rouge) and had in his employ one of the city's best chefs (John Broening), but then fucked it all up, went straight bat-shit crazy and then disappeared for years before coming back as a very vocal, controversial and impassioned (read: double bat-shit crazy) defender of gastropubbery and Scottish cuisine. It worried me that Argyll was shaping up into some stereotypical perfect storm of suck: a poorly chosen concept in a bad location, fraught with the ghosts of past failures, run by a young and untested chef cooking a razor's edge menu full of gastriques, purees, aiolis, pickles and quotation marks, and overseen by a hinky owner with an unpleasant history. The whole thing just screamed meltdown and I wanted nothing more than to stay clear of the blast radius.

And then Laura and I stepped inside Argyll for the first time -- expecting the worst.

Three hours later, we walked out again.

Check out this week's review to find out what happened in the intervening hours. I think you'll be surprised. I know I was.

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