1475 East 17th Avenue, Uptown, Denver
Bus directions: from Market Street Station, the 20 goes down 17th Avenue
I’ve never eaten at a place quite like D Bar. It’s a tiny restaurant located right next to Strings on Restaurant Row in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood. The interior is modern, with light blue walls contrasting with counters and 5 tables in dark brown. You can face in and watch the owners and other chefs making desserts only a foot or two away, or you can look out the windows onto 17th Avenue and a view that characterizes Uptown for me: a weedy undeveloped lot in front of condos.
In contrast to the simple décor, all the food I’ve had there has been luscious.
Or perhaps I should say dessert, since I’ve had only one non-dessert item: the dressed avocado. That was on my first visit, when I ate two desserts and took two home. The avocado and greens drizzled with nutty-tasting dressing were the perfect beginning to an hour of dessert sampling.
I was impressed that the waitress brewed me a pot of decaf and charged me for only a cup, although I drank three. And I was even more impressed when the owner came out to clean up broken glass with a broom and dustpan.
The oatmeal raisin cookie (my favorite type of cookie) tasted nourishing, not just sweet, and the chocolate truffle was good, although I didn’t love the crust or the garnish. I would have preferred the chocolate by itself.
However, when my husband and I returned a few days later and ordered the “molten chocolate thingy everyone has on their menu,” I did love the garnish, a stained-glass biscuit that formed the crispy top of the molten chocolate cake. The contrast in textures raised that been-there dessert above the average. (I thought the chef called it an “Australian glass biscuit,” but perhaps I misheard.) An added bonus was the chef’s detailed description of exactly which ingredients went into the sauce. She also explained that they build the molten cake out of crumbs left over from the chocolate cakes featured in their case.
If I could eat desserts all day, I’d sit at the counter at D Bar and do just that. I think that as long as the restaurant isn’t too crowded (which it hasn’t been during the late afternoons I’ve eaten there), the staff wouldn’t care if you stayed for a while.
D Bar is also a wine bar, offering red, white, sparkling, and fortified wines by the glass, and joining Tastes Wine Bar and the soon-to-be-open Caveau Wine Bar in making 17th Avenue “Wine Bar Central” in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood (Caveau was supposed to open in the summer of 2008, but D Bar beat them to it). And if you want something more substantial than liquor or sweets, you can do what the elderly couple at the counter did: order Kobe sliders and a salad (or mac and cheese, or a panini). They said they came in once or twice a week for the sliders.
In short, D Bar is a friendly place to be. It can also be an expensive place, if you start ordering wines by the glass, but you can get a meal and a cookie and coffee there for about $15.