New Denver restaurants show how much the scene has changed since Mimi Sheraton's day

Over the weekend I finished Mimi Sheraton's memoir, Eating My Words. While it wasn't as entertaining as Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone, the book had no trouble holding my attention, especially the parts about her role as restaurant critic for the New York Times. I knew I'd be interested in the descriptions of her craft -- how she chose her dining companions, what led her to take a star away from the likes of Le Cirque, how she tested a restaurant's hospitality, etc. But just as intriguing was her window onto a restaurant industry that has changed dramatically in the past forty years. See also: First look at Atticus, a quintessential neighborhood restaurant During her tenure in the 1970s and '80s, top chefs tended to be French, and top restaurants tended to be destinations.

How times have changed. In Denver as elsewhere across the country, lines have blurred between neighborhood and destination restaurants, and French cuisine no longer reigns, at least not in terms of finished product. (Technique, however, remains every bit as classic.) The success of The Plimoth and Work & Class are proof of how different our world is than the one captured by Sheraton.

What does their success mean for newcomers such as Atticus, a neighborhood spot with high aspirations? Find out when my review of Atticus is posted here tomorrow.

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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz