Corner House, which opened in the RiverClay Lofts in Jefferson Park in January, is appropriately named. Walk inside the small, triangular space and you’ll face a counter with stools. Look to the left and you’ll see a small bar area with high-top tables and window-ledge seating. Look to the right and you’ll see a smattering of two- and four-top tables. The compact space, which makes heavy use of reclaimed wood and metal, has a modern, rustic, and unassuming feel, which makes chef Matt Selby‘s thoughtful menu that much more surprising.

On a recent visit I sampled each section of the menu, starting with a ham and cheese plate (which included a sharp cheddar sauce perfect for bread dipping), moved on to the delicately grilled avocado salad, and finally, the succulent chile-braised short rib served with sweet cubes of butternut squash and a rich, smoky salsa roja.

My favorite dish, the most fun and surprising on the menu, was the PMP (pictured), a shot glass filled with rich port and topped with a blanket of prosciutto and thinly sliced manchego. I loved folding the meat and cheese together and dipping it inside the port. The combination of sweet and salty proved the perfect way to launch the meal.

My main complaint, and it’s not insignificant, is that I’m not sure whether Corner House wants to be known as a hangout spot or a quality restaurant. At 8 p.m. on a Sunday night, when we were far from finishing our meal, a movie screen descended on the back wall of the dining room, the lights dimmed, and a collection of video clips—which I tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore—began playing. Instead of lingering over dessert, the noise and distraction caused us to pack up and leave quickly. A little warning would have been nice. (That said, I’ve since learned that Corner House screens a flick each Sunday night. Pineapple Express is this week’s movie.)

Tip: Go during the day and order the short rib chilaquiles. Crispy, rich, and messy, this dish is brunch at its best—even at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday.

2240 Clay St., 720-287-1895

—Photo by Jennifer Olsen