Desmond Bar & Grill
2230 Oneida St., Denver
Desmond is an amazing neighborhood spot. Located in Park Hill, step into this casual spot and see a huge bar, open kitchen, and one huge room for dining. The décor is simple with wood, concrete, a big fireplace, and simple settings on the tables. Owner/chef Sean Kelly has amazed Denver diners for years and comes out of semi-retirement to create a small plate menu that brings new meaning to great food. Start with antipasto, Moroccan orange and date salad, hummus with grilled flatbread, and mascarpone polenta with mushroom. The pork pâté with fried peppers, baba ghanoush, and fennel stewed mussels are outrageous. So is the French onion and chevre tart, the cheeseburger, potted salmon, and falafel salad with tahini. Each dish is full of delicious flavors and taste with beautiful presentations. Dessert brings decadent desserts that include mascarpone-stuffed dates, gateau chocolate cake, fruit cobblers, and occasionally Sean’s famous chocolate pudding. Simply said, Desmond is everything a restaurant should be, and the perfect place for wonderful food and fun. Welcome to the hood, welcome back Sean, and Denver welcomes a real winner.
1644 Platte St., Denver
The team behind RiNo’s Acorn and Boulder’s OAK at Fourteenth, Steve Redzikowski and Bryan Dayton, bring a new concept, Brider (pronounced bree-day). A rotisserie-centric fast casual restaurant, Brider serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the Nichols Building, also home to a second location of Galvanize, the space is contemporary with a décor that includes lots of wood including table tops, community seating, several tables for dining, and colors of gray and green. The main attraction is an awesome rotisserie oven imported from France where the meats are prepared. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are the lunch features. Rotisserie chicken with thick tortilla soup, several salads such as sweet potato and avocado, beet, shaved Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and kale bring many choices. Cajun spiced shrimp sandwich, falafel sandwich, rotisserie chicken banh mi, a divine French dip, porchetta sandwich, lamb, and an awesome meatball sandwich round out the list. At dinner add rotisserie half chicken with four selections of sides and toppings. The same options are offered with the porchetta, and rotisserie lamb leg entrees. Don’t miss the fired meatballs with polenta. The wine and beer list is short and sweet, and servers are delightful. Brider brings a new and exciting concept under these amazing operators.
Royal Rooster, at Old Major
3316 Tejon St., Denver
In the bar area of Old Major, one of Denver’s popular spots, Justin Brunson brings Royal Rooster where you will find lunch served weekdays. The space is the bar area with additional seating along the walls. It’s open and bright with huge windows and a great selection of whiskeys on the wall to create the background. The menu is really simple, but really good. It’s deboned, breaded chicken thighs, crisply fried, and piled on a delicious squishy bun. You can get your chicken—classic, spicy, French, Korean, or as a topping on the Caesar salad. Sides are fries or Caesar, and there are some drinks, beer, and wine offered. That’s it. The different fillings are great with spicy mayonnaise, kimchi, or with ham and Swiss. Guess if you don’t like yummy fun fried chicken for lunch, maybe choose another spot, but for some great food, adventure and fun, head over to Royal Rooster.
Del Frisco’s Grille
100 St. Paul, #140, Denver
The latest rage in Cherry Creek is Del Frisco’s Grille, a stunning space in in the area. Huge windows, dark gray, stone, wooden floors, great lighting, and walls of wine set the contemporary scene. The space is huge with a large bar area, mobbed with folks that make for perfect people watching. There are two dining rooms with booths and comfortable table seating. The food is American and much simpler than big brother, Del Frisco’s Steakhouse. Start with cheesesteak eggrolls, ahi tacos, an artichoke, deviled eggs, and lollipop chicken wings. Corn bisque, flatbreads and a divine crab cake are more options. There are several salads, both as a course or entrée. Sandwiches bring burgers, a veggie burger, lamb burger, and shaved steak sandwich. Entrees range from parmesan-lemon sole, ahi tuna and salmon to meatloaf, steak, short rib stroganoff, chicken, and pork chop. Delicious desserts include a signature lemon cake, butterscotch pudding, gateau, and more. Lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch make this a happening spot every day. Del Frisco’s Grille is a big hit in the Cherry Creek restaurant scene.
Bacon Social House
2434 W. 44th Ave., Denver
Bacon Social House opens in the popular Sunnyside area and brings a new twist with its concept. The space is great looking. Follow the path to enter the restaurant where great murals cover the walls. Lots of colors from orange to turquoise on the walls and booth fabric throughout, the area is accented by high ceilings that reach the balcony and add to the open feel. It’s brunch and dinner every day with the brunch menu featuring pancakes, egg dishes, fun omelets, and sandwiches that do or do not include bacon. There are even vegetarian and vegan options. Some fun dishes include waffles and chicken, stuffed dates, pumpkin crepes, and Benedict. The dinner menu does serve breakfast at night with fewer choices but there’s more. Appetizers of a bacon board, short rib ravioli, parsnip gnocchi, and hearts of palm chop salad, and beet carpaccio start the fun. Salads are BYO so choose everything from greens, veggies, and cheese, to dressing, fruits, and a protein. Entrees of BBQ ribs, striped bass, pork tenderloin, and carbonara start the many options. The wine and cocktail list is very nice, prices reasonable, and service friendly and efficient. With all the options that Bacon Social offers, this is a sure hit in this super hood.
3000 Zuni St., Denver
Mell’s Cheese brings new fun to an already wildly popular neighborhood. Enter the simple space, nicely done with big windows, lots of wood on floors and walls, and a great focal case with a huge selection of wonderful cheese and meats. The menu is simple, starting with mixed nuts, olives, hummus, baked brie, baked goat cheese and cheese plates to share. Salads bring quinoa kale, caprese, and house, and all contain cheese and delicious dressings. The sandwich list starts with chicken liver banh mi, the grinder, and caprese. A yummy ham and Swiss, a fun PB & J, and a fabulous “ultimate” grilled cheese round out the choices. When they arrive, they appear pretty elementary, but when you take a bite, the tastes and blending of the cheeses make for a great sandwich. All are nicely priced. The menu is all day/all night. Paula Dick is charming and delights the fans, and Mell’s Cheese is a perfect spot for a simple lunch or dinner.
2267 Kearney St., Denver
Enter this enchanting, funky restaurant in the Park Hill area and get ready for a wonderful dining experience. The space has been redone and is much bigger. A great bar, huge kitchen, and several dining spaces start the scene. Terrific barn doors separate a private dining room or space for private parties. Other artsy doors, high chrome ceilings, and mismatched, but interesting tables give Tables a creative look. Amy Vitale and her husband, Dustin Barrett, bring delightful meals to diners searching for a special neighborhood spot to spend the evening. Start with appetizers of tuna tartare, crispy sweetbreads, lump crab cakes, a variety of salads, and soup of the day. Main courses include trout, halibut, and amazing scallops. Grilled New York steak and a marvelous grilled pork chop with green chile and cornbread are worth the trip. Half chicken, always on the menu, changes seasonally, and an exciting vegetarian option is on the list of great meals. Imaginative desserts make the perfect ending. This spot is definitely a favorite in Denver, for good reason. Amy and Dustin wow the fans making Tables your favorite neighborhood restaurant no matter where you live.
D Bar Denver
494 E. 19th Ave., Denver
D Bar is back, and Keegan and Lisa are home again. The new spot is spacious, fun, and delightful. Enter and find the same ocean blue and brown color scheme, big windows, and lots of dining space, as this location is a real restaurant with a great bar, an open kitchen to watch the chefs, and a back kitchen as well. The look is contemporary and stunning. The takeout area is special, with coffee and homemade breakfast rolls along with the other pastries available mornings. D Bar has food for every meal and taste. Start with crispy Brussels, fries, D Bar dates, crispy pork wings, and duck nachos. Soups are terrific, and salads special. Entrees start with grilled tahini salmon salad, pizza salad sandwich, mac and cheese, veggies, shrimp and grits, scallops, and steak and fries. The chicken dishes are the best with buttermilk fried chicken between bacon and maple sugar waffles, and crispy half chicken with Frank’s red hot and maple glaze. The awesome dessert list includes chocolate cake and shake, crème brulee, lava cake, tarts, pies, cookies, and anything sweet and heavenly. Keegan and Lisa make everyone at home with their caring, and the food, both the savory and sweet, brings awesome choices in this terrific spot. D Bar is back, and Denver is thrilled.
2233 Larimer St., Denver
Butcher’s Bistro brings great food, fun, ambience, and affordable prices to LoDo in the Ballpark area. Enter and see a case of great sausage, meats, chicken, and more for sale for home cooks. Move on to the focal bar with beautiful wood and comfortable seating, or take a seat at one of the banquettes covered with great fabric. Wall décor is fun, as it accents the theme of all sorts of meats and poultry. All meats are butchered on premise, and the menu changes accordingly. Start with smoked deviled eggs, flash-baked oyster, oyster shooter, or short rib crostini. Share a sausage sampler, spinach croquettes, or chicken liver pate, pork terrine, and house ham. The Butcher Block shows off the real talent of the chef: Dry aged teres major, flat iron steak, crisp smoked chicken, braised beef shank, duck confit, pork chop, burger, and a cut du jour. Lunch is super with some amazing sandwiches. The staff is extraordinary, prices affordable, and you feel like family. Butcher’s Bistro is a great choice for dining in LoDo.
2907 Huron St., Denver
Located in the newly developing area of Prospect, chef/owner Miki Hashimoto has created a unique and exciting concept. Start with décor, designed to resemble a typical Japanese house; intimate and warm with fabulous decor. High ceilings, a magnificent community table made of ash wood, comfortable seating, and a focal exciting sushi bar that uses the same wood set the scene for diners. The open kitchen and watching the chefs make for a great night. A loft for private dining includes a sake bar. Lighting, color, and every detail are awesome. Miki brings new ideas to the menu, starting with the binco-tan, high heat charcoal grill, resulting in delicious skewers of chicken, asparagus wrapped in bacon, pork, squid, and more. Small plates range from shishito peppers, edamame, gyoza, tataki, divine potstickers, and mushrooms. One of the features is Ramen, where Japanese noodle bowls with pork, chicken, vegetables, and tofu are terrific. Sushi shines as rolls of many favorites and specialties are as beautiful to see as they are perfect to taste. The sake, wine, beer, and drink list is excellent, and knowledgeable servers add to the experience. Tokio is a great addition to the dining scene.
Spruce Tap House
2401 Blake St., Denver
Spruce Tap House is a perfect spot for fun and food near Coors Field and a visit to the RiNo area. It’s a sports bar with 20 beers on tap, a great focal bar, and dining spaces broken up with small areas for the lessening of noise. TVs are throughout but do not overpower. The menu features lots of barbecue. Start with yummy mac and cheese, chicken wings, rib tips, and pickled things, all done in-house. The tomato soup is awesome, and salads and sandwiches delight diners. Smoked meats come with two sides and include chicken leg quarter, pulled pork, divine bison ribs, and spare ribs. The meats are not smothered in sauce as you pick your favorite—bourbon BBQ, Alabama white, spicy mustard, and verde. The coleslaw, mustard potato salad, collard greens, baked beans, and mountain fries complement the food. With good food, super service, and affordable prices, Spruce Tap House is a great choice for the neighborhood, and perfect before a game.
8325 Park Meadows Center Dr., Lone Tree
Set in a freestanding building in Park Meadows complex, this spot brings in the crowd. The restaurant is Mediterranean in feel with an open kitchen, great bar area, private wine and dining rooms, high ceilings, booths done in colorful fabric, and nicely spaced tables. The menu features a standard menu and seasonal additions. The big thing here—nothing has more than 495 calories. Start with flatbreads, cider-glazed grilled chicken skewers, hummus, edamame, stuffed mushrooms, and tuna tartare. There are small salads along with entrée sizes topped with protein. Next come tacos and lettuce wraps, as well as sandwich choices from banh mi to a burger. Entrée options include half chicken, turkey skewer, steak, scallops, trout, salmon, and branzino, along with pastas and vegetarian items. Desserts bring a blue ribbon production with every favorite combo done in small bites. Remember life is short, eat dessert first. It’s big, fun, and delicious, and a great addition to Park Meadows.
Stout Street Local
1400 Stout St., Denver
Stout Street Social is a fun spot and an option for downtown dining, especially if you are attending the DCPA or convention center. In the Embassy Suite hotel, the space is huge and great looking. The focal bar takes up a good part of the restaurant and features a raw bar with oysters and many other options, and sushi is prepared here for those in the mood. The dining space is divided so it seems less cavernous with lots of soft colors, booths, tables, and high tops. Thai calamari, black-eyed pea hummus, crispy Brussels sprouts, and smoked chicken wings are some appetizers. Nachos, fish tacos, salads, and soups come next. Entrees range from burgers to smoked prime rib and grilled half chicken. The wine list is super, and cocktails and beer complement the food. Service is nice, and prices are reasonable. It’s a fun option for dining in Downtown by the theater district.
BIO: Pat Miller, AKA The Gabby Gourmet, hosts The Gabby Gourmet Restaurant Show on KHOW, AM 630 on the dial, every Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm. On air for over 35 years, Pat also writes the very popular Gabby Gourmet Restaurant Guide. The 28th edition, Gabby Gourmet Restaurant Guide 2014, is available throughout the Denver area. Visit www.gabbygourmet.com for more information.
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