We're a little surprised, too, considering the positive review Gretchen Kurtz gave Stella's just a month ago; the place had landed on our list of the ten best restaurants to open so far this year.
But there were signs of trouble at Stella's recently — although not in the kitchen. Cohen drew the ire of several Denver bands after they were double-booked and then dropped from the restaurant's summer concert series on short notice.
Talent was not the issue, at least. Tran, who we recently profiled for our Chef & Tell series, rose to the level of executive sous-chef at ChoLon Modern Asian before taking the job as head chef at Uncle Joe's Hong Kong Bistro and then Stella's. The pastry program under MJ Szymanski also proved top-caliber.
The blocks between Union Station and the Millennium Bridge have seen a flurry of restaurant activity recently, with Pig & the Sprout, Tupelo Honey, Hearth & Dram and Public School 303 all opening in the ground-floor spaces of new apartment buildings and hotels in the area. And coming soon: Tavernetta (from the owners of Frasca Food & Wine) and Citizen Rail, which is expected to open next week.