Westword Watch List: What's Hot and Cool in Food This Week

Comal's Friday lunch is dedicated to Syrian cuisine.EXPAND
Comal's Friday lunch is dedicated to Syrian cuisine.
Mark Antonation
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New restaurants keep popping up, some — like French 75 (which opens Monday, July 17) — with chill summer dishes, and others with the hottest food in town. And favorites like Comal Heritage Food Incubator are drawing attention as Slow Food Nations, a weekend-long celebration of good food prepared with care, rolls along. Here are three eateries you should hit soon for some of the tastiest food in town. Once you're done, check out our list of openings and closing for the week of July 10 to 16, 2017.

Comal chef Tim Bender with his team that makes Syrian specialties for lunch every Friday.EXPAND
Comal chef Tim Bender with his team that makes Syrian specialties for lunch every Friday.
Mark Antonation

Comal Heritage Food Incubator
3455 Ringsby Court
Comal has been dedicated to serving traditional Mexican cuisine for lunch since it opened last October. But earlier this spring, the heritage food incubator added a Syrian menu for lunch on Fridays, prepared by women who are receiving career-oriented job training under chef Tim Bender while sharing their recipes with a hungry RiNo neighborhood. Comal is in the spotlight this weekend as part of Slow Food Nations; at lunch on Friday, July 14, James Beard award-winning chef Alon Shaya, who runs three restaurants in New Orleans, stopped by to bake pita in Comal's outdoor oven. But even when Shaya's not there, the Syrian dishes — like stuffed artichoke hearts, crispy kibbeh and creamy hummus and baba ghanoush — are worth a stop, especially on a sunny day when you can sit outside near the oven. Specials change weekly, so bring a friend and share an appetizer platter and an entree.

Cool off with crab Louie on a chilled plate at French 75.EXPAND
Cool off with crab Louie on a chilled plate at French 75.
Mark Antonation

French 75
717 17th Street

Frank Bonanno is channeling his inner Escoffier at French 75, which officially opens on Monday, July 17. This is the classic French bistro he's always wanted — and proof is in simple, evocative dishes like the composed crab Louie, a dish that was probably invented in San Francisco 100 years ago, even if its roots go even deeper in France. A stack of lump crab, hard-cooked eggs, crisp green beans and slices of tomato rests on a chilled plate bearing the French 75 logo in soothing aquamarine.The dressing makes it a Louie, and yes, there's ketchup in it — because that's just how it's done. Bonanno's chef for the new project is Jacob Copeland, who has already done time at Luca, so there's a distinct continuity of quality to the menu, which also borrows a little from Mizuna (you guessed it: the lobster mac and cheese).

Banh mi are big news.EXPAND
Banh mi are big news.
Courtesy of Vinh Xuong Bakery

Vinh Xuong Bakery
2370 West Alameda Avenue
Banh mi are jalapeño-hot these days, so it's a good thing that longtime west Denver favorite Vinh Xuong announced that it will soon be adding an outpost in RiNo once the new Zeppelin Station project is complete. But you don't need to wait for winter to grab a tasty torpedo stuffed with grilled pork or other housemade meats, because the bakery is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. West-siders know where to get the goods, but those in trendier neighborhoods need only only step outside their usual boundaries for something traditional, tasty and truly Denver.

Here's our complete list of bar and restaurant openings and closings for the week:

Restaurants/Bars Opening This Week:*
Billy Sims BBQ, 2001 Sheridan Boulevard, Edgewater
Hedge Row, 100 Steele Street
Kung Fu Tea, 6365 East Hampden Avenue
Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que (inside Stanley Marketplace), 2501 Dallas Street, Aurora

Restaurants/Bars Reopening This Week:*
Las Delicias, 439 East 19th Avenue
LoHi Steakbar, 3200 Tejon Street

Restaurants/Bars Closing This Week:*
Mike's Bar & Grill, 2301 South Broadway
Santa Fe Cookie Co., 303 16th Street

*Or earlier, and listed in a previous Watch List.

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