DENVER
05/02/2011 07:59 pm ET | Updated Jul 02, 2011

Review: Global Indulgence At Chef Troy Guard's TAG

For the adventurous foodie, TAG is the stuff of dreams. There is no true categorization here other than "anything goes" -- and it all goes well.

Self-described as continental social cuisine -- a "culinary journey inspired by the global table" to share with travel companions -- TAG is the creative venture of chef Troy Guard, a James Beard award winner. His upbringing in Hawaii and extensive travels the East and Latin America influences the menu and is evident in the way he infuses an array of flavors into one dish. This is no more evident than in the taco sushi, a small plate option. Charred ahi, sushi rice and li hing mango salsa fill a lightly sweetened mini-taco shell, held upright by thick and creamy guacamole.

The eclectic menu doesn't promote decisiveness at TAG. Luckily, there are plenty of small plates -- or "social beginnings" on the dinner menu -- to indulge multi-sampling. Begin with the Kobe beef sliders, served medium rare with gorgonzola aioli, shallot confit and duck fat french fries. Balance that with the flash seared hiramasu (pictured, left), a lighter dish of yuzu (Japanese citrus), jalapeño, pop rocks, white soy and micro tatsoi. The exotic flavors -- and the continual sizzling of the pop rocks -- call out to you the moment your taste buds experience this unique combo.

The entrees boast as much diversity and clever combining of ingredients. The trio of braised pork tacos brings together Napa cabbage, gala apple salsa, chile pasilla and mole. The miso black cod includes artichoke edamame salsa, Verde Farms pea sprouts and yuzu kabayaki. Even the sushi and sashimi plates get in on the act, evident by the angry volcano roll's addition of jalapeño. And if you opt for the meatloaf, clear your mind of any memories of mom's dish -- TAG's version of this comfort food includes sushi rice, bok choy, kimchi and kalbi sauce.

For a quick, decision-free lunch, find a seat at the bar and order the liquid lunch: a daily menu pick paired with a flavor-complementing cocktail, beer or wine. If you're foregoing the alcohol, order the frothy coconut soda or house made ginger ale -- ideal additions to any meal.

However, if you're up to experiencing the full depth of chef Guard's genius, call ahead 24 hours and order the omakase -- a meal left completely to the chef. If you're willing, you'll be taken "on a culinary journey through all TAG has to offer."

While the skills to create such masterpieces may remain a mystery to the average patron, chef Guard clearly has nothing to hide. With the open-kitchen concept, you can not only watch the kitchen staff in motion while you dine, you can request a seat at one of the many bar stools at the chef's counter, watching the magic in the making.

Reservations can be called in or made online.

TAG Restaurant, 1441 Larimer St.; 303-996-9985