Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox knocked our socks off last week! The centenarian grit of the exterior, interior fine finishes, sounds from the stage, and delicacies from the chef still reverberate in my mind. Ophelia’s is the newest creation of chef and restaurateur Justin Cucci, who is also known for Linger and Root Down.
Let’s start with the exterior. Located in the heart of Denver, just a couple of blocks down from Coors Field on 20th, Ophelia’s immediately catches your eye. The three-story brick building stands alone. It calls you in like the women housed inside once did. As you’re drawn closer to its windows, you notice the erotica novels delicately draped inside the glass.
Once you step through the doors and climb the stairs, the ceiling lights and radiating bar grab your attention. Murals and eclectic art adorn the walls. But my favorite part of the interior – outside of the view of the stage from the eating area – was the restroom. The antique yardsticks collected from throughout the greater Denver metro area are a superb touch. Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox measured up to all expectations.
The hostess brought Liz and I to our dinner table. I really didn’t know what to expect (or where exactly we would be sitting for the evening). I was pleasantly surprised to be seated stage right with a perfect view of what was about to unfold later. Most of the dining is oriented on the floor immediately above the stage. In other words, you peer down about 25 feet onto the stage while you eat. Not only do you get a perfect view of the band playing that evening, but you get a bird’s-eye view of all the partiers cutting a rug below.
We were seated around 8:30pm and promptly greeted by our waitress. The beer list was good and the wine list better. They also had a cocktail menu. I stuck to beer as Liz sampled her current favorite, the moscato.
Ophelia’s food was well worth the trip. The music and atmosphere were just icing on the cake. We started our meal with the pesto drizzled plantains. If nothing else, you have to order this small plate while you’re there. The dry rub ribs weren’t too shabby either. We finished dinner off with the kale & brussels sprout cobb salad, which was delicious but left us wanting more.
Shortly after 10:00pm, Adam Deitch (Lettuce), Garrett Sayers (The Motet), and Joey Porter (The Motet) electrified the stage. Behind Medeski, Martin, and Wood, these guys were one of the best trios I’ve seen in awhile. They sound off in a jazz, funk, and jam fusion.
Even if you’re in Denver for just a night or two, Ophelia’s should be a destination on your to do list. Many thanks to Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox for a memorable Denver night!