First look: Beast + Bottle, Paul Reilly's new Uptown restaurant, opens Saturday night
And Paul's food -- storied, earthy and steeped in consciousness -- is the ideal foil for the surroundings. His menu, divided into small plates, flatbreads (yes, the "fig+pig" makes an appearance), vegetables and large plates, is focused and direct -- there are no fancy superlatives, no eye-rolling names. It's pure, succinct and typed on one single piece of paper that disposes of fanfare, save for simple animal, fish and vegetable ink blots that reside above the seven main dishes.
All of which can be paired with cocktails, wines and beers. Aileen spearheads the wine program, of which the eighteen pours by the glass are also available by the "pot" -- a European term that translates into the equivalent of nearly three glasses -- or by the carafe. "Rather than do a one-size-fits-all-wine-by-the-glass program, we want to make it so that people can pick their style and size," explains Aileen, whose full list is comprised of more than sixty bottles. "I'm really excited about everything that we're doing here, but I think I'm most excited about the carafe program -- it's unique," she adds.
In a few weeks, likely the first week in April, you'll be able to sip wines during brunch, which will be offered daily, except on Monday, when Beast + Bottle is closed. Paul and his cohorts are still toying with the menu, but he and Aileen have what they call sixty free-range "ladies" laying eggs at a local farm in Merino, Colorado -- and those eggs will be front and center on the brunch menu. The hens -- all Rhode Island Reds -- are laying eggs exclusively for Beast + Bottle. "It's a fantastic partnership, and those partnerships with local farmers and purveyors are the hallmark for us," says Aileen.
Today, when I was there for lunch, I bypassed the one dish that had an egg, but I traversed my way through a hefty portion of the menu (the crispy head cheese with charred onion chutney, along with the fluke and English pea souffle were among my favorite dishes), and made my way around the dining room, snapping photos along the way. To get a mouthful of what you can expect when Beast + Bottle opens on Saturday, take a tour through the photos on the following pages.