16th Street Standout: Ambria

July 2012

If you typically steer clear of the 16th Street Mall as a dining destination (too many chain restaurants; not enough creativity), Ambria is reason to rethink your bias. The restaurant, which operates out of the former Ling and Louie space, serves a sure-to-please mix of Mediterranean dishes, including cioppino, duck confit, lobster ravioli, and ceviche, in a space warmed by earth tones, a long bar, and dazzling contemporary light fixtures.

Not in the mood for a heavy meal in the heat, a friend and I recently sampled our way through several small plates, including crispy fried Brussels sprouts (tossed with curry, lemon, and Parmesan), a chilled cauliflower soup, and creamy-rich bone marrow, which we eagerly smeared atop crostini.

Our favorite dish was the rabbit (pictured): tender rabbit morsels served with a frisée and radish salad and topped with crunchy strips of fried jowl (like bacon, only less salty and fatty). The least successful dish was the house-made Burrata. The cheese itself was cool and creamy, and went well with thinly sliced peaches and arugula. But the huge—and superfluous—chunks of tomato were a major distraction.

1201 16th St., Suite. 104, 303-623-8646