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7.8
DEN

Linger

For some reason, it seems like every trendy restaurant in Denver serves up some kind of cuisine "fusion" on its menu. Maybe it's because Richard Sandoval did so well here with Mexico meets sushi (Zengo), or maybe it's all the ethnic diversity in the state (one Asian guy). Either way, Linger brings in the crowds, and it does so with foods from all over the world.

Unless you literally just moved to Denver yesterday, you probably don't need me to give you the full rundown on this well known restaurant. Then again, maybe you did just move here yesterday, so here we go. Welcome to Linger. This place takes fusion so seriously that there's a whole section on the menu dedicated to "Europe and Eurasia." Where exactly is Eurasia? Wasn't that a band?

Linger is the second successful restaurant from the team behind Root Down, and much like its sister restaurant, Linger focuses on natural ingredients and healthy menu options, and both source heavily from Colorado purveyors. But while Root Down is the neighborhood hang, this is the destination restaurant. It's a huge space that's best built for the summer, with big garage door walls that open up to the fresh air, and one of the best rooftops you can find anywhere in town, even despite some new construction obstructions. Not bad for a building that used to be a mortuary.

I don't know of many other restaurants where you can get ceviche, sweet potato fries, a duck bun, and a masala dosa all from the same kitchen, and I certainly don't know of many restaurants that could do that well. But somehow, Linger pulls it off. Sort of. There are a handful of dishes here that are really special, and you have to give them a ton of credit for being unique in their approach and execution. The service is good, they have a solid wine list, and you can eat well here and not spend a ton of money. But there are also enough misses on the menu that you've gotta stay on your toes and know what to order. We'll help you out in the Food Rundown below, but go in knowing that brunch is probably better than dinner, and either way you're going to have to do some sampling to figure out what you like and what you don't. Oh, and if it's not snowing or raining Peyton Manning touchdowns, make sure to sit on the roof.

Food Rundown

Hangover Ramen
Whether or not you had a big night last night, if you find yourself at brunch at Linger, you should find yourself with a bowl of ramen in front of you. What makes it good for a a hangover? Not much other than that it's ramen. And that's what makes it great.

Crab Cake Benedict
You can't really go wrong with any of the benedicts on this menu, but your favorite is the crab cake version with Old Bay hollandaise. Do it.

Sesame BBQ Tacos
These are a staple from the menu at Linger, and they're fantastic. The beef is actually a kobe short rib, which seems a bit unnecessary, but then you realize maybe it's not, because it tastes so damn good.

Oaxacan Tamale
We've always had a hard time eating an upscale tamale. Tamales are meant to be eaten from a cart off a paper plate, not from a dish that's shaped like a scalene triangle. And no, I don't want goat cheese or swiss chard on them either.

Mongolian BBQ Duck Bun
Steamed buns are steaming across the country, and it feels like everyone's getting in on the action. How long before Outback has a Bloomin' Onion Bun*? This duck bun at Linger is too dry and needs some kind of delicious sauce on it. *Patent pending.

Mu Shu Chicken Bun
Like the Mu Shu Chinese takeout chicken, in bun form. Take that Bloomin' Onion Bun. This is one incredible food creation.

Crispy Cheese & Roasted Shoshito Peppers
A big bowl of shoshito peppers and cheese curds with a side of orange-habanero jam. It’s a fine thing to share with the table, but you won’t be freaking out over this.

Honey-Sriracha Duck Wings
Did you read the description? Good, then my work here is done. You want these.

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