Chuck and Martha Koch, owners of the Bear Creek Tavern, have family living on the Alabama shore, and while visiting there in 1991, they discovered Royal Reds. These beauties have been on the menu ever since, shipped in fresh every week straight from the Gulf Coast shrimpers to Kittredge. As far as the Koches know (and as far as we've been able to determine), Bear Creek Tavern is the only restaurant in the Rocky Mountain West that serves them. These are deep-sea shrimp, huge, with pale red shells, a meaty texture softer than that of most Asian varieties, and a flavor like very good crab dressed up as lobster. They come to the table in a massive, salty pile, with heads, legs, antennae and shells intact, attended by real drawn butter and lemon (no cocktail sauce unless you ask, and you shouldn't), Handi Wipes, a roll of paper towels and directions for coaxing the big monsters out. What they should come with is a pistol or something, so that you can defend yourself in case one of the bigger ones is only playing dead.
Okay, we all understand that the only seafood that should be eaten in a steakhouse is that queen of the deep blue sea, the lobster, right? The Capital Grille gives lobster the royal treatment, serving up crustaceans that weigh anywhere from two pounds to the-monster-that-ate-Cleveland size. Bibs are available (and necessary), as are an array of nasty-looking shell-cracking implements, but the best way to get at the sweet meat hiding inside all that armor is a hammer. Too bad this dining room is a little too classy for the mallet-and-cocktail-fork approach.
Le Central
There are few foods in the world as perfect as the mussel, few foods so filled with potential greatness, few so often mucked up by incompetent kitchens trying to do too much with a thing that's so good when left pretty much alone. Luckily for us, Le Central not only knows how to handle mussels properly, but it offers them in huge portions for under ten bucks, sided with excellent pommes frites in all-you-can-eat quantities. Le Central's kitchen prepares the moules nine ways, including a simple white-wine mariniere; a less simple, Pernod-rich provenal; and the exotic au saffron, with tomatoes, saffron and onions in a cream-and-shallot broth.
Classic edomae sushi has no better avatars than the guys behind the bar at Sushi Tazu. Sitting in this beautiful, understated space in Cherry Creek, you can indulge your purist's cravings with everything from perfectly simple tuna nigiri to the bizarrely addictive sea urchin sashimi, from lovely tuna belly o-toro to more modern interpretations like giant crab-tempura rolls that look like big, leggy deep-fried spiders on the plate. Tazu also does less daring plates -- simple tempuras and bento box lunches -- and rounds out its offerings with cold Japanese beer and a good selection of sake. Sit at the bar, get to know the cooks, be brave, save room for unusual palate-cleansing desserts like frozen orange quarters, but always remember: Adding wasabe to your soy sauce before tasting the hand rolls is an insult. And at Sushi Tazu, you'll never need the extra spice, anyway.
Chuck and Martha Koch, owners of the Bear Creek Tavern, have family living on the Alabama shore, and while visiting there in 1991, they discovered Royal Reds. These beauties have been on the menu ever since, shipped in fresh every week straight from the Gulf Coast shrimpers to Kittredge. As far as the Koches know (and as far as we've been able to determine), Bear Creek Tavern is the only restaurant in the Rocky Mountain West that serves them. These are deep-sea shrimp, huge, with pale red shells, a meaty texture softer than that of most Asian varieties, and a flavor like very good crab dressed up as lobster. They come to the table in a massive, salty pile, with heads, legs, antennae and shells intact, attended by real drawn butter and lemon (no cocktail sauce unless you ask, and you shouldn't), Handi Wipes, a roll of paper towels and directions for coaxing the big monsters out. What they should come with is a pistol or something, so that you can defend yourself in case one of the bigger ones is only playing dead.
Say you're new to all this raw-fish nonsense. You're curious about the fuss, but you don't know your ebi from your uni. For you nigiri neophytes, we suggest making a lunch date at Hapa Sushi. While fish aficionados may scoff at Hapa's jumped-up, fusiony, oh-so-flashy fare, this hip Cherry Creek hot spot has two very important things going for it. First, the menu is comprehensively descriptive; no matter what you order, you'll know exactly what you're getting, and you won't accidentally find yourself with a plate full of sea urchin genitalia when what you wanted was shrimp and rice balls. Second, Hapa has a plethora of offerings that come baked, seared, fried and disguised with great names like the Spider Roll and the Multiple Orgasm, so no one will suspect you're scared to eat it raw.
Classic edomae sushi has no better avatars than the guys behind the bar at Sushi Tazu. Sitting in this beautiful, understated space in Cherry Creek, you can indulge your purist's cravings with everything from perfectly simple tuna nigiri to the bizarrely addictive sea urchin sashimi, from lovely tuna belly o-toro to more modern interpretations like giant crab-tempura rolls that look like big, leggy deep-fried spiders on the plate. Tazu also does less daring plates -- simple tempuras and bento box lunches -- and rounds out its offerings with cold Japanese beer and a good selection of sake. Sit at the bar, get to know the cooks, be brave, save room for unusual palate-cleansing desserts like frozen orange quarters, but always remember: Adding wasabe to your soy sauce before tasting the hand rolls is an insult. And at Sushi Tazu, you'll never need the extra spice, anyway.
Any way you slice it, Sushi Den is a top sushi spot. It's been a trendy destination for nearly twenty years, always loud, always crowded. Why? Because the house believes in importing everything it can straight from the warm, bloody center of the sushi universe: the fish markets of Japan. Oddly enough, this does not mean that you, the customer, will be getting the freshest of products, but you will be getting the best. Deeply purple tuna, iridescent toro banded with fat, excellent eel and beautiful shake pump up the menu here. Sure, the more exotic offerings are pricey, but like the man says: You get what you pay for.
Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have restaurants in Denver that foodies will travel hundreds of miles to visit. Domo is one of those restaurants. It serves "country food," Japanese farmhouse cuisine, which translates as simple, elegant sushi presentations in hand bowls, yellowtail steaks, salted salmon donburi and a flight of exotic side dishes made fresh every day. Chef and owner Gaku Homma also has a traditional Japanese garden on site that's one of the most peaceful places we've seen, as well as an aikido dojo, and a museum and cultural center. Domo arigato.
Say you're new to all this raw-fish nonsense. You're curious about the fuss, but you don't know your ebi from your uni. For you nigiri neophytes, we suggest making a lunch date at Hapa Sushi. While fish aficionados may scoff at Hapa's jumped-up, fusiony, oh-so-flashy fare, this hip Cherry Creek hot spot has two very important things going for it. First, the menu is comprehensively descriptive; no matter what you order, you'll know exactly what you're getting, and you won't accidentally find yourself with a plate full of sea urchin genitalia when what you wanted was shrimp and rice balls. Second, Hapa has a plethora of offerings that come baked, seared, fried and disguised with great names like the Spider Roll and the Multiple Orgasm, so no one will suspect you're scared to eat it raw.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of