Here’s the situation: We’ve found our “relationship restaurant”. What’s a relationship restaurant? It’s a place that brings both of your favorite foods to the same table and does it with perfection. Our relationship restaurant is Cafe Prague in Morrison, Colorado.
Cafe Prague’s original home was in Georgetown, Colorado and moved to Morrison about eight years ago. Morrison is such a beautiful and quaint little town that represents everything that is amazing about Colorado. I’m happy our relationship restaurant is in this setting.
We went to Cafe Prague on a Sunday night – reservations are required. The food is classic Czech fare including goulash, sweet-and-sour cabbage, and bread dumplings. A lighter collection of European foods is served when the weather warms in the summer months. But until then, the restaurant is cozy and classy with mural scenes adorning the walls, comfy leather chairs, white table cloths, and world maps for table tops. If you visit Cafe Prague’s website, you can admire the summer patio. We can’t wait to see it in person!
It was Andy’s obsession with goulash that brought us to Cafe Prague. Andy has fond memories of himself wandering the streets of Prague and eating goulash at every opportunity. I’ve tried my hand at goulash and dumplings. I think I did ok – especially on the dumplings part – but Andy is always looking to recreate the magic of Prague’s goulash. That magic was re-created at Cafe Prague and I was along for the ride. Andy says THIS, THIS is EXACTLY like the goulash from Prague. His plate was clean in about 4 minutes. He was thrilled. Now I’ll have to fine tune my Czech goulash. So, if anyone has helpful hints….
So, I said that I was “along for the ride”. That was true…at first. I perused the menu and noticed several duck entrees. I felt a smug expression come over my face. You should know that I am a duck connoisseur. For real. I grew up with mother’s delicious roasted duck with the crunchiest of skin. As an adult, I’ve mastered the art of roasting my own duck to perfection. It’s my favorite. FAVORITE. I’ve sampled the duck at damn-near every restaurant in Denver. I know good duck. It’s cute, the attempts that some restaurants make with their overly fatty (and soggy) skinned creatures they try to pass off as “ducky genius”. Come on. To be fair, it’s not all horrible. There are a few places that get it mostly right but never perfect. I can’t really remember those places – who remembers average, right? My restaurant-duck-eating-world was forever-changed by Cafe Prague. Cafe Prague’s Bohemian Duck is THE BEST duck of all time. All time. All time in the entire universe. I could not take a proper photo without inviting more stares than I’m comfortable with but here’s what I got:
Bohemian duck with cabbage and bread dumplings. The duck was cooked to perfection with a thin veil of fat-trimmed crunchy skin from tip to tail. I could not believe my eyes and my taste buds went into shock. I immediately began raving about it to Andy (who has seen me order duck time and time again only to hear average reviews). He knew this was huge.
The perfect duck and the perfect goulash. It doesn’t get better for us. Our relationship restaurant has been identified.
As if that wasn’t enough, I was introduced to Becherovka which is an herbal bitters flavored with cloves, anise seed, cinnamon, and over 30 other herbs. I think it is typically an after dinner drink. I shy away from overly sweet after dinner drinks. Meh. I loved this! Full of flavor, a touch of sweet, and not crazy strong. I wonder what you can mix it with… I feel like a hot toddy would work well but I haven’t looked into it. Maybe one of you know.
I’m so happy we found this place. What a gem. We’ll be back – frankly, I couldn’t keep Andy away if I wanted to. I urge you to try it. And also, I’d like to hear about your relationship restaurant – got one?
The Green Russell. I linked the name to the restaurant’s website – but WAIT! Dont bother. You won’t be able to see a menu or much else; just a link to reservations via Opentable. The menu does not exist online. How mysterious…or not.
We’ve been trying to “get in” to this place for a couple months now. Never mind that we live in Denver and the whole concept of “getting in” in this town is ridiculous. Not long ago, faux speakeasys started popping up as the cool “new thing”. In case you didn’t know, speakeasy, as defined by wikipedia is: an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the period known as Prohibition (1920–1933, longer in some states). During this time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States.
Green Russell’s rules/mottos (as also printed in the menu that eludes you):
My review of Green Russell is set forth in a “the hype” vs. “the reality” below:
- a secret entrance via a pie shop
- great food
- interesting drinks
- a speakeasy environment (dress of staff, secrecy, etc)
- Prohibition is over, folks. No need for the secrecy. You can own a bar.
Hiding your bar (or in this case, pretending to hide your bar, isn’t really that cool)
- We had multiple servers which was weird.
- The servers were dressed in period clothes – kinda cool
- the bar was unique in decor – that was nice and different
- the caramel apple pie was cold – what!?!? This was not a circumstance where a pie should be served cold.
- In order to keep the volume down (secret speakeasy and all), the bartenders crushed ice, in an insulated bag, against the wall, with a mallet. Okaaay.
- The location was not secret; not even close. Anytime, you display a blinking light with a giant arrow pointing at a door, you’ve lost your “secrecy”
- the menu only contained apps. They were okay, but we were hoping to have dinner options (especially because they tout themselves – via their website – as a restaurant). I would say it is more of a bar with bar food. We had crab cakes, bread and cheese, and duck sliders.
- it was ridiculously expensive for what it was. Anytime you have apps and couple of cocktails, your bill should not be over $100 (again, this is Denver).
- the tables were on top of each other, at least where we were sitting.
- the cocktails were good. They were also unique. Essentially, you could choose between standard wine and beer. Then, specialty cocktails were offered - unique creations as well as an extensive scotch list. I had a “good and good for you” martini. It contained ginger beer, honey, mint, and auchentoshan three wood scotch. Not too shabby.
- bottom line? Save your money. I’d like to try Williams & Graham – the “other” speakeasy. Maybe I’ll change my tune on this new concept.