A recent dinner at Charcoal Restaurant in the Golden Triangle revealed early-spring fiddlehead ferns nestled against a grilled pork rib chop and a preserved lemon risotto stirred with ramps and English peas. But it was the grilled Alamosa striped bass (pictured) with an elegant crawfish bisque, very springy white asparagus, and dill foam that commanded my attention.

This flaky fish, which is sustainably farmed in Alamosa, lent itself to chef Patrik Landberg‘s sophisticated layering of flavors. Searing the skin to crispy imparted extra oomph so the bass wasn’t lost against the rich and velvety crawfish bisque. And although the puddle of soup could have been lapped with a spoon, the judicious portion didn’t overwhelm the asparagus’ delicate astringency or the herbal dill foam. The whole effect was fresh, light, and satisfying—perfect for a warm evening.

Bonus: What I am continually impressed with at Charcoal is the price. Dinner for four—with two appetizers, a bottle of wine, a shared dessert, and tip—came to less than $50 a person.

43 W. Ninth Ave., 303-454-0000

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.