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Teaming one of Denver's top sushi masters with a bakery known for circular cakes that bake on a horizontal rod, one thin layer at a time, is either a recipe for weirdness or a stroke of creative genius that takes full advantage of the skills of Sushi Sasa owner and chief knife-wielder Wayne Conwell and baum cake expert Heather Alcott. The place opens at 9 a.m. every morning as a bakery café featuring tarts, macarons and coffee drinks; lunch and dinner showcase Conwell's creative and precise sushi along with other Japanese dishes like soba and udon noodle bowls and, of course, plated desserts, many built around slices of baumkuchen -- a Japanese-German hybrid that requires a special oven (Alcott's is one of only two or three in the U.S.). Denver diners are often leery of café restaurants that try to be too many things at once, but everything that crosses the counter here, as much art as cuisine, demonstrates expertise, quality and sheer fun, ensuring a spot on this list. With a modern, minimalist dining room and sleek sushi bar, the restaurant still pulls off warmth and charm in part because of the confidence and sincerity pouring from the kitchen and bakery.