Now that I have your attention, let me introduce a new restaurant, an import from Denver lodged in Downtown East’s Canopy Hotel. It’s called Bacon Social House, and that staple isn’t just for breakfast anymore. America’s favorite sinful indulgence informs nearly every dish on the menu, starting with the cocktail list.
Yes, my Bacon Old Fashioned came garnished with a bacon strip, abetting the bacon bitters in the glass. My companion’s gin and tonic, however, favored a branch of rosemary (“sprig” doesn’t do it justice) and a half-moon of grapefruit. Both tasted mighty good.
So did the menu’s flat-out bestseller, a flight of you-know-what masquerading as a starter ($10, enough for sharing). That’s six bacon strips in six styles: applewood, barbecued, candied, habanero, paleo and French toast. They’re accompanied by a kitchen scissors, enabling all dietary evildoers to snip off a couple of inches of each. It’s fun.
To ensure we wouldn’t be hounded as health-food nuts, we also ordered that lovely side dish called poutine, my favorite Canadian export. Here, a plate of fries comes blanketed with your choice of gravies: a vibrant green-chili number mined with cubes of tender pork and a traditional sausage gravy. Ask nicely and they’ll give you both.
Bypassing other starters (including pork sliders plus a thick-cut slice of bacon for $4) and a quintet of salads ($12–$15 range, featuring a bacon Cobb), we proceeded to the burger list ($15 range) — ours served with slender, sweet potato fries fresh from the fryer and spared of extra grease. This smokehouse burger utilizes Black Angus beef to form a buxom patty atop a straight-arrow bun, upon which rested (of course) more bacon — this time, sweet with applewood smoke. The cast also includes blue cheese, a tomato-based, sweet-tart “smokehouse” sauce, bacon onion jam and errant wisps of arugula, just to throw your doctor off the track.
I chose from the list of house specialties ($12–$24) — meatloaf, salmon, baby backs, steak frites, bacon mac and cheese and (my selection) walleye. The slim, slivery slice of fish proved dry and boring beneath its crust of blue-corn tortilla chips. (Maybe they don’t do walleye in Denver?) It’s accompanied by a perky succotash and modest basil-tarragon sauce.
There’s dessert — two house-made items, but we were already comatose. For the hardy: the bacon-flecked brownie or the bread pudding.
Service is friendly but vacant; we had to try to flag down our waitress several times as she strolled leisurely between empty tables. The decor is as upbeat as the menu, and the bar seating packed-packed-packed.
700 3rd St. S.