Denver Restaurant Week: the winning/losing stories from diners

After the fourteen-day eating orgy of Denver Restaurant Week, Cafe Society has finally had time to digest all the entries in our best and worst stories from Denver Restaurant Week contest.

And here they are:

Daveed rhapsodized over his meal at Restaurant Kevin Taylor, a place he'd never been -- and now plans to return:

We limited ourselves to just one place this year: a place I'd heard good things about, but had yet to try -- Restaurant Kevin Taylor. I had pretty high expectations, but the experience truly blew me away.

Saturday evening had all the makings of a disaster -- 14th Ave was a parking lot at 7:15 due to the ongoing road construction coupled with whatever was starting at DCPA at 7:30. My wife got out of the car and walked the last block, since our car wasn't going to get there remotely as fast. She gave our name to the maitre d', who took her coat and brought her to a nice waiting area, while they waited for me to get to the valet station. Unfortunately, once I finally inched up to the valet, the kid informed me that they were completely full, so I drove around downtown until I finally found a spot, and arrived at the restaurant sometime around 7:55 (for our 7:30 reservation). The maitre d' was very courteous, asking which wife was mine because there were currently 4 husbands in the same boat as I, searching for parking. They brought us immediately to our table, and we proceeded to enjoy a very lovely meal.

The food was as amazing as I'd been led to expect, and the service was excellent. Two things stood out (in addition to the first-class service by the hosts) --

First, even though the restaurant was completely full, and we ended up not arriving until nearly half-an-hour after our reserved time, the staff never made us feel rushed in the least. It was great to enjoy a wonderful meal and wine at a relaxed pace.

Second, they limited their menu to only a few DRW choices, plus a couple of additional entrees available for a nominal ($16 to $18) up-charge. I was torn between the lamb and the bison tenderloin (with up-charge). I asked our waiter his recommendation, and much to my surprise he immediately recommended the lamb, at the regular DRW price. I guess I just expected that he'd recommend the more expensive item. I'm sure the bison would have been fabulous, but I know I thoroughly enjoyed the lamb.

The food was terrific, all the way around. Their wine pairings (available for $25 per person) were excellent as well. Our experience at Restaurant Kevin Taylor was first-class, from start to finish. We will definitely find an occasion/reason/excuse to go back another time during the year.

Sadly, DenverART did not have nearly as good an experience at Colt & Gray:

Visited Colt&Gray last night for the Restaurant Week special. Quite underwhelming. The cook staff must be on a salt heavy campaign; everything except the desserts were heavily salted to the point of desiccating my taste buds. The opening appetizer of beef tongue salad with beets had a nice subtle horseradish vinaigrette which did not overpower the paper-thin tongue slices but did nothing to amplify the flavors. When the main beef short ribs arrived my first taste of the veggie side was salty. Even the water began to taste salty by the end of the main course. I subtly pointed this out to my waiter who smiled and said "good to know" and that was that! I don't think I will be returning in my lifetime.

Daveed and DenverArt, send your addresses to cafe@westword.com, and we'll send your prize: an EatDenver deck, which guarantees discounts at Denver's independent restaurants so that you can continue to eat well now that DRW is over.

And all of you servers who survived Denver Restaurant Week, we have a contest for you, too. Post your DRW story here; the best one we receive by 5 p.m. Friday will win an EatDenver deck.

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