I used to live in Park Hill, when I heard of this little hole-in-the-wall foodie locale I had to go to: Satchel’s. I would peer in from time to time, but it was usually closed when I thought to give it a shot. Before I knew it, Satchel’s closed down completely, and I was left wanting for something I had never even tasted. No sooner had I mourned the loss when I learned that it was merely moving to a more central location. In fact, Satchel’s was finding its new home near my new home–on 6th, near other top notch eateries like Fruition and Table 6.
Just last week, I was able to finally find out what this place was all about. The entrance, just off 6th, was very quaint and welcoming. A diamond criss-crossed, barnyard red wooden door opened into a very simple, poetic kind of setting. The walls were a muted blue, red chairs accompanied the rustic wood tables and simple bulbs or antique light fixtures lit up the space. Some may find it a little too dim, but that’s just how I like it. It had a thoughtul, somber tone that made one feel compelled to move past surface chatter and actually create a moment, a real conversation, to remember.
I sat in my seat of choice: the bar. From here, I can sit back and observe, put my elbows on the table and recede into the background. As I dug into my poached egg that oozed without retraint upon my asparagus with ricotta, I noticed that, well, something was that something was just a teensy bit off. The food so far was incredible, so it was hardly that. No… It was, well, something I couldn’t yet put my finger on. The music was a perfect mix of Sinatra, swing and contemporary singer/songwriter. The waitress was incredibly friendly.
And then someone laughed.
And others followed suit. The acoustics made it so that I had to stop my own sentence, as my boyfriend strained to hear me…two feet away. We got over it quickly, but we immediately recognized that we couldn’t bring his parents here. Hopefully, we thought, they will find a way to better insulate the noise within.
Waiting between courses, I wanted a little something to chew on with my wine: a 2008 Isole and Olena Chianti Classico–a superb Sangiovese, but a grape that demands food with every sip (not the wine to reach for if you are on a diet). They had ‘artisan’ bread, which I am sure was delicous, but that was ‘extra’, which kind of put me off from ordering it. I don’t know why, but I just think bread should always be a given. I mean, if you have it in house, that is. If you don’t make any, then you simply don’t make any.
As we stared off at the hush-toned blue wall, we began to notice there were no paintings. I kind of liked the absence, but I could see how it might become unnerving. Like it was unfinished or something. It forces one to wander with no boundaries, nothing to fixate on, which subconsiously makes one anxious, not to mention blue is an appetite suppressant, as my manfriend pointed out. I had to admit, he had a point. Recalling my favorite spaces for grub, I am personally ravenous in a rustic, Italian setting, complete with reddish brown warm hues.
Our compulsion to pinpoint the details were quickly replaced with effusive compliments to the chef as we savored each bite of our meal. Jonathan had the meatloaf with smoky ketchup and horseradish potatoes while I had the Grouper with squash and hazelnuts. Satchel’s creates some serious, thoughful dishes–food that really pushes cuisine forward. It is balanced, flavorful and exciting! A truly great addition to Denver.
Watching as some other people left, I wondered if it mattered that there was no person to talk to them about their meal, their experience overall. Sometimes, there was not so much as a ‘goodbye’ called out as patrons shuffled to the door. I certainly need no parade or acknowledgment, but those ‘little’ touches can go far when you are trying to establish yourself as a business in a small neighborhood.
We ordered dessert, and I was slightly saddened that they had no ‘stickies’ on the list (or, at least, I did not see any), but again this was soon forgotten when I had a bite of the dense flourless chocolate cake with dark cherries and homemade ice cream. We fought for the last bite and couldn’t have had a more satisfying food experience.
This is not to ‘critique’ so much as to examine how those small things beneath the surface can contribute to the overall impression of a place. I want Satchel’s to make it. I really enjoyed their original take on classic dishes, their creative wine list and their adorable space. Tweeking is part of any business at the beginning. As many know, I rarely say anything negative about the places I eat. I wouldn’t do so with Satchel’s if I didn’t believe in its potential for long-lasting success in the Cherry Creek area. These were just a couple observations.
But go, if you haven’t yet. The food is divine. I will be back in no time without a doubt to continue eating through their interesting menu!