Best New Restaurant - 2004
Brasserie Rouge - CLOSED
Readers' Choice: Bistro Vendome
When an American christens a place Brasserie Anything, the temptation is always to crank up the Continental ostentation, but Brasserie Rouge -- opened last August in a long-vacant space in the Ice House by not one, but two Americans, Robert and Leigh Thompson, with a kitchen overseen by a third, John Broening -- avoided this pitfall. Wisely, these three skipped over the glitz, the luxe, the fifty-dollar dinner plates, and instead created a place that has the vibe of a comfortable neighborhood spot, of a bistro along the Seine where everyone happens to speak English and you can pay for your coq au vin with American money. It's crowded with bustling servers in short-sleeved white dishwasher's jackets and filled with steam from the line, smoke from the bar, and the good smells of everyone else's dinner. The food, while simple and straightforward, has been as carefully researched and re-created as the copycat grand chandeliers that hang over the dining room. Brasserie Rouge seems to get everything right without even trying -- as if it just happens, every night, like magic. And that's why this restaurant is the best thing to hit the Denver dining scene this year. It's not just the food, not just the space, not just service or the looks or the hype, but everything combined. What matters most about a great meal is what we take with us after the bill is paid, all the little details we'll never forget. And Brasserie Rouge is simply unforgettable.