Best Fried Chicken 2010 | Tom's Home Cookin' | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Tom's Home Cookin' is a stick-to-your-ribs dispatch for soul-food seekers and Southerners, blue-collar workers and chefs, chatterers, chewers and chicken chasers — the latter a devoted force of purists who know the difference between a great cluck and a forgettable one. There's nothing at Tom's we wouldn't kill for, but the fried chicken, profoundly moist with skin crusted the color of copper, flies right every single time. It's a sign of more goodness to come: peach cobbler, banana pudding, macaroni and cheese (it's the Velveeta, people), cornbread stuffing, candied yams and whatever else owners Steve Jankousky and Tom Unterwagner have on the day's chalkboard. But that chicken? That chicken would make even a hardened vegan fly the coop.

Molly Martin

By this point, we all pretty much know that just about everything coming out of Frank Bonanno's four kitchens — Osteria Marco, Mizuna, Bones and Luca D'Italia — makes our heads whirl like a spinning top. But just when you think Bonanno and his enormously talented kitchen crew couldn't possibly have any more culinary stunts up their sleeves, they add suckling pig — which is nothing like any suckling pig you've ever had — to Luca D'Italia's menu, which was already an extraordinary document that causes big, burly men to weep. The pig, stuffed with squishy, beautifully spiced, rich forcemeat and crowned with a salad of arugula and sliced apples sprayed with a sherry vinaigrette, straddles a puddle of deep-flavored pork stock and a superb chestnut polenta. Right now, at this moment, there may be no better dish in Denver. There's certainly no better Italian restaurant.

Mark Manger

Tarasco's awesome posole, the traditional Mexican stew that even gringos slurp for breakfast after a night of corruption and immorality, is ladled into a big white bowl with tender pork and pork bones and hominy. It's accompanied, as it should be, by steaming corn tortillas, plenty of quartered lime wedges, a heap of diced white onions and shredded raw cabbage. If you want to dust the posole with Mexican oregano or give it fire with diced jalapeños, the server will bring those, too, although the fiery tableside salsa — it's more like a chile paste — is more addictive than heroin. Once you've doctored it with all your garnishes, it's like eating Christmas in a bowl.

Steamed suckling pig and pork belly buns, roasted bone marrow, escargot pot stickers, tempura-fried cod, dumplings, shishito peppers, soba noodles and soft-serve ice cream: These all play starring roles on the board at Bones, Frank Bonanno's Capitol Hill noodle bar and the fourth soldier in his army of restaurants. Celebrated since Bonanno opened the doors at the end of 2008, Bones has amassed serious worshipers, a conglomerate of cultists who gather at the counter, where the heat and steam from the burners has them breaking out in beads of sweat — a badge of honor. But that's a small price to pay for getting to watch Bonanno's crew as they perfectly poach the yolk-y egg that wiggles and jiggles in a fantastically porky broth floating with faultless udon, ribbons of scallions and shards of roasted pig. It's a justifiably lauded vessel of fine swine that makes us squeal with joy.

Courtesy India's Restaurant Facebook

When Krishan Kappor relocated India's, his terrific curry house, from its longtime home on the perimeter of Tamarac Square to Tiffany Plaza, he definitely traded up in space. And the food is better than ever. The Punjabi-tempered menu may feature many of the same dishes that litter the boards of just about every other Indian restaurant in town, but Kappor and his kitchen crew continue to do these dishes right, serving up sizzling cast-iron platters of tandoori meats and seafood, turning out scintillating curries shocked with beautifully balanced spices that perfume the new, cavernous dining room.


The year was 2007; the space the tiny former home of Sean Kelly's Somethin' Else. In this unlikely spot, partners Alex Seidel and Paul Attardi — chef and maître d', respectively — created Fruition, a restaurant that's become a culinary deity. From the start, Seidel has used the seasons as a canvas for his menu, a near-perfect board of flawlessly sourced (particularly since he now has his own farm in Larkspur), beautifully choreographed and infallibly flavored dishes crafted with confidence, intelligence and principles. But while he tweaks the menu with frequency, there are a few mainstays — including the pasta carbonara, which defies everything you think you know about that dish and would incite a violent revolt if Seidel ever yanked it from the board. For this version, the kitchen takes a generous slab of house-cured pork belly and crowns it with a jiggly egg that oozes yolk into a pool of Parmesan broth bobbing with fresh peas and handmade cavatelli. Talk about food that feeds the soul.

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