Best resurrected restaurant - 2000
When Brasserie Z failed to live up to its potential, owner Kevin Taylor made a smart move: He resurrected longtime favorite Zenith, which had introduced Denver to the joys of Southwestern cooking in the late '80s and finally closed in 1997. Since that time, many savvy diners had clamored for its return, and Taylor finally answered their call. This time, culinary cohort Sean Yontz does the top-toque duties (he's also a managing partner), reprising quite a few Zenith oldies -- the smoked sweet-corn chowder and the ancho-sparked chocolate cake among them. But he's also added some real goodies, a lineup of New American-style specialties such as an ultra-rich lobster ravioli with fried leeks in a decadent champagne butter sauce and a smoked buffalo ribeye with green-tomato salsa. The wine list features some fun choices by the glass, the staff is as efficient as always, and the vibrantly flavored food fits well in Brasserie Z's lusty old interior, which now includes carpeting to muffle the sounds of ecstatic diners welcoming Zenith back.