Coohills makes itself at home in LoDo

Before Tom and Diane Coohill moved to Denver a few years ago, Tom ran a couple of fine-dining French restaurants in Atlanta that garnered considerable praise. But when he decided to plunge back into restaurant ownership in this city, though, the economy encouraged him to scale back his ambitions a notch.

Coohills, which opened in LoDo at the beginning of November, isn't a fine-dining restaurant; instead, it's an upscale, neighborhood-y joint meant to lure in all kinds of patrons. "Back in the '90s, our check average would be $80 to $100 per person," Diane told me when I talked to her about the realities of opening a Denver restaurant in 2011. "It's not nearly that much now. We're seeing people from all income levels coming in. They can make it a fine-dining experience, or order mini-burgers and flatbread pizza and have a beer. It's still fine-dining service, though, and we're not compromising the food."

They've already netted a crowd of regulars as a result: Coohills is nearly always packed.

For this week's review, I hung out at this restaurant on the banks of Cherry Creek, sampling dishes from Tom's menu that fall somewhere between bistro fare and high-end European gastronomy.

How was the food? Find out tomorrow, when the review is posted here.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk

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