DINING REVIEW: The Warehouse is best at night
Details: The Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery
Restaurant Character: An upscale restaurant with a welcoming feel, The Warehouse has some wonderful food that shows careful attention to detail. Lunchtime has hit-or-miss service, but the dinnertime service and food truly shine.
Rating total: 4 out of 5 stars
Food: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Ambiance: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Service: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Address: 25 W. Cimarron Street
Contact: 475-8880, www.thewarehouserestaurant.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
Entrees: lunch $11-$16; dinner $11-$39
Alcohol: full bar
Credit cards: yes
Vegetarian options: yes
What's online as of Feb. 13, 2013:
- 82 percent of 61 voters "liked it" on Urban Spoon
- 4 out of 5 stars based on 39 reviews on Yelp
- Very active on Facebook; search "The Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery"
- One violation for "Mechanical Sanitization" required follow-up after January, 2013 inspection by the El Paso County Health Department
The Warehouse is a charming, inviting space no matter what time of day you visit. The warm wood echoes in the wainscoting, the pillars, the tables and chairs. The brick sides of the bar support a softly glowing, copper counter. The earth-toned walls are accented with brick, and the local artwork in the restaurant brightens the whole space.
The food and the service, however, depend very much on what time of day you visit. Our dinner visits features stellar service and wonderful food. Lunch, though, was another matter.
The service at lunch was lackluster and oddly balanced, seeming to depend on the whim of the hostess-serverWe were rushed to order, and then mostly ignored. While the food came out in a timely manner, getting refills on water or iced tea was nearly impossibly. The food was good, but pricey for the quality.
We started with salads. The San Luis Quinoa Tabouli ($7) is a composed salad. Tender inner leaves of romaine, fresh cucumber wedges and kalamata olives topped with crumbled, briny feta were arranged around a mound of quinoa. Unfortunately, the grain was lacking flavor and the “charred tomatoes” were cherry tomatoes with one grill mark apiece and no smoky flavor. The wilted spinach and white bean salad ($7) was similarly not quite as described. The fresh spinach was lightly wilted, the shaved onions and goat cheese a lovely foil with the crunchy, candied walnuts. But the herb-roasted beets had no herb flavor, and I couldn’t taste any bacon in the bacon vinaigrette.
The wilted spinach and white bean salad ($7) was similarlyoff point. The fresh spinach was lightly wilted and the shaved onions and goat cheese were a lovely foil with the crunchy, candied walnuts. But the herb-roasted beets had no herb flavor, and I couldn’t taste any bacon in the bacon vinaigrette.
We moved on to grilled salmon focaccia ($12), a moist piece of grilled salmon atop a slice of focaccia spread with dilled cream cheese. The fresh greens and roasted red pepper were a nice accent, but the thick, wedge-shaped fried potatoes were justOK. The cannellini and brie gnocchi ($11), on the other hand, was very good. The gnocchi were pan fried so they’re crispy and chewy all at once. The mushrooms, caramelized shallots, brie crème and balsamic reduction all play well together, a savory symphony where no one flavor overwhelms.
Our evening trip was as different as as chalk from cheese. The server was attentive but not intrusive, and the food was mostly magnificent.
Every table gets a basket of warm bread and house-made crackers. (Note to the kitchen: please don’t stick the crackers between the slices of warm bread. While visually appealing, it makes those delicious, salty crackers go limp.) The bread is accompanied by a pool of green-gold olive oil with black pepper, salted butter and wildflower honey butter, which is so delicious and so impossible to stop eating that they should be mass producing it and selling it to go. If I didn’t like my dining companions so much, I would have eaten the entire thing.
The Warehouse Filet Oskar ($34) was amazing. The seared beef tenderloin was cooked perfectly medium, as requested, and tender enough to make the steak knife superfluous. The topping of thin spears of lemon pepper asparagus and briny blue crab had just enough rich, delicious Béarnaise sauce to pull the dish together without venturing into too-rich territory. Another example of this incredible sense of balance was the shellfish and sausage pasta ($30). The shrimp, bay scallops and lobster were mild and sweet. The hickory-smoked bison sausage was robust and spicy. The olives added a salty spark to the luscious saffron-scented lobster crème sauce.
The Redmesa Lamb Shank ($28) is everything lamb hopes to be. After being braised to perfect tenderness, the shank is caramelized on the grill with a Redmesa mole barbecue sauce that accents the rich, deep flavor of the lamb. I loved the cheddar polenta triangles alongside, a simple comfort food held its own against the lamb.
The Macadamia Halibut ($29) was served over the most delicious mushroom risotto I’ve ever tasted, and one that made me realize how far my own skills cooking risotto need to go. The earthy mushrooms in dreamy, creamy risotto was nestled a tender, perfectly-cooked piece of halibut crusted with crushed macadamias. Every mouthful was sweet, tender, creamy and crunchy.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the vegetables on the side. The baby carrots had touch of sweetness without being cloying, but the star of the side show was the sautéed zucchini and yellow squash with quartered tomatillos. That bright, slightly acidic and unexpected flavor took the dish from ho-hum to holy moly.
It’s hard to go wrong with the Dessert Sampler. For $16, you can try any three of their desserts. We opted for Espresso Dark Chocolate Mousse, Black and White Chocolate Pate and Spiced Rum Apples. The dessert platter, a large square slate drizzled with nougat crème anglais and blackberry sauce, was beautiful to behold. The caramelized apples in a crispy pastry were the only disappointment on the platter. The flavors of brown sugar, butter and rum made the tender apple slices sing, but the peel was left on the apples, leaving us feeling like we were chewing on bits of paper. The mousse was properly creamy and rich with warm notes of coffee. The pate combines dark chocolate truffle with white chocolate brownie, accented with crunchy pistachios and a welcome note of salt.
While I’m not rushing back for lunch, I’d have dinner at The Warehouse anytime at all.
OVERSEAS 101â€¨ - 4 starsâ€¨
5166 N. ACADEMY BLVD.; 534-9588
What makes this place such a find? Fast and friendly service coupled with really good food at reasonable prices. The lunch specials start at $5.95, and each entree comes with an egg roll, a cream cheese wonton and soup of your choice. Terrifically fresh food is consistently prepared with tasty sauces that complement, not overwhelm. â€¨DISHES NOT TO MISS: The Sesame Tofu ($7.25), the Fried Squid ($5.95) and The Triple Curry Sauce ($6.50).
COLORADO MOUNTAIN BREWERYâ€¨ - 4 stars
600 S. 21st St.reet; 466-8240, â€¨cmbrew.com
A location recently opened by owners of the Rocky Mountain Brewery, this spot in the Roundhouse features tall ceilings, a warm wood interior with an upscale feel, a second story and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. It’s not just pretty: It offers warm, friendly service and mostly outstanding food with a few small glitches. The wood-fired pizza oven helped produce “what might be the best pizza I’ve ever had.”
DISHES NOT TO MISS: The Truffle Fries ($9), Fish and Chips ($12), Bacon-Wrapped Rocky Mountain Rainbow Trout ($14).
DICKEY’S BARBECUE PITâ€¨ - 3 stars
1466 Garden of the Gods Road;
A Texas-based barbecue chain with fast and friendly service and food that delivers no surprises. With the exception of the ribs, the meat was unpleasantly dry. And the sauces? Just OK. Good barbecue joints are also judged by the quality of their side dishes. Partlow thinks Dickey’s fares a little better here than with their mainstays.
DISHES NOT TO MISS: All sides — the jalapeño beans, coleslaw, baked potato casserole.
JORGE’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT - â€¨3.5 stars
2427 W. Colorado Ave.; 634-9031
After about a half million in renovation costs, Jorge’s sports a colorful and inviting new decor. It is a lively family-run restaurant with great service and a nice selection of traditional Mexican-American dishes. And the house-made tortilla chips? “Fresh, warm and fried on the premises, and with a thick, corny crunch you can’t get from a bag.” A great pairing with the guacamole, which tasted like it had been made moments before it arrived at the table.
DISHES NOT TO MISS: The Shrimp Fajitas ($13.50), The Enchiladas Tejanas ($9.50), the Tacos de Carne Asada ($11.25).
ROCCO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANTâ€¨ - 4.5 stars
3878 Maizeland Road, 574-1426, â€¨roccoscolorado.com
Rocco’s is isa cheerful, inviting, family restaurant with a menu full of Italian-American standards and some surprisingly diverse specials, including the Pan Seared Ostrich ($19.95) and the Grilled Quail and Wild Boar Sausage ($18.95). The brick walls, padded booths and red-checked tablecloths may say “kitsch” to some, but the food tastes like there’s an Italian grandma in the kitchen.
DISHES NOT TO MISS: Italian Hot Beef Sandwich ($8.95) a calzone ($9.95 small
$11.50 large), The Zuppa di Clams ($17).