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Best New Restaurant Denver 2014 - Lower48 Kitchen

Lower48 Kitchen

Lower48 Kitchen

2020 Lawrence Street

Denver, CO 80205


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Readers' Choice: Old Major

In a year that saw hundreds of openings, Denver's restaurant scene at times felt like short-track speed skating. But even with so many strong contenders, only one could take home the gold, and Lower48 Kitchen crossed the line first in the areas that matter most: service, creativity, plating, decor and, of course, food that you can't stop thinking about. Launched by a team of Frasca Food and Wine alums, with Mario Nocifera ensuring a gracious night on the town and Alex Figura acting as kitchen wizard-in-chief, Lower48 has turned a forgotten corner of the Ballpark neighborhood into a dining destination. Nowhere does Figura's creativity shine more than in the small bites, listed under the heading of "each": perhaps a melted Gruyère crisp slicked with sunflower-seed butter, feta and greens; a stack of dried celery root and house-smoked cheese; or a beignet filled with whipped tarragon. These tongue-ticklers are best combined en masse as an appetizer, then rounded out with one or two artistic small plates, such as charred octopus with lamb bacon or a stack of mushroom crepes. While the space is large enough to accommodate groups, with a private dining area behind a rolling door fashioned from a shipping container and a separate lounge called Service Bar, it's just as fun to come with a friend and sit at the chef's counter to watch the magic unfold.

My Voice Nation Help

The food was exceptional. The atmosphere was surreal (it's half a block from one of CO largest homeless shelters). I enjoyed sharing the experience of sitting at the chef's table with my God-son very much! But the hostess was awful, truly awful! Had I not been with out of town guests, I would have walked out with-out a glance back based solely her rude and pretentious remarks s we were being sat. The owner may want to reconsider this choice in staffing. I was "asked" if my god-son "got to make all  my decisions?" when simply asking for his opinion! I could understand something being said if a child was disruptive or unpleasant; but I assure you, this child is the very essence of good manners themselves! As good as the menu is, unless something is done about the unwelcoming attitude of the person hired to greet you, I would recommend looking elsewhere. My daughter works in the restaurant business, but I can tell you, there is a difference between having a bad day and just being a nasty judgmental snob.