Go Now: The Curtis Club

January 17 2014, 10:30 AM

You know when you find a place and it immediately feels like home? That's how I felt when I first walked through the doors of the Curtis Club. The restaurant, which sits in the former home of the Curtis Street Tavern, will surprise you with its keen eye for design and even keener sense of the culinary arts. 

The modern Western space—reclaimed barn wood, mismatched bar stools, tin ceilings, sparkling chandeliers—is warm, welcoming, and rustic to the point where it would feel at home in Jackson Hole. The gastropub-style food is equally enticing. Chef Eric Johnson, who hails from the Flagstaff House, cooks a menu ranging from soup of the moment (a silky butternut squash the night I was in) and bison Bolognese over almond fettuccine to tender, perfectly cooked rabbit.

Whenever I see rabbit on the menu I order it. That's for two reasons: One, I love the flavor of the mild meat. Two, rabbit is so delicate and lean it's easy to overcook, thus it's a good measure of a kitchen's skills. Johnson does the protein justice by wrapping the loin with house-cured bacon and braising the thigh. The final dish, which is served with caramelized leeks, a creamy parsnip purée, and a touch of sunny preserved lemon, is cozy and well suited to a cold winter's night.

Trendspotting: Though rabbit has punctuated local menus here and there, the protein, according to this article in the Chicago Tribune, is poised to be the next big trend.

Tip: The Curtis Club serves weekday lunch (11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.), dinner (5:30–10 p.m.), happy hour (3:30–6 p.m.), late-night (10 p.m.–midnight), and weekend brunch (10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.). 

2100 Curtis St., 720-420-9898

Follow food editor Amanda M. Faison on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and Pinterest.