Have you ever had one of those serendipitous moments when you kind of just stumble into a place, only to realize you’ve accidentally discovered something wonderful? That’s a bit like how I found The Squeaky Bean. Well, not exactly. My boyfriend suggested it as we were wandering around downtown after a Great Divide brewery tour, hoping to find somewhere that looked interesting for dinner and continued-drinking.
So, The Squeaky Bean is housed in one of those nondescript downtown buildings that has a vaguely historical feel, but once you step inside, this place has considerably more character. The recessed dining room touts exposed brick walls, a giant Bingo board with various numbers lit up, and metallic chandeliers made from random things like reflective glass or silver spoons. Naturally, we sat at the bar, which was decorated with rows of Mason jars filled colorful, house-made cocktail cherries—oh, and a Farrah Fawcett shrine. Seriously.
Yes, the service was awesome (thanks Nick), and the cocktails were inventive, but honestly, I just want to jump straight to the food.
We started out with the radish appetizer, which came highly recommended by our bartender, and it was simply awesome. I know, I know—RADISH? You mean that root vegetable that randomly appears in salads? First off, the presentation was stunning: like a beautiful garden of various radishes and edible flowers that appeared to be sprouting out of a slice of date bread, which was slathered with a thick layer of creamy, cheese-like Meunier butter. Sweet, spicy and savory all at once—yum.
We also had the carrot appetizer, and again, I was completely blown away by the presentation, the variety of ingredients and the complexity of flavor combinations. (I mean, come on, it even came with kaffir lime ice cream.) I might never look at carrots the same way again.
Aaand for the lamb. I’m salivating just writing about it. This entree was so multi-dimensional that sometimes it was hard to even discern what delicious morsel I was tasting. The lamb sirloin was super tender and perfectly cooked to medium-rare, served over a bed of farro mixed with chick peas and bits of flavorful lardo. (Which, if you’re not familiar with lardo, is basically herb-cured, slightly sweet, creamy FAT.) The whole thing was topped with some kind of champagne grape chutney-like concoction that was rich, dark, jammy, sweet and smoky all at once.
I wish I had saved room for dessert—or cheese! This place even has its own “cheesemonger,” which is kindof like an ice cream man, only with cheese instead of frozen goods. (I laughed when he told me was a cheesemonger, thinking he was joking, but nope—dead serious. He even had his own little cheese cart with an array of fresh varieties.) Alas, I was too full to make it to another course. The meal was definitely pricey (or so I assume—my boyfriend snagged the check without letting me sneak a peek), but the quality of the ingredients, the creativity and the service made it well worth it. I’ll be back.