Carbon Cafe & Bar is an unsuspecting place for a full-fledged cafe, restaurant, AND bar. When arriving to the Platte Street location, you’re met with an inviting front patio and a modern industrial feel from the moment you step foot inside. To be honest, I was a bit confused at first as to whether I was in a sit-down restaurant or order-at-the-counter cafe; it’s actually both! If you are stopping in for a coffee to-go, you can grab it at the counter. If you are looking for a sit down meal like M and I were during one of our usual Sunday brunches, the host will seat you for full service. Although the inside was enticing, we opted to have the entire back patio to ourselves for our Bloody Mary and meal.
What truly brought me into Carbon Cafe & Bar was a crazy picture on their Instagram of ridiculously-garnished Bloodies.. And you better believe they were! You can read full details in my Bloody Mary review below. The food was also astounding, though, and done in a creative and new-age fashion. I ordered the Carnivore Hash, which consists of Aspen Ridge grass-fed steak, poached egg, smashed tots, red pepper hash, pickled onion, and sauteed tomatoes. For a hefty price tag of $15, it was well worth it. Sourdough bread arrived on the side and the flavors complimented each other perfectly. M opted for the Devil Fried Chicken and Waffles, which was also a delicious hit. Who would have thought blueberry jam went so well with fried chicken?!
Side note: Attached to Carbon Cafe & Bar is the Habitat Donut Dispensary, a delicious handcrafted donut shop with sweets and brioches to make your heart melt. M ordered one of the daily specials, which was a donut oozing with Nutella. That’s right kids: a donut with more Nutella than you thought existed in this world.
AT A GLANCE 20/20
Carbon Cafe & Bar’s Bloody came out lookin’ like a hot, fried drink of joy. This cocktail had all the garnishes: two fried tater tots layered on top of a hotdog-filled brioche, bread ‘n’ butter pickle, two pickled jalapenos, red bell pepper, hot pepper, and a carrot. A leafy celery stalk and lemon slice twisted into the cocktail added aesthetic points. The Bloody was bright red and spices were seen throughout.
The garnish was a carnival in a drink.. Starting with the homemade brioche that had a mini hotdog inside! It was a twist on your classic corn dog AND the brioche pastry was baked next door at the Habitat Donut Dispensary. The fried tater tots were pretty much fried shoestring potatoes.. AKA they were way better than a regular tater tot could ever be. The bread ‘n’ butter pickle, pickled jalapenos, red bell pepper, hot pepper, and carrot were the perfect briny ingredients to accompany the fried goodness. Each garnish ingredient tasted phenomenal and was placed in and on top of the Bloody Mary in an artistic way.
Carbon’s Bloody is made with the ever-so-classic Zing Zang mix, a true favorite of many. Zing Zang is personally not my favorite (and I tend to enjoy mixes from scratch), but Carbon Cafe did add Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper, which added smoky hues. Nonetheless, the Bloody was tasty and the black pepper notes really rang through. I got hints of brine throughout each sip as well-- perhaps due to the addition of the briny garnish ingredients. There was definitely a kick in this Bloody and salty goodness as well!
TEXTURE & ACIDITY 19/20
The texture was light and the Bloody tangy. There was little-to-no acidity either.
Carbon’s Bloody is surely unique in its to die for garnish! For only $10, you’re really getting the bang for your buck and an appetizer in a glass. Although Carbon used Zing Zang, the addition of the Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper gave this Bloody a flavor deep in peppery goodness. I would definitely recommend grabbing on these savory cocktails next time you’re in the area! Heck-- I would even make a trip out to eat that mini dog in a brioche pasty.
FINAL SCORE 93/100
Head down to Carbon Cafe & Bar for some delicious brunch and then grab some sweets next door at Habitat Donut Dispensary. Carbon Cafe & Bar is located at:
1553 Platte St #130, Denver, CO 80202