Restaurant review: Carrie Baird’s “fancy toast” is good. But Bar Dough is so much more than that.

3.5 stars (out of 4)

Carrie Baird didn’t want for “elaborate toast” to become her trademark dish. Following a final-four end on season 15 of “Top Chef” — and two Quickfire wins courtesy of her amped-up bread creations — the plate is now a permanent fixture in the menu at Bar Dough, at which she’s a partner and executive chef.

The dish draws fans from throughout the country looking to taste Baird’s creations in person and watch what imaginative dishes she’s ingestion with now.

Thankfully, all of the attention hasn’t altered the soul of this three-year-old LoHi eatery: a casual neighborhood restaurant and pub serving thoughtful, scratch-made Italian meals together, since Baird puts it, a “Bar Dough twist. ” This can be a place where regulars’ favored dishes, such as the bucatini ($26) and pollo al limone ($26), will probably remain accessible because, well, folks love them.

Bar Dough was opened by the indefatigable restaurant team of Juan Padro, Katie O’Shea Padro, and also fighter Max MacKissock (the trio supporting Señor Bear, Morin, and the upcoming Maine Shack, among others). Baird stepped into the executive chef character last year following stints at nearby restaurants like Brazen and Just Be Kitchen, bringing classic tactics and a sense of pleasure into the bountiful menu of antipasti, house-made pastas, and pastries.

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It’s true, you can go to Bar Dough to your elaborate toast. But you’ll want to stay for the rugged, all-Italian wine record, sharp service, and positive cooking, because even amid the turmoil of Denver’s apparently tireless dining arena, Bar Dough stands out as one of the town ’s finest.

Vibe: Lively. Bar Dough is almost always packed, by the marble-topped pub counter into the communal high-tops into the deep-red banquette seating. The restaurant is current — exposed wood ceilings, open kitchen, wood-fired oven without falling into the domain of trendiness that makes many new places identical from one another. Televisions flash sudden films in white and black, such as Bill Murray’s “The Man Who Knew Too Little” & fresh “Top Chef” occurrences, into a wide-ranging audience that seats fiftysomething girls celebrating a birthday near a couple ski bros wearing flannel shirts and beanies.

Hits: One of the very pleasurable dishes at Bar Dough could be located in the insalata segment: The wood-oven roasted carrots ($14) handles to create Peter Rabbit’s favorite snack an all-star. The oven brings the just-softened orange wedges a sweet flavor, and the carrot juice and cumin vinaigrette, enhanced with shallots and toasted cumin seeds, also adds a subtle spicy sweetness. Tossed with chewy farro, whole chickpeas, and shaved carrots, every bite is a totally composed combination of texture and flavor.

Another prosperous appetizer, or antipasti, since the menu notes, would be the Italian wedding soup ($15). The caramel-hued dark chicken stock — made over the course of 24 hours after which infused with Parmesan rinds for hours more — imparts a French onion soup flavor, giving a luscious foundation for mini pork, pancetta, along with beef throw meatballs, just-past-al dente radiator noodles, carrots, greens, and huge slivers of Grana Padano cheese. It’s a belly-warmer perfect for winter’s arctic temps. (Worth noting: The mushroom risotto, $34, is made employing a similar stock.)

Goats are having a moment online restaurant menus, and Bar Dough’s is no exception. Even undependable diners will locate goat farfalle ($18) a comfortable intro into the protein. Baird and her team butcher a whole, Colorado farm-raised goat once weekly, with it to make a stock and braising each one the meat till it’s unctuous, not gamey (to utilize Baird’s spot-on description). The tomato-based sauce and shredded goat Gouda find their way into each one the chubby farfalles’ crevices, making the dish rich and creamy but not heavy.

Truthfully, you’ll probably be too stuffed for dessert, but there’s always room for a scoop of gelato ($3). Bar Dough’s pleasing flavors (vanilla, pistachio, and salted caramel were available on a current trip ) come from Boulder’s Ice Cream Alchemy.

Oh, did you forget to say that elaborate toast? As expected, that’s pretty great, too. Although the exorbitant cost ($19) for the current topping blend of baked prosciutto, poached pears, grapes, Italian gorgonzola, and cakes (a fun surprise) on crispy-crusted, house-made ciabatta makes it a thing to order once, then proceed to another, better — and more fairly appraised — dishes. (Because pears are almost out of year, expect that this dish to change soon; Baird and team change up menu things rather regularly according to what produce is available.)

Misses: Bar Dough is a fantastic restaurant, but meals occasionally founder under the weight of one or two bungled ingredients.

Among Baird’s favourite pastas is the tagliarini ($28), in which a squid ink tagliarini base is connected with meaty squids and out-of-the-shell mussels. However well-cooked the pasta was, it was badly under-seasoned. The larger issue, though, was a mention of orange zest about the menu which translated to a overpowering citrus flavor that muted everything else in the plate.

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A tender roasted quail ($28), brimming with a cranberry-dotted ciabatta stuffingthat was disappointed by a bland, slender sage polenta that lacked bite and some other flavoring from the herb, even with all the fried leaves around the plate.

The two slots on the menu all benefit from puffy, absolutely charred crusts — made from eight-year-old newcomer — although the hot clam offering ($18) is light onto clams, or really, any briny flavor, and spice, with the house-made chile oil including dirt although not much heat.

Request a staffer which dessert to order, plus they’ll all respond together “the zeppole! ”, four doughnuts created from a ricotta batter that’s folded with walnuts, fried, and then stuffed with vanilla cream cheese ($8). The interiors are soft and the accompanying caramel lick-your-finger great, but maybe not all of doughnuts were created equal: some’d hardly a drop of cream cheese, whereas some basically oozed filling, molten cake-style. With every doughnut nearly the size of a baseball, the portion was much too big.

Drinks: Bar manager Shawn Williams oversees a noteworthy cocktail app that spans a range of spirits and introduces tipplers to fresh ingredients while not straying too far away from the familiar. The current nine-drink lineup will change when the seasons do, thus while it’s still available, arrange the Home Again ($14). You’ll whiff the rye and brandy when the waiter puts the drink down, but the walnut and banana liqueurs give it a smooth finish. Four spritzes (all $9) are also available: classic, lemon-rosemary, grapefruit-basil, and Giffard passion fruit.

The beer selection ($6 to $14) leans toward draft offerings and can be Colorado focused (you can find some European appearances, too) but doesn’t restrict itself into the expected. There’s a IPA from Lafayette’s Odd13 Brewing plus a Belgian ale from Westbound & Down Brewing Company in Idaho Springs. For the indecisive, downtown Denver’s Tivoli Brewing Company crafts a pairs-well-with-anything Bar Dough lager for your restaurant.

Sommelier Chris Boyne’s all-Italian wine app contains something for every taste and every price point. The slightly fruity Schiava from Kellerei Kaltern ($13 for six ounces) is soft enough to pair with the majority of dishes but contains enough body to stand around some of the spicier offerings.

It’s too commendable to observe a good array of choices for nondrinkers, including a variety of Italian cream sodas (all $5) and two mocktails, equally soda-based.

Service: It’s a dance interior Bar Dough, where aproned servers in white tops sidestep and twist between always-full tables. They’re well-versed in every menu item — drinks and eats — and are fast to produce recommendations when requested. This really is friendly, approachable, glistening service as it ought to be.

Bottom Line: Bar Dough is always impressive, showcasing perfect technique and a profound understanding and love of meals without being pretentious. Service is excellent, and while not every dish achieves equal achievement, diners can always expect a fun — and satisfying — meal.

Price: Appetizers and salads ($6 to $19); Pizzas ($12 to $18); Pastas and entrées ($18 to $54); Desserts ($2 to $8); Cocktails ($9 to $14)

Fun Fact: Baird obtained an opportunity at salvation this month on “Last Chance Kitchen& ” “Top Chef’s” accompanying internet series, at which toques vie for the opportunity to come back to the main competition. She nabbed the top spot in the first two episodes of season 16 but, in less fun news, was removed in the third installment ’s breakfast conflict.  

Bar Dough

2227 W. 32d Ave.; 720-668-8506;

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to two 5 and pm to 10 p.m., Sunday; happy hourto 5:30 p.m., daily.

Reservations: Accepted

Parking: Free street parking

Star Rating Guide: Ratings vary from zero to four stars. Zero is bad. 1 star, decent. Two celebrities, great. Three celebrities, very good. Four stars, excellent.

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