Sushi Den
Sushi Den
Now you have a friend in the diving business. Make that several friends. As Sushi Den shows, it's not enough to have fresh, exotic fish -- although this longtime winner has that in abundance -- you also need a staff that knows what to do with it. This jazzy, cool, see-and-be-seen scene has the best sushi staff in town. As a result, nowhere else is the sashimi better cut, the rice better flavored and molded, the tray more beautifully assembled. Sushi Den knows its raw materials inside and out, and those materials get more exotic every day, now that the restaurant is also a fish distributor, importing directly from Japan and even serving as middleman for restaurants on the West Coast. Although you can enjoy your sushi in the dining room, it's much more fun to sit at the bar and be part of the cutting-edge action.

Readers' choice: Sushi Den

Now you have a friend in the diving business. Make that several friends. As Sushi Den shows, it's not enough to have fresh, exotic fish -- although this longtime winner has that in abundance -- you also need a staff that knows what to do with it. This jazzy, cool, see-and-be-seen scene has the best sushi staff in town. As a result, nowhere else is the sashimi better cut, the rice better flavored and molded, the tray more beautifully assembled. Sushi Den knows its raw materials inside and out, and those materials get more exotic every day, now that the restaurant is also a fish distributor, importing directly from Japan and even serving as middleman for restaurants on the West Coast. Although you can enjoy your sushi in the dining room, it's much more fun to sit at the bar and be part of the cutting-edge action.

Readers' choice: Sushi Den

Got three milks? Then you have the makings of pastel con tres leches, a three-milk cake popular in Mexico that's a cross between a rustic custard and a sopping wet bread pudding, only so much sweeter and better. Fortunately, Seorita's Cantina, an up-and-coming Tex-Mex cafe in LoDo, has imported this worthy dish across the border. Although it's traditionally made with goat's milk, many chefs these days are going with whole milk or heavy cream instead; the other two leches are usually evaporated and sweetened condensed. We don't know what combination Seorita's uses, but the result is undeniable: a super-sweet, creamy, curdy delight that will make a convert out of the most staunch dessert naysayer. Seorita's should milk this one for all it's worth.

Got three milks? Then you have the makings of pastel con tres leches, a three-milk cake popular in Mexico that's a cross between a rustic custard and a sopping wet bread pudding, only so much sweeter and better. Fortunately, Señorita's Cantina, an up-and-coming Tex-Mex cafe in LoDo, has imported this worthy dish across the border. Although it's traditionally made with goat's milk, many chefs these days are going with whole milk or heavy cream instead; the other two leches are usually evaporated and sweetened condensed. We don't know what combination Señorita's uses, but the result is undeniable: a super-sweet, creamy, curdy delight that will make a convert out of the most staunch dessert naysayer. Señorita's should milk this one for all it's worth.

Banzai Sushi
Courtesy Banzai Sushi Facebook
Banzai offers many types of sushi, all of good quality, all expertly prepared, but it really gets on a roll when it contemplates sushi-roll possibilities. The restaurant offers more than a hundred types, divided into nine categories: no fish on the outside; seaweed outside (traditional roll style); crunchy tempura batter on the outside; fish on the outside; eel on the outside; NITRO (those would be the spicy ones); avocado on the outside; whole roll deep-fried; and, when available, harder-to-get sea urchin and bonito. Pick a combination of ingredients -- say, shrimp, asparagus, avocado, gourd and mayo -- and a style (do you want that deep-fried, the shrimp wrapped around it all, or the avocado on the outside?), then let the good times, and the good tastes, roll.

Banzai offers many types of sushi, all of good quality, all expertly prepared, but it really gets on a roll when it contemplates sushi-roll possibilities. The restaurant offers more than a hundred types, divided into nine categories: no fish on the outside; seaweed outside (traditional roll style); crunchy tempura batter on the outside; fish on the outside; eel on the outside; NITRO (those would be the spicy ones); avocado on the outside; whole roll deep-fried; and, when available, harder-to-get sea urchin and bonito. Pick a combination of ingredients -- say, shrimp, asparagus, avocado, gourd and mayo -- and a style (do you want that deep-fried, the shrimp wrapped around it all, or the avocado on the outside?), then let the good times, and the good tastes, roll.

Yoshi Yoshida, who runs Sushi Wave with his wife, Cindy, is a veteran of some of Denver's best sushi bars, and his experience shows. Careful attention to detail, well-crafted sushi, expertly prepared cooked dishes and a warm welcome make this snazzy spot the best overall Japanese restaurant in town. Of course, most folks come looking for sushi, and they'll find it here, brand-spanking-new fresh and beautifully carved; the crunchy-centered, rich salmon-skin roll is one of the best in town. But chef Hiddo Mizouchi also knows what to do in the kitchen, and that's turn out exemplary gyoza, calamari, soft-shell crab and all the classics, including perfect miso soup, with just the right amount of tofu and scallions; supple pieces of filet mignon done teriyaki-style; flavorful grilled calamari steak; steamed fish and udon with the most concentrated broth imaginable. The clean, wavy lines of the decor give the place an upscale look without turning it snooty, and the staff is efficient and friendly. Catch the Sushi Wave.

Readers' choice: Domo

Yoshi Yoshida, who runs Sushi Wave with his wife, Cindy, is a veteran of some of Denver's best sushi bars, and his experience shows. Careful attention to detail, well-crafted sushi, expertly prepared cooked dishes and a warm welcome make this snazzy spot the best overall Japanese restaurant in town. Of course, most folks come looking for sushi, and they'll find it here, brand-spanking-new fresh and beautifully carved; the crunchy-centered, rich salmon-skin roll is one of the best in town. But chef Hiddo Mizouchi also knows what to do in the kitchen, and that's turn out exemplary gyoza, calamari, soft-shell crab and all the classics, including perfect miso soup, with just the right amount of tofu and scallions; supple pieces of filet mignon done teriyaki-style; flavorful grilled calamari steak; steamed fish and udon with the most concentrated broth imaginable. The clean, wavy lines of the decor give the place an upscale look without turning it snooty, and the staff is efficient and friendly. Catch the Sushi Wave.

Readers' choice: Domo

From the gracious service and elegant, flower-filled setting to the sea scallops in a spicy garlic sauce and honey-glazed apples, La Chine is everything Chinese dining should be. No gloppy sauces or made-in-Taiwan knickknacks here -- the dining room is as classy and evocative of Asian hospitality as the food. And what food: seafood in your choice of sauces, including ginger, spicy black bean and traditional Szechuan; sweet-and-sour orange roughy fish balls; an Oriental version of gumbo; true kung pao beef complete with ginger, garlic, whole dried chiles and fried peanuts; the house specialty of succulent tea-smoked duck; and lamb in a chile sauce. Call a day ahead and beg for the beggar's chicken, a whole bird that's stuffed with sweetened rice and rubbed with Chinese five-spice powder before being baked in clay, or try the bargain (for those with a big appetite) gourmet $22.50 prix fixe dinner, which includes a platter of five appetizers (check out the pickled jellyfish), La Chine's popular chicken with pine nuts in a lettuce leaf, soup, one of four entrees (go for the Peking duck), and banana fritters or lychees in syrup for dessert. You'll never want to touch a tired old pu pu platter again.

Readers' choice: P.F. Chang's

From the gracious service and elegant, flower-filled setting to the sea scallops in a spicy garlic sauce and honey-glazed apples, La Chine is everything Chinese dining should be. No gloppy sauces or made-in-Taiwan knickknacks here -- the dining room is as classy and evocative of Asian hospitality as the food. And what food: seafood in your choice of sauces, including ginger, spicy black bean and traditional Szechuan; sweet-and-sour orange roughy fish balls; an Oriental version of gumbo; true kung pao beef complete with ginger, garlic, whole dried chiles and fried peanuts; the house specialty of succulent tea-smoked duck; and lamb in a chile sauce. Call a day ahead and beg for the beggar's chicken, a whole bird that's stuffed with sweetened rice and rubbed with Chinese five-spice powder before being baked in clay, or try the bargain (for those with a big appetite) gourmet $22.50 prix fixe dinner, which includes a platter of five appetizers (check out the pickled jellyfish), La Chine's popular chicken with pine nuts in a lettuce leaf, soup, one of four entrees (go for the Peking duck), and banana fritters or lychees in syrup for dessert. You'll never want to touch a tired old pu pu platter again.

Readers' choice: P.F. Chang's

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