The name Kevin Taylor is one of the most recognizable in the Denver culinary scene, even with Restaurant Kevin Taylor three years gone. Theater-goers know the chef from Kevin Taylor's at the Opera House, and those who have been in the city long enough look back fondly at such shining stars as Zenith and Brasserie Z, two legendary Kevin Taylor spots. But son Ryan Taylor is the one getting executive chef billing at the Taylor family's latest endeavor, Hickory & Ash, slated to open this Friday, July 7, at 8001 Arista Place in the Arista Broomfield development.
The corner restaurant, just a stone's throw from the 1STBANK Center, has the look and feel — menu included — of a reimagined, modernized Colorado steakhouse. Leather, cow skulls and raw wood beams decorate the space, while the menu comes complete with an a la carte list of beef cuts — all from Aspen Ridge Natural Beef — in a range to please modern diners. Yes, there's a monster, twenty-ounce bone-in rib eye for $48, but there's also a four-ounce filet mignon for $18.
But Hickory & Ash should appeal to younger diners, too, with fun small plates like cubes of short rib given a pastrami treatment and a dish called Duck, Duck, Goose that plates potted duck, foie gras and gooseberries together. Those looking for entree-sized portions without going all in on a side of beef can choose from a duo of roasted and fried chicken, Colorado striped bass served in the style of Veracruz, an apricot-glazed pork chop sided with buttermilk grits, or gnocchi Bolognese made vegetarian with squash and mushrooms. Anything with the Taylor name attached will not leave details to chance; there's a dessert menu from pastry chef Saura Medani and a roster of signature cocktails with inventive ingredients like basil and blueberry, tarragon and even Castelvetrano olive juice.
The whole package feels like a family affair, with Kevin's wife and restaurant co-owner, Denise, making appearances in the dining room, and her son, Cooper Mease, as managing partner. The place is spacious (with seating for 120 guests), but feels intimate owing to the layout of the dining room. Dinner reservations can be made by calling 720-390-4400, and Hickory & Ash will soon add lunch service too.
With one new restaurant on the way, the Taylors will soon close another. Palettes at the Denver Art Museum has been open since 1997, with at least one facelift along the way, but the wing of the museum that houses the restaurant is slated for demolition, so Palettes will close in September. Denise Taylor explains that they don't have an automatic lock on the space (despite having recently been named one of the best museum restaurants in the world by Food & Wine), so they're putting in a bid with the city in hopes of landing the contract once a new wing is built on the site of the old.
Keep reading for more photos of Hickory & Ash.