Couples can have fun swishing and stirring and sharing a Japanese dinner at Kobe An Shabu Shabu.EXPAND
Couples can have fun swishing and stirring and sharing a Japanese dinner at Kobe An Shabu Shabu.
Danielle Lirette

Colorado Concierge: What Are the Best Interactive Dinner Dates?

We’ve all been faced with the “Where should we go?” question. Sometimes the answer is obvious, but other times we need help. Whether it’s finding the perfect place to celebrate the right occasion, determining what kitchen can accommodate an unusual dietary restriction, or maybe just discovering a new place to satisfy a late-night craving, we've got you covered. The Colorado Concierge will help you find the best restaurant, bar or cafe to suit your specific needs.

Every once in a while it's important to shake up the routine and try something new, especially when it comes to going out for a date. This week's question comes from Kara:

One of my goals for the new year involves branching out and exploring different parts of town, different cuisines and new restaurants (to me). I'm dating a guy who really enjoys food of all kinds, and I'd love to be able to make a suggestion for a unique and fun date the next time we go out for dinner. Any recommendations?    

One strategy to keep in mind when selecting a unique dinner option is the interactive element: meals that encourage eating with your hands, using special cooking equipment, or preparing part of the meal right on your own table. Here are five restaurants — all of them in different parts of town — with a hands-on dining approach and plenty of options to make your next dinner date an adventurous one:

Grill your own meats at Dae Gee — just don't forget about your date.EXPAND
Grill your own meats at Dae Gee — just don't forget about your date.
Danielle Lirette

1. Dae Gee
460 Broadway
720-542-3164

With three locations, Dae Gee is one of the more accessible Korean barbecue experiences in the Denver area. While there are a number of directions to go when it comes to ordering, make sure to take advantage of the barbecue options by asking to sit at a barbecue table. The menu offers both an unlimited barbecue option for $22 each, which includes a sampling of marinated meats, or the à la carte protein choices that range from $17 to $22 per order. All barbecue comes with rice and sides, which are replenished upon request.

Eating with your hands at Queen of Sheba can be a saucy way to get to know your date better.EXPAND
Eating with your hands at Queen of Sheba can be a saucy way to get to know your date better.
Mark Manger

2. Queen of Sheba
7225 East Colfax Avenue
303-399-9442

Colfax Avenue is known for having an eclectic mix of restaurants, and East Colfax happens to be a destination for Ethiopian cuisine. Among the best, Queen of Sheba consistently earns praise from diners, including nabbing Westword's Readers' Choice award for Best Ethiopian Restaurant last year. Meals are served on large platters for sharing with injera, a spongy and soft flatbread used in place of utensils. The menu at Queen of Sheba caters to most diets, with plenty of options for carnivores, vegetarians and anyone avoiding gluten and dairy.  

If your date doesn't like cheese, you should probably go it alone — at least to the Truffle Table.EXPAND
If your date doesn't like cheese, you should probably go it alone — at least to the Truffle Table.
Westword

3. The Truffle Table
2556 15th Street
303-455-9463

Situated along 15th Street in Denver's Highland neighborhood, the Truffle Table is the quintessential destination for anyone fond of wine and cheese. Build a cheese board, a platter of charcuterie, or order the fondue ($29) to share — a pot of bubbly, melted Swiss and French Alpine cheeses served with potatoes, seasonal vegetables, apples, salami, bread and cornichons. If you happen to stumble in on a Wednesday night, also consider the bottomless raclette special for $40 a couple, which comes with dessert.

New Saigon's special platter for rice paper wraps.
New Saigon's special platter for rice paper wraps.
Mark Manger

4. New Saigon
630 South Federal Boulevard
303-936-4954

New Saigon is considered a staple on South Federal Boulevard, and the menu is nothing short of comprehensive when it comes to essential Vietnamese dishes. For a date night, consider ordering the rice-paper wraps, a build-your-own spring roll spread. Make a platter selection from the many protein combinations offered, which all arrive at your table with bean sprouts, lettuce, rice noodles, carrots, fresh herbs, rice papers and nuoccham (a pungent and addictive dipping sauce). The fire pots are also an interactive and shareable option at New Saigon.

Dive into shabu shabu or sukiyaki with a date at Kobe An Shabu Shabu.
Dive into shabu shabu or sukiyaki with a date at Kobe An Shabu Shabu.
Danielle Lirette

5. Kobe An Shabu Shabu
3400 Osage Street
303-284-6342

Tucked into Denver's LoHi neighborhood, Kobe An offers Japanese shabu shabu and sukiyaki, perfect for sharing with a date. Shabu shabu is a traditional Japanese fondue-style feast, complete with dipping broth, vegetables, noodles, tofu, dipping sauces and choice of protein. Sukiyaki, on the other hand, is a simmering hot-pot-style dish, and comes with the same variety and choices as shabu shabu. Beef, pork, seafood and vegetarian options ($19-$86, depending on protein choice and size) are all available, as well as a bottomless option ($26.99/person).

Have a question for us? We're happy to find and deliver the answers. Drop us a line at cafe@westword.com.

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