In Japan, a sushi chef will study for years just to learn the proper way to use a knife. He will apprentice himself to a master chef, work insanely long hours, learn everything he can about rolling fish up with rice -- and then spend a lifetime getting better and better at it. For hundreds of years, the Japanese have labored to refine the art of sushi, and while there are dozens of places in and around Denver where you can experience the fruits of all this obsessive attention, there's one that stands out: Opal. Executive chef Duy Pham is a freak for freshness and perfection, sometimes getting in three shipments a day from suppliers so that nothing ever sits, nothing ever ages. He keeps a close eye on his two sushi chefs -- Herry Fnu and Mario Moscoso -- and makes good and goddamn sure that every plate, every roll, every scrap of fish and grain of rice is exactly where it belongs. Since even something as simple as a cucumber roll takes on an element of the divine when this much attention is lavished upon it, imagine the heights to which something as delicate as sea urchin or complex as the Golden Dragon roll can be raised when subjected to such scrutiny. No matter what your passion, trust in the traditional rigor and exacting hands at Opal to do it better than anyone else.


Opal Restaurant & Lounge
In Japan, a sushi chef will study for years just to learn the proper way to use a knife. He will apprentice himself to a master chef, work insanely long hours, learn everything he can about rolling fish up with rice -- and then spend a lifetime getting better and better at it. For hundreds of years, the Japanese have labored to refine the art of sushi, and while there are dozens of places in and around Denver where you can experience the fruits of all this obsessive attention, there's one that stands out: Opal. Executive chef Duy Pham is a freak for freshness and perfection, sometimes getting in three shipments a day from suppliers so that nothing ever sits, nothing ever ages. He keeps a close eye on his two sushi chefs -- Herry Fnu and Mario Moscoso -- and makes good and goddamn sure that every plate, every roll, every scrap of fish and grain of rice is exactly where it belongs. Since even something as simple as a cucumber roll takes on an element of the divine when this much attention is lavished upon it, imagine the heights to which something as delicate as sea urchin or complex as the Golden Dragon roll can be raised when subjected to such scrutiny. No matter what your passion, trust in the traditional rigor and exacting hands at Opal to do it better than anyone else.
When the sheer drudgery of haggling through "low, no haggle prices," test-driving and penny-pinching gets to you, take a break. The interior of Sushi Uokura is incongruously reminiscent of the most casual of beach houses, and the sushi is excellent, without an ounce of the precious pretention that's befallen so many Denver favorites. And when you've finally hammered out an automotive deal, Sushi Uokura will be happy to pour you some premium sake. By that time, you'll have earned it.


Sushi Uokura
When the sheer drudgery of haggling through "low, no haggle prices," test-driving and penny-pinching gets to you, take a break. The interior of Sushi Uokura is incongruously reminiscent of the most casual of beach houses, and the sushi is excellent, without an ounce of the precious pretention that's befallen so many Denver favorites. And when you've finally hammered out an automotive deal, Sushi Uokura will be happy to pour you some premium sake. By that time, you'll have earned it.
Why a Japanese country restaurant -- not to mention Zen garden, museum and complete Japanese cultural center -- is located in this industrial part of Denver is anybody's guess. What Domo's doing here, however, is very clear: Chef/owner Gaku Homma Domo's serving the town's best Japanese food -- both authentic provincial fare and sushi -- in a setting that's a marked contrast to all the sushi-chic spots in town. Walk into those places, and you feel like you're stepping into the pages of GQ; step into Domo, and you're in another country altogether: the land of the rising sun. In the summer, you're greeted by outdoor gardens where the train whistles sounds like nightingales; in the winter, glasses of sake steam from the tables. Arigato, Domo.


Domo
Why a Japanese country restaurant -- not to mention Zen garden, museum and complete Japanese cultural center -- is located in this industrial part of Denver is anybody's guess. What Domo's doing here, however, is very clear: Chef/owner Gaku Homma Domo's serving the town's best Japanese food -- both authentic provincial fare and sushi -- in a setting that's a marked contrast to all the sushi-chic spots in town. Walk into those places, and you feel like you're stepping into the pages of GQ; step into Domo, and you're in another country altogether: the land of the rising sun. In the summer, you're greeted by outdoor gardens where the train whistles sounds like nightingales; in the winter, glasses of sake steam from the tables. Arigato, Domo.
The tiny, almost unbelievably cute Moongate Asian Grill restaurant offers a culinary exploration of Asian foods. Even a package tour of the Pacific wouldn't let you try this many cuisines -- and Moongate saves you not just the time and expense, but also the malaria shots required for such a venture. Where else can you have chicken satay and panang curry, Vietnamese egg rolls and rice bowls, tempura and udon, broccoli beef and kung pao chicken -- all under one roof? More important, where will they all taste so good?


The tiny, almost unbelievably cute Moongate Asian Grill restaurant offers a culinary exploration of Asian foods. Even a package tour of the Pacific wouldn't let you try this many cuisines -- and Moongate saves you not just the time and expense, but also the malaria shots required for such a venture. Where else can you have chicken satay and panang curry, Vietnamese egg rolls and rice bowls, tempura and udon, broccoli beef and kung pao chicken -- all under one roof? More important, where will they all taste so good?
Let's face it: Americanized Chinese is, well, Americanized Chinese. But when it's done well -- and Imperial Chinese does it very well -- it's still good food. Imperial ups the ante by recommending wines to pair with the dishes, by not hiding its meats under thick batter and molasses-sweet candy glazes, and with dining-room decor that's an elegant improvement over the usual stark strip-mall walls hung with giant backlit photos of what your kung pao might look like. You won't take any big risks here -- but you really didn't expect any, did you?


Imperial Chinese Restaurant
Let's face it: Americanized Chinese is, well, Americanized Chinese. But when it's done well -- and Imperial Chinese does it very well -- it's still good food. Imperial ups the ante by recommending wines to pair with the dishes, by not hiding its meats under thick batter and molasses-sweet candy glazes, and with dining-room decor that's an elegant improvement over the usual stark strip-mall walls hung with giant backlit photos of what your kung pao might look like. You won't take any big risks here -- but you really didn't expect any, did you?

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