The last decade's collective rejection of trans fats means one thing: Butter is in, and margarine is (thankfully) out. And while most chefs never gave up on the fat, now they're openly touting their silky spreads. Look on menus around town and find carefully crafted, artisanal, European, and compound butters adding flavor to simple slices of bread, as well as complete dishes.
Butter sets the tone at Fruition. Chef Alex Seidel tops his Plugrá (a European-style butter with an especially high butterfat content) with a savory blend of fleur de sel, parsley, thyme, and chives. The butter is perfectly suited to smearing on the Grateful Bread Company's levain or bâtarde. 1313 E. Sixth Ave., 303-831-1962, www.fruitionrestaurant.com
Every week, the kitchen staff takes a new batch of Shamrock Farms AA butter and mixes in bright flavors. The house favorite calls for both orange zest and chipotle—once blended, the combination fires up slices of crusty pane rustico. 1600 W. 33rd Ave., 303-993-4200, www.rootdowndenver.com
Shazz Cafe and Bar
Sourdough and house-crafted butter greet every table at this Highland spot. In the warmer months, the spread comes in flavors like salted toffee and strawberry, but come winter the staple is oxtail—whipped organic butter seasoned with the sauce of red wine- and cherry-stewed beef. 4262 Lowell Blvd., 303-477-1407, www.shazzdenver.com
Chef Olav Peterson hates cold compound butters, which is why he serves Bistro One's tarragon-cayenne butter warm over his steak frites. Bathed in butter, the meaty steak gains body and richness, as well as a hint of heat and licorice. 1294 S. Broadway, 720-974-0602, www.bistroonedenver.com