Best Bites: The Squeaky Bean's Carrot Appetizer

September 21 2012, 10:30 AM

The Squeaky Bean's carrot appetizer reads somewhat obscurely: "variations of carrot, citrus, peanuts, kaffir lime ice cream, and potage de crecy." When the dish arrives, it's plated so beautifully you don't know where to begin, but underneath all of the fussiness lies a delicate soup that sings the praises of the humble vegetable.

To understand the starter, it's best to work it backwards: Chef Max Mackissock uses Atomic RedWhite Satin, and Yellow Pak carrots—all grown on Squeaky Acre, the restaurant's organic farm in Lakewood. Mackissock roasts a portion with lemongrass, kaffir lime, and ginger, while leaving another portion raw for shaving and juicing. He makes a broth by combining carrots stewed their own juice with uncooked carrot juice.

This carrot showcase is punched through with fragrant Thai flavors, most of which come through in the garnishes: Mackissock coats candied peanuts in black lime and sriracha powders (which he crafts by dehydrating and then finely grinding), he adds dollops of lime gel (made by stabilizing lime juice with agar agar), and he includes fruit from finger limes and leaves of mint, opal basil, and cilantro. The most surprisingly element of all is the quenelle of citrusy kaffir lime ice cream that slowly melts into the soup.

Complicated as it may sound, the focus of the dish remains the same throughout: the carrot in all its glory.

1500 Wynkoop St., 303-623-2665