Let's face it: There are certain culinary luxuries for which there are no substitutes. Such is the case when it comes to fresh seafood, and when enjoying it in its purest form at a raw bar, discerning diners can easily tell the fresh stuff from anything past its prime. This week's question comes from a reader looking for only the best.
I lived on the East Coast for awhile and became spoiled with all of the great seafood options. I'd love to know where I can find an awesome raw bar when a craving hits. Places with a variety of oysters and other chilled seafood that get shipments daily would be my preference.Just because we're landlocked doesn't mean that restaurants don't have our backs. Here are five excellent options when it comes to raw and chilled selections at Denver restaurants.
Blue Island Oyster Bar and Seafood
2625 East Second Avenue
With seafood shipments arriving seven days a week, Blue Island Oyster Bar and Seafood has quickly become the go-to seafood staple in the Cherry Creek North area. On any given day, the raw bar is loaded with eight to twelve oyster varieties, crab, clams, shrimp, poke, ceviche and seafood specials based on the fishing season. The offerings at Blue Island are a reflection of the relationships the restaurant has built with small purveyors on both coasts, and it doesn't hurt that restaurant partner Chris Quartuccio owns Blue Island Shellfish Farms, a leading oyster and clam distributor out of Long Island, New York. Looking for a specific oyster or fish? The restaurant will even make a special order if a guest inquires with a few days' notice.
Stoic & Genuine
1701 Wynkoop Street
Stoic & Genuine, a multi-coastal seafood restaurant from Crafted Concepts partners Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, builds an impressive raw bar, with seafood deliveries occurring daily. Executive chef Gabe Wyman offers six to eight oyster varieties on any given day, often updating the menu each service to showcase several varieties from each coast. In addition to oysters, seafood lovers will find a selection of
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
650 South Colorado Boulevard (and other locations)
One of the more veteran destinations is Jax Fish House & Oyster
The Kitchen LoDo
1530 16th Street
Step into The Kitchen LoDo, and it's hard not to zero in on the seafood counter, which often flaunts oysters, clams, mussels, crab, lobster and caviar. While not strictly a seafood restaurant, The Kitchen makes a point to create emphasis on the fresh bounty within the case. Four oyster varietals can be found on the menu every day, and the restaurant receives four seafood deliveries a week. With three locations in Colorado, several Next Door sister concepts and a new concept called Hedge Row opening in Cherry Creek, the Kitchen Group maintains its reputation as one of the best restaurant families for enjoying thoughtfully sourced and crafted food.
Guard and Grace
1801 California Street, #150
Guard and Grace, a modern steakhouse from chef Troy Guard, is the epitome of Denver surf and turf. Serving four different oyster varieties each day, Guard's menu is also packed with crab, lobster, shrimp and sashimi — much of it often offered with Guard's signature Asian and Hawaiian twists. Superb seafood might hit the table from the moment you settle into your seat, as amuse-bouche courses from the kitchen have been known to include sashimi, poke or ceviche. For a real luxe experience, inquire about the caviar selections.
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