Yeah, we all know what the third date means, you naughty little monkey. By now you've discovered that you like each other enough to spend a meal together without one of you trying to bury a cocktail fork in the other's back, but you've run out of small talk, cute stories and one-liners, so if you don't get your intended into the sack soon, the two of you are going to have nothing left to talk about. Vesta Dipping Grill is the perfect spot for all the social maneuvering involved in those critical hours leading up to the big moment. First, there's no sexier dining room in town than the main floor here, with its dim lights, ranks of candles, cozy seating and profusion of iron, fire and leather. Second, Vesta offers plenty of conversational distractions -- from making fun of the dateless hipsters slouching at the bar to discussing the innovative offerings of chef Matt Selby. And finally, since short of sharing bodily fluids there's no more intimate activity than sharing food, Vesta's grilled meats and dipping sauces are custom-made for getting cozy. So put on your lucky party drawers and make a reservation at Vesta. Because if you can't get laid after a night here, your next call should be for a Russian mail-order bride.

Yeah, we all know what the third date means, you naughty little monkey. By now you've discovered that you like each other enough to spend a meal together without one of you trying to bury a cocktail fork in the other's back, but you've run out of small talk, cute stories and one-liners, so if you don't get your intended into the sack soon, the two of you are going to have nothing left to talk about. Vesta Dipping Grill is the perfect spot for all the social maneuvering involved in those critical hours leading up to the big moment. First, there's no sexier dining room in town than the main floor here, with its dim lights, ranks of candles, cozy seating and profusion of iron, fire and leather. Second, Vesta offers plenty of conversational distractions -- from making fun of the dateless hipsters slouching at the bar to discussing the innovative offerings of chef Matt Selby. And finally, since short of sharing bodily fluids there's no more intimate activity than sharing food, Vesta's grilled meats and dipping sauces are custom-made for getting cozy. So put on your lucky party drawers and make a reservation at Vesta. Because if you can't get laid after a night here, your next call should be for a Russian mail-order bride.


Best Dinner Destination for Impressing Potential In-Laws

Mel's Restaurant and Bar

You don't want to look like you're trying too hard, but you don't want to look like you're not trying hard enough. You want a place that's swank, but not too swank, someplace that's classic rather than trendy. Most important, you want a restaurant where you can whip out that brand-new Visa with the $300 limit and not have to worry about it being brought back to the table denied. For all these reasons and many more, you want to take your potential in-laws to Mel's. Dinner here proves that you know quality when you see it, that you know when it's right to show off and when it's not. The service is excellent -- personable but never intrusive -- and the ambience is 100 percent old-school cool. And even if it turns out that your beloved's parents can't stand you, the ever-changing menu cooked nightly by chef Tyler Wiard and crew guarantees that you'll all be well fed for that uncomfortable ride home.

Best Dinner Destination for Impressing Potential In-Laws

Mel's Restaurant and Bar

You don't want to look like you're trying too hard, but you don't want to look like you're not trying hard enough. You want a place that's swank, but not too swank, someplace that's classic rather than trendy. Most important, you want a restaurant where you can whip out that brand-new Visa with the $300 limit and not have to worry about it being brought back to the table denied. For all these reasons and many more, you want to take your potential in-laws to Mel's. Dinner here proves that you know quality when you see it, that you know when it's right to show off and when it's not. The service is excellent -- personable but never intrusive -- and the ambience is 100 percent old-school cool. And even if it turns out that your beloved's parents can't stand you, the ever-changing menu cooked nightly by chef Tyler Wiard and crew guarantees that you'll all be well fed for that uncomfortable ride home.


Don't wait until your boss picks up the tab to try Adega. It's expensive, but not prohibitively so, and Bryan Moscatello's smart New American menu has something for just about every income -- from small plates and TV dinners at the bar to fantastic tasting menus and a seasonal full menu on the floor. Still, if you happen to be dining on someone else's card, you can do some real fiscal damage if you try. How about a $500 bottle of grape juice from the wine bible? Better yet, a $1,000 bottle (and Adega stocks a few). And that's just for starters. Were you to order one of everything on the full menu here -- in the process, tasting eighteen dishes that run the gamut from tile fish to antelope steak -- the final tab would come in around $350, not counting a cheese course, desserts or wine. Or a tip.

Don't wait until your boss picks up the tab to try Adega. It's expensive, but not prohibitively so, and Bryan Moscatello's smart New American menu has something for just about every income -- from small plates and TV dinners at the bar to fantastic tasting menus and a seasonal full menu on the floor. Still, if you happen to be dining on someone else's card, you can do some real fiscal damage if you try. How about a $500 bottle of grape juice from the wine bible? Better yet, a $1,000 bottle (and Adega stocks a few). And that's just for starters. Were you to order one of everything on the full menu here -- in the process, tasting eighteen dishes that run the gamut from tile fish to antelope steak -- the final tab would come in around $350, not counting a cheese course, desserts or wine. Or a tip.


Potager
Lindsey Bartlett
The best thing about chef Terri Rippeto's little restaurant, a longtime favorite of many of Denver's better chefs, is that it never, ever disappoints. From the entirely seasonal, garden-driven menu -- summers full of fruits, winters rich with root vegetables -- to the comforting plain-plaster dining room and garden patio in the back, Potager can do no wrong. No matter how many times you've eaten here, every visit makes you feel like you're about to discover something brand-new.

The best thing about chef Terri Rippeto's little restaurant, a longtime favorite of many of Denver's better chefs, is that it never, ever disappoints. From the entirely seasonal, garden-driven menu -- summers full of fruits, winters rich with root vegetables -- to the comforting plain-plaster dining room and garden patio in the back, Potager can do no wrong. No matter how many times you've eaten here, every visit makes you feel like you're about to discover something brand-new.


Luca
Scott Lentz
There's this game cooks play when they get together. It doesn't have a name or any rules, but the crux of it is this: You're dying -- fatal disease, on death row, whatever. There's time for one last meal, anything under the sun. What's it going to be? No one wants to waste his last night on a tasting menu, wrapped up in a jacket and tie in some murmuring tomb of a fine-dining restaurant. You want something fun, something memorable, something incredible and comforting at the same time. And for us, that's Luca d'Italia, Frank Bonanno's amazing Italian dream restaurant where everything is good and nothing is forgettable. Start with an insalata of house-cured meats, a little fresh mozz, some prosciutto, then move on to the pastas -- the crab gnocchi, in particular -- and meats, like the kitchen's extraordinary "rabbit three ways." A meal at Luca would send anyone to the great hereafter with a smile on his face and the smell of truffles on his breath.

There's this game cooks play when they get together. It doesn't have a name or any rules, but the crux of it is this: You're dying -- fatal disease, on death row, whatever. There's time for one last meal, anything under the sun. What's it going to be? No one wants to waste his last night on a tasting menu, wrapped up in a jacket and tie in some murmuring tomb of a fine-dining restaurant. You want something fun, something memorable, something incredible and comforting at the same time. And for us, that's Luca d'Italia, Frank Bonanno's amazing Italian dream restaurant where everything is good and nothing is forgettable. Start with an insalata of house-cured meats, a little fresh mozz, some prosciutto, then move on to the pastas -- the crab gnocchi, in particular -- and meats, like the kitchen's extraordinary "rabbit three ways." A meal at Luca would send anyone to the great hereafter with a smile on his face and the smell of truffles on his breath.


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