What neighborhood wouldn't want a Sean Kelly restaurant as its local spot? Lucky Park Hill is home to chef Kelly's latest offering, a spacious and inviting neighborhood eatery that feels like it's been here all along — especially welcome in an area seriously lacking in food options. Park Hill resident Kelly — long ago the opening chef for Barolo Grill, followed by stints at his own Aubergine Cafe, Clair de Lune, Somethin' Else and LoHi SteakBar — has always been particularly adept at Mediterranean fare, and at Desmond he takes longtime favorites from the region and turns them up a notch: hummus made tangy and aromatic with the Middle Eastern spice blend za'atar; rich, mustardy potted salmon balanced by peppery radishes; soft-centered falafel broken into pieces and tossed in a tahini-drizzled salad. The shared plates can be paired with an interesting wine from the short but globally inspired list — nearly all of the bottles are available by the glass — and are served in a dining room of dark woods and exposed brick. In other words, it sports the Kelly decor hallmarks of simple, warm and comfortable, reflecting a slight reworking of the former tenant (the short-lived Table Top tap room) in a residential plaza space, complete with a delightful fireplace and nearly twenty craft beers on draft. What really makes this an ideal neighborhood joint, though, is that diners looking for more standard fare — a cheeseburger with fried potatoes, say, or Buffalo-style chicken wings — get the best possible versions, made from well-sourced ingredients. So, folks in other 'hoods, eat your hearts out — or head to Park Hill.
Readers' choice: Bar Dough