Feature

10 Totally Insane-Looking Dishes and Drinks in Denver

By Lori Midson  |  February 1, 2016
Credit: Lori Midson

From a seven-pound breakfast burrito to an in-your-face pig's head — royally propped on a sliver platter — we've collected an arsenal of the most outrageous-looking dishes in Denver. Some are downright batty looking; others are stunning. But none of these dishes are simply for show: they all taste good too. Just make sure you have your camera in tow, because, you know, #instagram.

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  • Bat Dog from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs

    Jim Pittenger, aka Biker Jim, was actually contacted by the Colorado Bat Society when the organization got wind that his wacky menu was extolling a bat dog. But while Pittenger's sausage board is definitely batty, that thing he cleverly calls a bat dog is anything but. The sausage — a bacon brat — is topped with squiggles of tomato cream cheese, avocado purée, caramelized onions steeped in Coca-Cola, bacon bits and bacon powder. 100% bat free.

    2148 Larimer St., 720-746-9355; 1601 Mayberry Dr., Highlands Ranch; 720-344-2100

  • Wolf Burger from Crave Real Burgers

    Just about every burger in Crave's cannon of comically large gut-busters is insane, but the Wolf burger takes the prize. Tall as a tower, the swine-centric beast is paved with ketchup and barbecue sauce, heaped with a thick burger patty, ham, bacon, pork, cheese and then topped with fried onion strings. If you're up for an even more diabolical challenge, there's also the Big Bad Wolf — amounting roughly to three Wolf Burgers. Caveat: you've only got 45 minutes to, uh, wolf down all three burgers, otherwise you're billed as loser (and have to pay 30 bucks for the privilege of defeat).

    Multiple locations

  • The Elmer from Denver Biscuit Co.

    It's biscuit or bust at this trio of Southern joints dispensing altitude-high decadence. The sandwiches, piled between two flaky house-baked biscuit halves, are massive, but the Elmer, layered with smoked pulled pork, barbecue sauce, coleslaw, housemade pickles and enough fried onion slivers to put the blooming onion to shame, might just top them all. 

    Multiple locations

  • Veggie Bomb Donut from Habit Doughnut Dispensary

    Habit, where donuts really are daily rituals, recently launched its “Exploded” series of savory brioche donut dishes, including the aptly named Veggie Bomb, a knife-and-fork number with scrambled eggs, grilled onions, peppers, seasonal vegetables and an insane amount of cheese. After one of these, you'll need rehab.

    1553 Platte St.; 720-428-8565

  • Breakfast burrito from Jack-n-Grill

    One look at this behemoth breakfast burrito from Jack-n-Grill and you'll understand why Man v. Food host (and glutton for punishment) Alan Richman barely made a dent. Clocking in at seven pounds, the football-size brute requires a stomach of steel and a palate that favors gobs of potatoes, ham, cheese, eggs and a feisty green chile that, for the weak, requires a brow mop.

    2524 Federal Blvd.; 303-964-9544

  • Pig's head from Rebel

    There's no question: most of the dishes on Denver's most adventurous menu aren't for the weak of heart. Proof? This neatly dressed pig's head. Braised, roasted and then quickly deep-fried, the grinning skull — which yields wonderfully crisp skin and impossibly tender meat — arrives on an ornate silver platter, complete with tongs.

    3763 Wynkoop St.; 303-297-3902

  • Bloody Mary from Stoic & Genuine

    Denver is a Bloody Mary town, and while the classic morning pick-me-up appears on just about every menu in the city, you won't find anything similar to the showstopping concoction at Stoic & Genuine. The housemade mix (a blend of V8, spices, Cholula and sambal), horseradish and Worcestershire sauce is elevated with house-brined pickles, a stick of Castelvetrano olives and, for its crowning glory, a tower of seasoned Mexican shrimp and a crab claw. Talk about bloody good.

    1701 Wynkoop St.; 303-640-3474

  • Sunday Punch from Finn's Manor

    While the rotating punches at Finn's Manor aren't the kind that leave your cheek throbbing, the potent potables might very well leave your head spinning. And this particularly kaleidoscopic beauty really is a one-two-three-four-five punch thanks to its well of ingredients: Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum, Bacardi Superior rum, Plantation "Stiggin's Fancy" pineapple rum, Plantation Original Dark Overproof Rum and Pierre Ferrad Dry Curacao, plus pie spices and a virtual fruit garden, including lemons, pears, tangerines, grapefruit and limes.

    2927 Larimer St.

  • Whole Fish from OTOTO

    Just abut everything at OTOTO is a work of artistic mastery, but it's difficult not to stand in  awe at the sight of the kitchen's whole fish displays. The fish changes nightly — and there's typically more than one option — but the body is always either steamed and scaled with a medley of garlic, cilantro, ginger and ponzu sauce (that preparation, with grouper, is pictured), or dusted with a light sprinkling of cornstarch and served simply with ponzu sauce and a wedge of lemon.

    1501 S. Pearl St.; 303-733-2503

  • S'mores Ice Cream Sandwich from The Inventing Room

    Ian Kleinman — a super-creative nitro-chef — is Denver's answer to a futuristic Willy Wonka. Renowned for his experimental (and delicious) confections, our favorite is this mile-high double chocolate cookie layered with housemade burnt marshmallow and graham cracker ice cream that's been nitro-frozen, a molecular technique that fills the airs with plumes of smoke.

    2020 Lawrence St.; 303-885-2802