Local eateries have learned to expect the unexpected during Denver Restaurant Week -- but the surprise hit Ototo Food and Wine Bar Friday night, even before DRW got under way: The kitchen crew noticed smoke coming from a duct. The fire department was called, and eventually, they traced the source of the smoke: a construction company had used plywood instead of heat-protected material behind a metal sheet in the kitchen. Although there was no fire, says Yasu Kizaki, who owns the place with his brother, doing the necessary repairs involves pulling permits. And that means that Ototo was closed on the first day of DRW, and will remain closed until the construction work is done.
But Ototo's Denver Restaurant Week deal will still be offered -- just across the street.
Although Ototo's sibling restaurants, the wildly popular Sushi Den and Izakaya Den, do not usually participate in DRW (it's hard to make a $52.80-for-two deal work with sushi, Yasu says), Ototo had signed on for the event, with a menu designed by chef Darren Pusateri. That menu will now be offered in the upstairs area of Izakaya, where Pusateri was the head chef before he moved to Ototo when it opened last fall in the reconfigured Den Deli space.
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There are still a few kinks to be worked out: For example, while Ototo is usually open on Mondays, Izakaya Den is not. But Izakaya will be taking Ototo's DRW reservations starting tomorrow, and when Ototo is back in business -- perhaps as early as Friday -- the DRW deal will be offered there for an additional week. In the meantime, the best bet is to call to see when you can get Ototo's DRW menu, which follows:
Ototo Food and Wine Denver Restaurant Week menu
Starter: choice of the following
Pork paté Prince Edward Island Mussel in parsley broth Roasted endive Cured meats
Main: choice of the following
Wagyu Tri-tip with broccolini and pickled horseradish Seared Scallops with celery salad Egg in a Jar Daily vegetarian tasting
Dessert: choice of the following
Pear almond cake, salted caramel ice cream Choice of cheese