Round two with Josh Monopoli, chef de cuisine of Black Cat & Bramble & Hare
Part one of my interview with Josh Monopoli, chef de cuisine of Black Cat and Bramble & Hare, ran yesterday; this is part two.
Favorite restaurant in America: Next, in Chicago. I haven't eaten there yet, and the concept isn't really feasible for, well, just about anybody. But the idea of changing not only the menu, but also the complete theme/decor/ambience of an entire restaurant every few months, with perfectly executed food and service, is really cool.
Favorite cheap eat in Denver/Boulder: Biker Jim's in Denver for his rattlesnake hot dogs and tahini-roasted cauliflower. That shit's bangin'. Snarf's is also my favorite sandwich shop in Boulder. Good, good stuff.
Most memorable meal you've ever had: My going-away dinner at Shoya Izakaya in Atlanta resulted in the best, most amazing marinated garlic I've ever had, and chicken-heart skewers that were...oh, my God. I don't even know how to describe those. And then there was the monkfish liver...oh, my God. Either it was that good, or I had a lot of sake that night. Most likely it was both.
If you only had 24 hours in Denver/Boulder, where would you eat? I'd start with a Monte Cristo for breakfast at Tangerine, then I'd go to Centro for some chipotle and goat cheese avocado salsa -- goddamn, that shit is bangin' -- and a couple of tacos, and then I'd shoot up to Lyons Fork for some truffled French fries (it's the only time I'll ever eat anything truffled, because they're just so good). I'd head back to Boulder and stop in at Riff's, because I love that shit, then I'd hop on the bus down to Denver, because at this point I'm not going to be able to drive, and stop in at Euclid Hall for some cheese curds, bone marrow and crispy pig's ears, while washing it all down with a coffee-and-stout cocktail. And then I'd walk into Linger for, well, a little bit of everything. And it's not for food, but before heading back to Boulder, I'd stop in at the 1UP to play some Mortal Kombat and drink a couple of pints. To end the day, I'd go back to Black Cat and Bramble & Hare to eat a bowl of pudding and a chocolate marquis and drink some Leopold Bros. amaro.
What you'd like to see more of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Dietary restrictions. I worked in Atlanta for seven years, where people ate everything, but in the past year in Boulder, I've had more gluten-free/dairy-free (butter's okay, though)/no nightshade/allium allergy (come on, an onion allergy? Just say you don't want bad breath) requests than in those seven years combined. And pork is not a red meat...I'm just sayin'.
What you'd like to see less of in Denver/Boulder from a culinary standpoint: Copycats. You see a lot of the same styles and dishes going on in a lot of different places -- some of which are within close proximity of each other. I'm not saying I create completely original dishes left and right, but at least I'm trying.