Linger

When I made the reservation for my husband, D, and I to eat dinner at Linger, I was completely unfamiliar with the type of culinary experience this restaurant offered. I knew that the place had recently opened and was owned by Chef Justin Cucci, the same guy that runs the popular Highlands’ establishment, Root Down. I also knew that the name for the place had been inspired by the buildings slightly disturbing past as a mortuary. But really, what else does one need to know in order to have confidence that the experience will be at the very least an interesting one?

The dining area

Although the restaurant in located in an old mortuary, hence the name Linger (creepy? Nah!), the changes that have been made to the building hardly reflect its past life. Every table has a view of the wonderful Denver cityscape out of the newly installed garage door windows; and when the doors are up, it feels as though the whole restaurant is a covered patio, which is a bit unusual, but really cool.

Linger with a Denver Cityscape view


Also really cool is the adherence to the concept of sustainability. As mentioned on their menu, 75% of the restaurant was constructed and outfitted with recycled, reclaimed and reused materials. They also source 75% of their menu organically and give back to the earth by recycling and composting whenever possible. The latter may not be as apparent as the former, but is just as important. Take note of the reused products in the interior design. Make a game of it and see how many you can find.

Since the menu consists of international street food options and is designed similar to a tapas experience, D and I ordered 5 dishes, each from a different category of the menu, as we knew the portions would not be enormous. Our order went as follows: the Corn and Poblano soup, the Popper “Breakdown”, the Masala Dosa, the Lamb Belly Tangine, and finally the Seasonal Ceviche. We did not specify an order of delivery, so I believe they were entered in the order we listed them, which just happened to be the order they were in on the menu. This fact ultimately bit us in the @ss a bit, as I will mention later on.

The menu on that day


The menu continued

We started with a bowl of the Corn and Poblano soup, which had a bit of Dungeness Crab and Avocado stacked on it. After a quick stir, I was eager to dig and get my first sample. I was NOT disappointed. Scratch that, I was disappointed… that I had to share it! It was so very delicious that D and I both debated whether or not to lick the bowl. It was a shame to let even a fraction of an ounce go to waste, but alas our manners got the better of us and the bowl was sent away with a coating of soup inside, sigh.

Our second dish to be delivered, almost simultaneously with the first, was the Popper “Breakdown” which consisted of “Wok Seared Peppers, Tempura Cheddar Curds & Blood Orange Jalapeno Jam,” from the Americas menu. Although not my favorite item of the five we ordered, it was still very tasty and interesting. The fried cheese curds were a wonderful throwback for me since I originally hail from the frozen north of Minnesota, where cheese curds are king.

The space between our second and third entrée delivery was rather significant. In fact, with the exception of our first two deliveries, all of the dishes were delivered individually and with some time in between. The third item that made it to our table was the Masala Dosa, from the South Asia section of the menu. This was the menu item that came most highly recommended by our vegan waiter. The rice and lentil crepe was crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, just as one might expect. The filling was a potato and pea mixture seasoned with mustard seed and masala sauce. On the side, were two dipping sauces; one, a tamarind and date chutney, the other was a coconut chutney. I preferred the first as it offered more flavor, but dabbing a little of each on your bite was also very good. I did enjoy this entrée, but I again have to admit that it was not my favorite of the five. I can definitely see how a vegan patron might find this toward the top of their dining list though, as it was very flavorful and very good.

Masala Dosa

Our fourth delivery was the Lamb Belly Tangine from the Africa and Middle East section of the menu. There were two triangular pieces of lamb sidled by a Spring Cous Cous with English Peas, Moroccan Olives and a Grilled Apricot, all laid on a helping of Coffee Gastrique.

Lamb Belly Tangine

The Lamb was fatty and tender as it should be, the cous cous enormous, and the apricot slightly carmelized. This was D’s favorite item. I found the lamb difficult to cut because of the crispy ‘crust’ and the apricot to be slightly overwhelming in flavor, but I too truly enjoyed the entire dish. I know when we patron Linger again that this will surely be a menu item in our list of selections if it is still available to order. Which leads me to my one complaint.

We had arrived at Linger for our 8:15 reservation slightly early. We had taken our time looking at the menu and placing our orders, but had likely gotten in our order to the waiter by 8:45 at the latest. He did tell us that each entrée is ordered individually, in order to properly space each item, but he did not mention that they often run out of certain items… even after you’ve ordered it. Thus, our fifth and final entrée, the Seasonal Ceviche, was no longer available by the time he went to go and put it in around 9:45/10:00 PM. This was disappointing. I would have thought that this type of entrée would come closer to the beginning of the meal as it is light and falls on the same menu section as their Goat Cheese and Melon Salad (note: they were out of this item when we arrived), but as we listed it last in our order, it was last to be put in and therefore subject to the possibility of running out; which of course it did. In its place, they recommended the Seared Diver Scallops; an appealing alternative and thus accepted.

The Seared Diver Scallops were served with Indonesian Corn Fritters that were layered in a row with the scallops and looked like a thinner cousin. A line of Pickled Shiitake mushrooms and ginger provided a border between the scallop, fritter line and the Watercress Puree on the other side of the plate. A helping of a leafy green was also present on the plate, although not listed on the menu.

Seared Diver Scallops

This was definitely one of my favorite entrees ordered. The scallops were perfectly cooked with crisp ends and tender interiors; the fritters were delicious and surprising; the mushroom and ginger were of small portion, but large in flavor; and the watercress puree was a wonderfully understated addition to the stronger flavors already mentioned. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone that loves scallops and will surely order it again myself.

At the end, we walked away from our 2 hour plus dining experience feeling full and satisfied. Some quirks are yet to be worked out with the service, but it isn’t often you get to have a chance to eat dinner on an Italian style timeline. Enjoying each dish for itself and not worrying that something will get cold. So, if you like to support businesses that adhere to an ethic of sustainability, while still enjoying the delicious fruits of nature both on your plate and out the large windows, you should not pass up an opportunity to eat at Linger.

Basic Information:

Cuisine: International, Street Food

Restaurant Features: Reservations, Valet

Address/Phone: 2030 W 30th Ave Denver, CO 80211 / (303) 993-3120

Hours:-

Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 5:30 PM – whenever

Happy Hour: Tuesday – Friday 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Website: www.lingerdenver.com

Linger on Urbanspoon

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