So it was with particular happiness that I learned about Yardbird, the next incarnation of Gaia Bistro, newly opened in the former Black Pearl space.
So. Yardbird had a little bit of bad juju to work off.
We had a 7:30 reservation and were seated promptly, on the balcony level. Our server, Marie, was still learning the drinks menu, but cheerfully got back to us on the questions we had about ingredients ("What are Carpano Antica and Averna Amaro?" Answer: Vermouth and sweet bitters).
The menu includes "breakfast all day," with some Gaia classics such as crepes, the stuffed poblano and baked eggs, plus a dinner menu of diner-style classics and comfort foods: meatloaf, shepherd's pie, mac 'n' cheese, shrimp 'n' grits.
For an appetizer we opted for "roasted beets & avocados — local goat cheese salad." That was how it was printed on the menu, with selective bolding, so I was expecting chunks of beets and avocados next to a little salad, maybe. What we got was a fairly substantial salad of mixed greens with cubes of beets, avocados and goat cheese mixed in. Which would have been fine, but it was positively drenched in an overly sweet dressing that made it impossible to taste the featured ingredients' subtle flavors. I would order it again, I think, if I could get a different dressing served on the side.
For our main courses, the Sergeant ordered the vegetable curry and I got the meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes.
I could've skipped dessert, but I wanted to see how their banana cream pie was. Yeah, it was yummy.
As I mentioned before, we were seated on the balcony, which is a little more intimate and can offer an interesting perspective on the diners below.
There's an outdoor area complete with fire pit that will be nice in the summer. (And with a prettier view, I hope, than the tarp-covered windows of the Sushi/Izakaya/Ototo Dens' parking garage. A little bird named Toshi told me once upon a time that a Japanese bakery would be going in there.)
And there's a substantial bar area with a somewhat funky layout. We didn't really get to check it out since we were seated so quickly.
But guess what? We're going back tomorrow for dinner, so we'll make a point of getting there a little early to check out the bar. We want to try some different menu items, too.
Bad juju worked off? It certainly seems that way! Stay tuned.
1529 S. Pearl St.
Denver, CO 80210
Open daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.