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Californication

How Dylan Moore got his groove back at Deluxe.

Another night found me lurking in a back corner, guarding a plate of ravioli in sage brown butter sauce drizzled with a bittersweet balsamic vinegar reduction. The odd-sized ravioli, which came lined up across the plate rather than in a pile, were lumpily stuffed with goat cheese and pumpkin crema so that each bite offered a different ratio of pumpkin to cheese to sage to sauce to whatever, and though the balance of flavors was always different, it was also somehow always right. There's nothing more '80s than garlic mashed potatoes, and Moore had those spuds mounded up beneath a grilled beef filet, presented without fanfare. Even though it was the most expensive dish on the menu, it was still a bargain.

So at Deluxe, you get '80s food at close to '80s prices, cooked by a guy who might as well have been locked away in a time capsule for the last two decades. It's amazing, and tickles that streak of retro renegade in me. Service is the one area where this place occasionally falls flat -- with a lot of posing and mugging for tips by the staff, who often seem totally incapable of the basic mechanics of waitering, like remembering the specials or what it was I'd actually ordered while they were pushing their menu favorites or another top-shelf martini. But I can look past that, if only because the service almost completes the scene, offering a frighteningly accurate depiction of the worst L.A.-waiter stereotypes. There were nights at Deluxe when I was surprised no one tried to slip a copy of his head shot and resumé in with my bill.

Modern living: Deluxe offers a new, improved version 
of classic California.
Mark Manger
Modern living: Deluxe offers a new, improved version of classic California.

Location Info

Map

Deluxe

30 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80203

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Central Denver

Details

30 South Broadway, 303-722-1550. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Oyster shooters: $8
Chinese short ribs: $8
Monsoon dumplings: $6
Rock shrimp: $8
Grilled salmon: $18
Pumpkin ravioli: $15
Grilled swordfish: $19
Beef filet: $25

In the end, a lot of nasty things were done in the name of California Cuisine, and those responsible will pay dearly when they find themselves banging out spinach wraps and vegan salsa for all eternity down on the devil's hot line. But Dylan Moore has nothing to fear. With Deluxe, he's made it easy to love again.

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