Eat & Drink

Second String

Entrées may have menu star power, but often it’s a restaurant’s side dishes (ahem, Mangiamo Pronto!’s garbanzo-celery salad) that keep us coming back for more. In fact, it’s not unusual for us to make whole meals out of sides (small plates!). Next time you visit these eateries, save room for the supporting cast.

December 2012

1 - Charred Corn & Poblano, EDGE Restaurant & Bar

Traditional steak house creamed corn meets backyard barbecue in this side dish. Still-on-the-cob corn is grilled before kernels are sautéed with roasted poblano peppers, garlic, shallots, heavy cream, and condensed milk. The result—served in a miniature cast-iron crock—is a cozy combo of richness, crunch, and slightly fiery bites. 1111 14th St., 303-389-3343, edgerestaurantdenver.com

2 - Cabbage Stack, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

The oft-overlooked cabbage finally gets some credit. Red and white cabbage is skewered, pickled, braised, and grilled before being crowned with a heap of currant vinaigrette. The charred leaves impart a caramelized flavor thanks to being cooked in duck fat, while the vinaigrette adds welcome hints of jammy sweetness. At $3.50, we’ll order two. 1317 14th St., 303-595-4255, euclidhall.com

3 - Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Steuben’s

Comfort and simplicity reign at Steuben’s. Here, Brussels sprouts are trimmed, dropped in the deep fryer for less than a minute, halved, and sprinkled with kosher salt. Despite being fried, the mini, cruciferous vegetables don’t taste heavy or oily; they’re fresh and have the perfect crunch. Plus, with such a generous serving, the side is ideal for sharing. 523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001, steubens.com

4 - Coconut Rice, Phat Thai

White rice is the ubiquitous pairing for most Asian dishes. But at Phat Thai, we’d order the sticky coconut rice all on its own (can you say dessert?). The small serving arrives in a bowl and has a robust sweetness from the coconut milk that isn’t overpowering. The addition of green onions and crunchy, fried shallots adds texture—and another reason to keep eating. 2900 E. Second Ave., 303-388-7428, phatthai.com/denver