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What do you think the role of a reviewer should be? Reviewers need to be more structured. What kind of restaurants are you reviewing? Pho 78 one week, and then the next week Squeaky Bean? To me, that doesn't make sense and isn't evaluated correctly. It should be the same caliber of restaurants.

Most interesting development on the restaurant scene this year: Seeing Denver grow and chefs and restaurateurs pushing the envelope both in terms of food and decor. Look at Linger, Pinche Taqueria, Squeaky Bean, TAG|RAW BAR and even DIA, which is getting some great independent restaurants, for proof of that. Also: lots of gardens and farms that restaurants are using, and the local food movement, of course.

 

Paul Reilly
Former chef-owner of Encore

Favorite restaurant in town: Il Posto is consistently great. Andrea does a great jobof extracting as much flavor as possible out of every seasonal ingredient in a uniquely Italian style.

What do you think the role of a reviewer should be? Denver deserves better than our last two critics. Be informed; use a professional tone; keep in mind the weight of your words; and write like a periodical critic and not a social media blogger.

Most interesting development on the restaurant scene this year: The advent of the many craft-beer tap rooms is pretty unique. Pretty soon, we really will be the Napa Valley of beers, bringing more national attention to the great things happening in Denver kitchens.

Robin Baron
Udi's

Favorite restaurant in town: Sushi Sasa. The food is clean, healthy, light, delicious, craveable and thoughtful, and I like that there's an evolving menu. I can eat there all the time and not get sick of it and always feel great after I eat. My new favorite is Uncle. The food is delicious, with big flavors that are totally craveable, plus it's unpretentious. The chef has restraint, so while he does great combinations, he doesn't overdo it; they're a fusion of flavors that only a chef truly familiar with both Asian and American cuisine can pull off. There's also an evolving menu, and I bet over the next few years, the menu will mature even more and be out of this world — and it'll also impossible to get a seat there.

What do you think the role of a reviewer should be? Keeping up with new restaurants and trends, including all levels of food and types. I look for new information.

Most interesting development on the restaurant scene this year: Beer gardens. I like what beer does for food, and for me, it really ties in with the food-truck trend — or at least that type of food, where a small kitchen, quick-fire dishes and small bites hit the culinary crave G-spot.

Lon Symensma
ChoLon

Favorite restaurant in town: Fruition is by far my favorite. I admire Alex for being a major catalyst in bringing national attention to Denver's emerging culinary landscape, and I also appreciate the importance he places on cooking with the highest-quality ingredients, much of which comes from his own farm.

What do you think the role of a reviewer should be? The most important quality in a reviewer is maintaining objectivity and steering away from favoritism. A reviewer should also accurately showcase the menu they're tasting while giving an opinion that's honest and provides value to the reader.

Most interesting development on the restaurant scene this year: It's been amazing to see how LoDo has exploded with so many new restaurants in such a short period of time. The sheer volume of openings is extraordinary and exciting, and we're looking forward to seeing how the Union Station project will enable independent businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood to thrive even more.

Jorel Pierce
Euclid Hall

Favorite restaurant in town: Squeaky Bean. I missed it so much when they closed to search for a new location, and now that we have it back, the food is better than ever and it's a real treat — in part, I think, because of the kitchen tools they have now, and because of the fantastic leader Max has become to one of Denver's most elite and skilled kitchen crews. And Johnny hasn't made many mistakes, if any, in the dining room or bar, either. Kudos, gentlemen.

What should the role of a reviewer be? To review restaurants for what they propose to be and how accurately they pull it off. And I'm not a fan of measuring different concepts against each other. You know — apples to apples, and all that jazz.

Most interesting development on the restaurant scene this year: People growing their own stuff. It's crazy to think that anyone has time to farm and cook, but a number of chefs are doing it. It scares me to even imagine trying.

Aniedra Nichols
Elway's Cherry Creek

Favorite restaurant in town: Fruition. It's consistently consistent, beginning with the food all the way down to the details of service.

What should the role of a reviewer be? A reviewer should have a comprehensive knowledge of food and ingredients — and they should know their audience.

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