Danielle Lirette

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2014

    First Look: Work Options for Women Now Pouring at Cafe United

    Coffee's on at Cafe United, in the new Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change. This is the latest open-to-the-public spot run by Work Options for Women, a local nonprofit that trains at-risk women (and men) for careers in the food-service industry. WOW already runs the cafeteria ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 22, 2014

    Review: Gone Swishin' at Kobe An Shabu Shabu

    Kobe An Shabu Shabu 3400 Osage Street 303-284-6342 Somewhere along the line, cooking became a chore. For reasons best left to food historians and sociologists, the art of feeding ourselves has tumbled in popularity and now hovers just above taking out the trash on the list of most despised househol ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 9, 2014

    Four Appetizers So Good You Could Make a Whole Meal of Them

    Under culinary director John Broening, the menu at Argyll Whisky Beer is full of temptations, from classic to contemporary pub fare. Still, I'm always drawn to the Scotch egg, which is coated with ground sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden. And I find it hard to resist a few other ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2014

    Review: LYFE Kitchen Has Good Intentions, But Needs More

    LYFE Kitchen 8505 Park Meadows Center Drive, Lone Tree 303-706-9100 A meal at LYFE Kitchen isn't just supposed to fill you up; it's supposed to make you feel good. Founded three years ago in California by a pair of former McDonald's executives and an investment banker, this rapidly expanding chain, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2014

    Five Iconic Dishes From Denver Restaurants That Keep Customers Coming Back

    The hazelnut-crusted prawns deserve to be the signature dish at Barolo Grill. Instead, it's the braised duck, which has taken a few turns over the years -- a little balsamic here, some Kalamata olives there -- but remains a top seller. More than that, though, it's a dish that draws people through th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2014

    Review: Barolo Grill Has the White (Tablecloth) Stuff

    Barolo Grill 3030 East Sixth Avenue 303-393-1040 If there was any doubt about the enduring popularity of Barolo Grill, one of Denver's longest-running white-tablecloth establishments, it was erased one night as I stood in front of the hostess stand, waiting for the hostess to finish a phone call be ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2014

    Twenty Favorite Dishes Over 100 Reviews

    I've written a hundred reviews since becoming the restaurant critic at Westword. To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to give a shout-out to the kitchens and teams that have made dining out so memorable over the past two years -- not just for me, but for all of us who appreciate the quality and diver ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 8, 2014

    Photos: The Dishes of DISH

    Need an eye-opener this morning? You might if you'd joined the throngs at DISH, Westword's twentieth anniversary of the Denver dining scene, which yesterday filled Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex with booths featuring signature dishes from forty of our favorite local eateries -- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 3, 2014

    Review: Tiny Bistro Barbès Cooks Up Big Flavors

    Bistro Barbès 5021 East 28th Avenue 720-398-8085 It was early when we arrived at Bistro Barbès, a French-inspired 32-seater that opened this spring in the former home of Pary's on 28th (and, before that, Satchel's Market). Still, it would be another hour before guests outnumbered the good folks m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 2, 2014

    Five Behind-the-Scenes Takes on Being a Restaurant Critic, After 100 Reviews

    When people find out what I do for a living, they always ask two things: 1) What's your favorite restaurant? And 2) What's it like to be a critic? I'll save the answer to the first question for our 31st edition of Best Of Denver next spring. But with one more week to go before my hundredth review, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2014

    Review: Range Brings a Taste of the Mild, Wild West to Downtown Denver

    Range 918 17th Street 720-726-4800 Like the Great American West implied by its name, Range is a place with big ambitions. These are hinted at in the shiny metallic banquettes (gold fever?) and the walnut communal tables sized in anticipation of crowds. They're also implicit in the fact that Range, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2014

    Six Tidbits About Dining in Denver Collected Over 100 Reviews

    Being a restaurant critic is a bit like being a colander. Every time I enter a restaurant, I'm filling myself up, both literally and figuratively, with thoughts about everything from how the sauce tasted to lighting and noise levels to whether or not the server knew his stuff. When it's time to writ ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2014

    Review: Mayan Manjar Yucateco Is a Knockout

    Mayan Manjar Yucateco 5209 West Mississippi Avenue, Lakewood 303-936-5562 The TV was on when I walked into

  • Blogs

    August 11, 2014

    Photos: Lena Is Heating Up Broadway

    Leña opened quietly last week -- so quietly that its phones still weren't hooked up yesterday -- but word-of-mouth is already strong on this restaurant, a concept cooked up by Jimmy Callahan, the owner of Prohibition, and chef Toby Prout. The space on Broadway, a former antique store, was gutted ov ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2014

    Photos: Biker Jim's Opens in Highlands Ranch Today

    Biker Jim's opened its second brick-and-mortar spot, this one in Highlands Ranch, at 11 a.m. today. Although the hours might not be as expansive in suburbia as they are at the original in the Ballpark neighborhood (where Biker Jim's stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends), the menu is just as big...and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 6, 2014

    Review: To the Wind Bistro Is a Breath of Fresh Air on East Colfax

    To the Wind Bistro 3333 East Colfax Avenue 303-316-3333 Professional kitchens are not nice places. Creative, explosive, energetic, yes. Nice? No. You know this if you've worked in one, or if you've read any of the rant-filled memoirs by people who have. In the latest offering in this genre, Sous Ch ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2014

    Review: Is The Kitchen Next Door Glendale the next big thing?

    The Kitchen Next Door Glendale 658 South Colorado Boulevard Boulevard 303-757-0878 You know how forty is the new thirty, and green is the new black? In restaurant terms, The Kitchen Next Door is the new TGI Fridays. If that sounds like a slur rather than a compliment, you're too young to remember ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2014

    Reader: Weekday "brunch" sounds downright silly -- it's foodie bullshit

    We stopped by Session Kitchen this week, and learned that the restaurant has axed its weekday lunches, and now opens at 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, in time for happy hour. Lunch -- or "brunch," as Session called it -- is still available Friday through Sunday. But the neighborhood just didn't pro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 23, 2014

    Review: Kings BBQ is pleased to meat you

    Kings BBQ 4601 Harlan Street, Wheat Ridge When I pulled up in front of Kings BBQ, I thought this might be it. You know, It. The place we've been looking for to raise barbecue in this town to smokin' new heights. And by "we," I mean not just me, a girl who grew up eating fine Oklahoma barbecue, but ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2014

    Review: Guard and Grace looks lovely, but faces some hard realities

    Guard and Grace 1801 California Street 303-293-8500 I knew I'd need a steak knife for dinner at Guard and GraceGuard and Grace, the steakhouse that Troy Guard opened in March in the bottom of 1801 California Street, a newly renovated 54-story building downtown. I just didn't know it would be for d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2014

    Gozo is a real hot spot -- in more ways than one

    Gozo 30 South Broadway 720-638-1462 Denver's restaurant scene is flourishing, which means two things: It's harder than ever to decide where to eat, and just as hard to know what your money will buy once you get there. For a recent review meal at Chai & Chai, the no-frills Indian-Arabian restaura ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2014

    Review: Atticus wants to be a grown-up restaurant, but it's suffered growing pains

    Atticus 1115 East Evans Avenue 720-459-8273 Neighborhood restaurants often remind me of kids. Even when they're noisy and a bit rough around the edges, you still smile at them, knowing the potential within. Atticus is that kind of place. Sure, it might want to be president when it grows up, but for ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 11, 2014

    Review: Olive & Finch was a bright idea, even if this fast-casual is sometimes too casual

    Olive & Finch 1552 East 17th Avenue 303-832-8663 I dropped by Olive & Finch for a salad, and what I got was certainly green. But rather than a jumble of leaves and vegetables on a plate, my order came in a tall, clear cup, a product of this Uptown eatery's juice bar. While I try to eat healthy -- w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 28, 2014

    Review: Work & Class delivers a square meal -- and an aha moment -- for a fair price

    Work & Class 2500 Larimer Street 303-292-0700 If I were Scheherazade spinning tales to save my life before a disgruntled king, I'd look to Work & Class for inspiration. Within the confines of this much-anticipated Ballpark restaurant, which opened at full tilt four months ago and hasn't looked bac ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2014

    From Leaf to Acorn, the greening of Denver's salad scene

    The Parisian family I lived with one summer served salads every night. They were plain little things, a few leaves of bibb lettuce that their children and I rushed through on our way to the camembert that was sure to follow. This was, after all, a traditional French family eating the traditional Fre ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 15, 2014

    Come hang out with us tonight and talk about Denver music

    Last week, we held the first of three Westword Music Showcase social hours. Times were had. I've spent the week listening to new music I discovered there, and I hope to find a bunch more at round two, which we'll hold tonight. You're welcome to join us from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., again at Stoney's on 11t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 14, 2014

    Review: Palettes presents an unfinished culinary picture

    Palettes 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway 303-534-1455 The roast pepper soup stared up at me, an edible riddle. Since it was from the special exhibition-themed menu at Palettes, the white-tablecloth restaurant inside the Denver Art Museum, I knew the dish must be related to the Modern Masters show, but ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2014

    Want to try oysters? Don't forget the training wheels...

    Eating oysters is like learning to ride a bike: It's best approached with training wheels. More than taste, the texture is what really gets people -- which is why Sheila Lucero, executive chef of the four (and counting) locations of Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, recommends sandwiching oysters between ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2014
  • Blogs

    April 28, 2014

    Photos: Copper Kettle Brewing celebrates its third anniversary in beery style

    Copper Kettle Brewing celebrated its third anniversary last week with a four-day long party that came complete with special beer tappings, food trucks, live music and a glimpse at the east Denver brewery's new fifteen-barrel brewing system -- something that should make fans happy. Westword photograp ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 17, 2014

    Best dessert stops in Denver: A baker's dozen

    I've always had a sweet tooth, and was a baker long before I learned to cook -- or drive, for that matter. So you might think that I like every dessert I meet, but the opposite is true. If I had a dollar for every dried-out layer cake, leaden pie crust and gratuitously sweet concoction I've eaten ov ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2014

    Review: Sugarmill could become a real sweet spot in the Ballpark neighborhood

    Sugarmill 2461 Larimer Street, #101 303-297-3540 Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday Ever see that magnet that says, "Life is short. Eat spinach first"? Of course not; it doesn't exist. People don't go crazy for vegetables, no ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2014

    Bread pudding can be a savoury as well as sweet treat -- but not at Braun

    Like vegetables, desserts are seasonal. Just as we're moving out of winter's root vegetables and into spring's pea shoots and asparagus, we're also moving towards refreshing sweets such as berry tarts and ice cream. But we're not there yet, which is why you'll still see heavier fare such as bread ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 2, 2014

    Review: Lower48 Kitchen raises the bar in Denver

    Lower48 Kitchen 2020 Lawrence Street, Unit A 303-942-0262 My first thought when I saw the opening section of the menu at Lower48 Kitchen was, "I want one of each." So it's no wonder that the column of small bites, with temptations such as a beignet filled with whipped tarragon an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 24, 2014

    Photos: Saturday's Collaboration Fest brought craft-beer lovers together

    Dozens of breweries and hundreds of craft-beer fans came together Saturday for the first-ever Collaboration Fest, hosted by Imbibe Denver and the Colorado Brewers Guild. The event, at the Curtis Hotel, included nearly fifty collaborative beers from breweries all over the state, as well as a few in o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2014

    From Morocco to Mexico, a second helping of Cafe Society: March 17-21

    Cafe Society was busy eating its last meals for the Best of Denver 2014 this week, but didn't ignore its normal duties. In her current review, Gretchen Kurtz visits Mecca Grill, which changed owners last year and is slowly switching from the old emphasis on Lebanese food to Moroccan cuisine. In Chef ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2013

    Photos: The 2013 Mile-Hi Con was out of this world!

    Mile-Hi Con, not to be confused with Denver Comic Con or any of the other cons that liven up this town, is the annual science fiction and fantasy literary convention. This past weekend fans, authors, artists and more gathered to celebrate the industry -- and our photographer was there to capture the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2013

    Five best soul-food restaurants in Denver

    Growing up in the suburbs of Denver, Adrian Miller didn't see a lot of soul food at nearby restaurants -- but he did see it on his family's table every holiday. His culinary obsession, though, was barbecue (he's a certified judge) until he stumbled across John Egerton's book Southern Food: At Home, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2013

    Photos: Colfax Marathon runners take it to the street

    Following last month's attack at the Boston Marathon, people planning to take part in the Colfax Marathon, as well as the upcoming BolderBOULDER, took to social media to make it clear they would still hit the pavement. Plenty of them did so safely at the Colfax Marathon this weekend. Our Danielle L ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2013

    Photos: Colorado Tourism Day's odd bedfellows -- including Miss Colorado and costumed Ram

    There have been a lot of weird assemblages on the steps of the State Capitol. But few have been stranger than the group that gathered there yesterday for a rally marking Colorado Tourism Day. Those represented included Governor John Hickenlooper, Miss Colorado Hannah Porter and so many random mascot ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2013

    The Queen is dead; long live Nick's Diner

    For decades the Breakfast Queen was a greasy-spoon landmark at 3743 Federal Boulevard. But earlier this month it was transformed into Nick's Diner, where Nick Mikelis and crew serve an extensive menu of Mexican, Greek and American diner fare to a growing number of Federal foodie fans. Westword's Dan ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2013

    Photos: Rockies fans celebrate team in first place -- and not sucking!

    We admit it. After taking one look at the pitching staff of the 2013 Colorado Rockies, we thought the team would set records -- for ineptitude. But thus far, we've been happily surprised -- no, thrilled -- by all aspects of the team, which currently has a 5-1 record and sits atop the National League ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2013

    Photos: Bubba Chinos mural at 160 Federal Boulevard pays homage to some rap legends

    Wow! We haven't seen this mesmerizing mural in the flesh yet, but Danielle Lirette, our photo intern, did, and she brought us back these great photos. The piece, which is painted on the side of Bubba Chinos at 160 Federal Boulevard, is the handiwork of PJ Sierra (aka Stale Art). Continue on to see m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 20, 2013

    Denver's ten best new bars of 2012

    With the additions of everything from neighborhood taverns to high-end lounges, Denver's bar scene got even better in 2012. Residents and tourists alike have many more options when they're looking for fun after the sun goes down -- or even before that. Here, in no particular order, are Cafe Society ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2013

    Photos: Billy's Gourmet Hot Dogs is now open on Colfax

    The third outpost of Billy's Gourmet Hot Dogs opened last week in the former Office Depot building at 600 East Colfax Avenue. The two-story restaurant features funky decor and the same menu as the original location at 2445 Larimer Street. Westword's Danielle Lirette brought back these pictures of th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 7, 2013

    Photos: Big Mac & Little Lu's Seafood Market & Grill makes a splash in Westminster

    Big Mac and Little Lu's Seafood Market and Grill opened last month at 2851 West 120th Avenue in Westminster. Owners Ashley and Paul Brock had moved to Colorado from Florida, and decided that this state really needed more fresh seafood. As a result, the restaurant does not have a freezer -- just a wa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 1, 2013

    Photos: Alex Landau faces Alex Martinez at Michael DeHerrera police brutality rally

    Earlier this week, Alex Landau, who was brutally beaten by police in 2009, expressed frustration about the reinstatement of an officer previously fired in a separate incident involving Michael DeHerrera, and also complained about Manager of Safety Alex Martinez's decision not to meet with him about ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2013

    Photos: Southern Hospitality brings "sexy back" downtown

    Southern Hospitality is serving eats in the 116-year-old St. Elmo building at 1433 17th Street. The Manhattan-based chain -- which was co-founded by Justin Timberlake -- is currently in a soft opening phase, with plans for grand opening event soon. Here's a look at the digs. See also: - Southern Ho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 12, 2013

    Photos: Cafe Max is now open on East Colfax

    Cafe Max opened yesterday in a former hair salon at 2412 East Colfax Avenue. In addition to locally roasted coffee from Novo, owners Maxwell Hopewell-Arizmendi and Yukihiko Koyama are offering a curated selection of craft beer, wines and sake. Westword's Danielle Lirette brought back these pictures ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 11, 2013

    Denver's ten best plates of chicken and waffles

    Which came first, the chicken or the waffle? There may be a lot of disagreement about how this dish came about, but almost everyone agrees that this unusual combination of sweet and savory is delicious, which is why it's a staple of Southern cuisine. But you don't need to travel to the South to get ... More >>

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