Just for kicks, let's start at the end. Chef Martin Rios and his wife and business partner Jennifer began a tradition a few years back that has stuck around: Dessert comes with an embossed spatula. It helps get those last few smears of delectable sauce off the plate. We wanted it for the buckwheat-nut tuile and the ginger and cassis ginger curd that dotted the plate around housemade mint chocolate chip ice cream and a coffee and chocolate ganache ($11). Our main is roasted Colorado lamb lollipop chops served with quinoa, spinach, caramelized celery root and English peas with blackened rosemary reduction ($46). The menu is nothing if not creative, but not just for the sake of whimsy: The dishes are really tasty too. There's a reason Rios has been a James Beard semifinalist or finalist eight times. The most memorable dish of our visit this time was the ricotta cavatelli appetizer ($17), which had us picturing a little Italian grandmother standing over his shoulder. Plated with artistry, the tiger prawns had a pleasing grilled finish without even a hint of being overdone. The cream sauce made with chicken liver butter had a fresh approach with herbs and watercress alongside cured heirloom tomatoes. Sitting down at our patio table was the beginning of a good thing.
526 Galisteo St.,