You might not expect an amazing Caesar salad at a brew pub. But meet Mike Sims, new sous chef at the recently reopened Brewer's Republic Taphouse, 112 N. Nevada Ave., and lead line cook at Cerberus Brewing Co..

The new Brewer's Republic menu doesn't have your average bar food. The chefs have gone decidedly upscale. And why not? The culinary force of Mark LeFebvre, executive chef for both eateries, ensures that his way with fresh and unusual ingredients shines. And he's made a good hire with Sims, who executes dishes with precision.

Let's take a closer look at that salad. For $10, you get a nice portion of romaine with tangy Caesar dressing and just the right hint of anchovies. Garnishes include Grana Padano, focaccia croutons, fried crispy capers and cured egg-yolk crumbles. Never heard of cured egg yolk? Sims filled me in.

"Fresh egg yolks are cured in a mixture of salt and sugar for five days," he said. "Then they are gently washed and baked for several hours."

The bright yellow yolks are grated over the salad, giving it a sweet and salty accent. I added confit chicken ($5) to make the salad a delicious entrée. Again, when was the last time you found confit anything on a menu, much less a pub menu? This classic dish from Gascony, France, uses an ancient way to preserve meat by salting and slowly cooking it in its own fat. Sims shredded the silky textured meat, slightly heated it and arranged it on the salad. The chicken was moist, with a slightly smoky flavor and buttery rich texture. What a treat to dine where so much detail and culinary technique goes into the preparation of a simple dish.

If you've loved the lamb sliders at Cerberus, you'll be happy to know the recipe is at Brewer's Republic as meatballs. It's another meat choice for salads. They also can be enjoyed as an appetizer or in a sub. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Details: 633-2105, tinyurl.com/ybv5sdp6.

   

Coffee, chocolate, ice cream

David and Laura Thomason, owners of Pikes Peak Chocolate and Ice Cream and Red Dog Coffee and Cafe in Manitou Springs, are expanding their business to the Cheyenne Mountain area.

"We've found a great spot in the shopping center near the Hatch Cover," David said. "Our daughter, Danielle, with a degree in business, is going to run this shop. We're very excited. She will be the fifth generation of entrepreneurs in our family."

Red Rabbit Cafe and Ice Cream will open in late March at 124 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., the former Ski Barista coffee shop and cafe.

"We're bringing everything we have in Manitou to this shop," David said. "Our chocolate, Josh & John's ice cream, the baked goods we make in Manitou and a little more upscale menu."

Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Details: 661-4418, tinyurl.com/y7zhr8fr.

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Send tips about restaurant openings, closings and specials to teresa.farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter: @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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