Eric Skokan’s new Boulder restaurant offers affordable eats & long hours
This was my Eric Skokan weekend. On Saturday, his Black Cat Farm stand was my first stop at the Boulder County Farmers Market. and on Sunday, I previewed his new restaurant. At the market, I bought some greens plus a baby fennel from Eric, and he added a few sprigs of fresh basil for good measure. Elsewhere, I picked up sweet red peppers, zucchini and summer squash. That evening I chopped and sautéed all but the basil along with onions and garlic that I had in the fridge in olive oil with salt and pepper, served it on penne pasta topped with grated Parmesan and chopped basil. It was good, fresh and simple.
On Sunday, my husband and I were invited to a friends-and-family preview of the Bramble & Hare, Eric’s whimsical and wonderful new restaurant next to and phsyicall connected with his Black Cat Farm to Table Bistro. Bramble & Hare is a really new concept (at least in this area). Restaurant chains have co-opted the word “concept” to describe a theme – something usually copied and re-conceived by a marketing committee, given a catchy name and not really a new idea at all. But Bramble & Hare really is a ground-breaker with its affordable everything-from-the-farm menu and playfully rustic, vintage decorative elements. Touches included linen sacks stuffed with wool from Black Cat Farm’s sheep as banquette backrests, lovely old plates and flatware that don’t match, an old upright piano that someone might play and so forth. Hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next morning, making the Bramble & Hare the too-rare late-night restaurant in town.
But it’s really all about the food that changes daily and is presented on a menu that is a clever cross between a bill of lading and a sushi menu, with three daily specials posted on a chalkboard mounted on the back wall.
My husband and I started with Black Jack porter for him and Höpler white Pinot Blanc from Austria for me. We tried items both from the chalkboard and printed menus, and here’s what we ate.