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Fighting the Good Food Fight

Season's eatings from a year's worth of meals.

FISH

Singapore Grill
7923 South Broadway, Littleton
303-347-1477

The best fish course that I encountered over this past year was really shrimp, heads and all, served tappan style at this bustling Malaysian restaurant. Singapore Grill puts seven huge shrimp on a metal-lined platter and turns up the heat, both on the stove and in the sauce, a sharp, garlicky black-bean mixture teeming with caramelized onions and green peppers. The sauce has a reduced, concentrated quality that calls to mind the finest French techniques, and the pairing of the succulent shrimp meat with syrupy onions makes for some, um, heady eating. Don't forget to suck out the super-sweet skull.

MEAT

Micole
1469 South Pearl Street
303-744-1940

>Micole is one of the few restaurants in town that knows how to cook venison. Chef/ owner Eric Roeder takes medium-thick slices of the deer tenderloin and gently grills them so that they take on a thin, crusty edge of char while remaining buttery soft inside. The key is the cut -- not so thick that the outside gets too done, and not so thin that the inside gets too done -- as well as cooking the meat over high heat, quickly, so that the low-fat flesh doesn't have time to dry out. But even if it did, Roeder's Pommery sauce, made from France's other mustard (in Meaux instead of Dijon, by the Pommery family), offers a rich, zingy way to wet things down.

SIDE

Hilltop Cafe
1518 Washington Street, Golden
303-279-8151

Just thinking about all the garlic mashed potatoes we've consumed this past year whips us into an overfed frenzy. But the Hilltop Cafe, a wonderful eatery in Golden, does something truly different with its spuds. Chef Ian Kleinman whips the potatoes until they're delectably fluffy, then imbues them with the sweet, deep flavor of the love bulb that's been not roasted, not toasted or sautéed, but...candied. The process, which involves boiling the cloves in a simple syrup and then baking them until they're light brown, gives the garlic a mild, slightly sugary quality that prevents it from turning bitter or overpowering. The result is whipped potatoes that are slightly akin to a controlled substance.

DESSERT

Aix
719 East 17th Avenue
303-831-1296

Speaking of things that ought to be illegal, Aix's double-chocolate torte qualifies. All of the most obnoxious modifiers apply: sumptuous, spectacular, stunning, dazzling, heavenly, to-die-for, divine, decadent. Better than sex. Well, maybe. For a marvelous way to end a dream meal, Aix marks the spot. Made to order each time, the double-chocolate torte is a round mound with a pudding-like texture holding in a hot gusher of thick, dark chocolate goo that pours forth the second a fork breaks the chocolate shell.

It's enough to make you swear off Oreos for good.

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