Every spring for the past fourteen years, Denverites have packed the dining rooms of the city's restaurants to get in on Visit Denver's Denver Restaurant Week, which generally straddles February and March. But fewer people are aware that there's another week of restaurant deals that's nearly as old. First Bite has been Boulder's annual celebration of fine dining at a discount since 2005, and it returns this year from November 9-17, with more than fifty participating eateries offering three-course dinners for $34.
First Bite actually encompasses all of Boulder County, so you can stick with the People's Republic itself, or you can venture out into Erie, Lafayette, Longmont or Louisville. And this year, a few taprooms and counter-service joints are also offering $19 tasting menus. With so many options, how do you decide? Here are some ideas.
These restaurants have participated in First Bite since its inaugural year.
8735 North Foothills Highway, Boulder
The venerable Greenbriar, at just over fifty years old, is offering a choice of three appetizers, four entrees and three desserts, with seafood, vegetarian and beef options. Or splurge on bison steak for a $5 supplement.
The Boulder Cork
3295 30th Street, Boulder
Classic steakhouse bites await at the Cork, from Gulf shrimp cocktail to grilled salmon to crème brûlée. Consider a $3.99 upcharge a splurge and get the house prime rib.
101 Pratt Street, Longmont
Sugarbeet would fit right into the dining scene of many larger cities, so Longmont is fortunate to have it. Soup or salad, a choice of entrees (including a vegetarian king trumpet mushroom dish) and four desserts are being offered.
These establishments are all First Bite first-timers.
2014 10th Street, Boulder
This is the pan-Asian restaurant from Edwin Zoe, who also runs Zoe Ma Ma with his mom. A complete menu has not been announced for First Bite yet, but expect a wondrous assortment of Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian treats.
Avery Brewing Co.
4910 Nautilus Circle, Boulder
At 25 years old, Avery isn't new, just new to First Bite. And doesn't just make great beer; the company also serves great food. Choose from house favorites like gumbo, nacho poutine (!), smoked prime rib, and peanut butter pie.
Bin 46 Wine Bar & Restaurant
600 Longs Peak Avenue, Longmont
Chef/owner Candy Campbell has been turning out wine-friendly food for three and a half years in Longmont. Her First Bite menu hasn't been completed yet, but we're hoping for some sumptuous Bin 46 wagyu beef ravioli.
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If you're not ready to commit to a full tasting menu, here are a couple of alternatives.
1380 Horizon Avenue
This farmhouse eatery and cider brewery is offering charred red kuri squash with bagna cauda and gremolata paired with four 2.5-ounce cider pours for $19.
For something casual but delicious, stop into your neighborhood Snarf's and get two seven-inch sandwiches, two bags of chips, two drinks and two chocolate-chip cookies for $19.
See the complete list of participating restaurants on the First Bite website. Menus are still being added, so peruse the roster, then book your reservations at your favorite picks.