Bonny & Read (Colorado Springs, CO)

During my trip to Colorado Springs, I decided to drop in and check out Bonny and Read for some good seafood. Mentioning this fact on Facebook got a fair bit of skpetical feedback of the “Have you looked at a map? Colorado Springs is about as far from the ocean as you can get!” variety. While that’s not quite true (the North American pole of inaccessibility is in Bennett County, South Dakota, several hundred miles further from the oceans), yeah, it’s a bit risky getting seafood more than 700 miles from the nearest ocean. But I wasn’t terribly concerned, because of recommendations.

As I discuss a bit on my Resources page, one of my standard methods of finding good places to eat when traveling involves finding a good place to eat or drink with good staff, and asking the staff there where they eat when they aren’t on the clock. And in this case, the bartenders at both Shame & Regret and Local Relic included Bonny & Read near the top of their dining recommendations. So, on the first night of my last trip to Colorado Springs, when craving a light dinner, armed with this advice I headed off to Bonny & Read.

Named for the famous female pirate duo, Bonny & Read is located in downtown Colorado Springs at the corner of Tejon and Kiowa St, adjacent to the nearby underground Rabbit Hole restaurant (which I plan to review at some point, although I haven’t been there since pre-pandemic times). While the exterior has a lot of the Bonny and Read pirate motif, that actually disappears for most part once you walk through the doors, and a “fine dining” ambiance takes over: large dining booths, large tables, and a large marble bar.

Starting off, I decided to order some oysters. To me, they are one of the better gauges for a seafood place, since, in my experience, they are one of the first seafood items to pick up off tastes, and done correctly there’s very little ability to hide the oyster flavors; a good oyster should have either a tiny dab of fresh mignonette, or a small dollop of lemon and either a horseradish-forward cocktail sauce, or at least some fresh horseradish. Bonny & Read serves up their on a nice bed of crushed ice with all four condiments. The oysters that evening were from Maryland, and the cold chain on them was well-managed: these were flavorful oysters, carefully cleaned and prepped, and the condiments were fresh, bold, and flavorful. If I was hungrier, I probably would have gotten a second order of these.

Next up, I was looking for a lighter dinner, and decided to check out their Ahi Tuna. If I’m not getting tuna in sushi or sashimi form, I really like it seared: cooked just to the point of picking up a 1/8″ thick sear around the edge, leaving the middle soft and red or reddish-pink, and then thin-sliced into tender slivers. That’s how Bonny & Read serves up there Ahi tuna, on a layer of sushi rice over a bed of edamame succotash, topped with fresh greens, and lightly sauced with a habanero-soy sauce that added just a bit of heat. This was perfection: the rice perfectly textures, the tuna seared but not overcooked, warm but not hot, and perfectly sliced. And the edamame and greens and sauce rounded out the dish without burying the flavors of the tuna.

So, the local industry workers didn’t steer me wrong: despite being 700 miles from the ocean, Bonny and Read manages to do a great job sourcing and preparing seafood. Their menu has a nice combination of classics and inventive dishes, and the staff was quite friendly and welcoming.

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