After spending years developing his unique talent on his home island and at school in San Diego, Hawaiian-born Chef Troy Guard went on to cook in world-renowned restaurants in Singapore, New York, and Denver. In 2009 the self-proclaimed Stove Poet fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened TAG Restaurant – a culmination of his diverse culinary experience situated in a cozy space in the Lodo District of downtown Denver. At TAG, Chef Guard draws on his multi-cultural training to serve fresh, local, shareable plates in a comfortable, social atmosphere; he calls it Continental Social Food. With a hip, tattooed young chef and a matchless approach to dining, it was clear that the background music at TAG had to sound equally cool and distinct. Prescriptive Music was thrilled to contribute to Chef Guard’s success and program one of the edgiest vibes ever requested at TAG Restaurant.
Highlighting Chef Guard’s belief that “America is so diverse and our lives have become built around where we eat and who we are eating with,” TAG’s fresh, innovative food is served in a space that encourages interactive dining, with an open kitchen and chef’s counter seats, a small bar, and a warm, inviting atmosphere of brick and black matte furniture. The mouth-watering menu showcases cuisine and influences from Thailand, Japan, China, Singapore, and Korea, accented with Latin American-inspired tacos, salsas and guacamoles. For lunch, sample Kobe beef sliders served with a side of duck fat fries or the charred Ahi sushi tacos and guacamole, while a chill-out mix of light rock, soul, electronic and lounge sets a sonic vibe that feels like sipping iced tea on a porch – only you’re on a porch in Brooklyn and your iced tea is a Long Island. Greats like the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin blend seamlessly with the electronic grooves of the Knife and TM Juke. The menu also boasts a wide selection of wine and specialty cocktails, all hand-crafted using house-made sodas and tonic water. TAG’s mid-day Social Hour serves up small plates and even more innovative cocktails, most notably the ever-changing Mojito of the Day.
Moving on to dinner, the aural atmosphere remains soulful and diverse but rocks a little faster. Tracks ranging in genre from artists like the Cure, La Roux, the Shins, ZZ Top, and Nina Simone keep the casual atmosphere vibrant and inviting like the food, but never upstage Guard’s delicious work. Try the Australian Barramundi with kimchi pear salsa, the Surf ‘N Turf roll and other freshly-prepared sushi, or Omakase, the chef’s choice of TAG’s most tempting tastes of the season. And the great food, drinks and music power through into late-night, when the musical mood gets even more eclectic and up-tempo, allowing for Prescriptive Music’s programmers to express their creative freedom more than with most other clients. Noise rock stars Sleigh Bells and danceable tunes from Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, Fischerspooner, and Gorillaz sprinkle this late night playlist from mid-dinner until closing.
It seems that with an inked chef, a social concept complete with Facebook and Twitter contact information on the menu, and an extremely varied sampling of background music that TAG may be trying to appeal to a younger, edgier crowd. However, the cuisine is refined and original, and the ambiance is casually sophisticated, demonstrating that whatever your age, you are guaranteed to taste (and hear) something different at TAG Restaurant!