Oh, happy day: The Kitchen [Upstairs] makes even the worst day better

The Place: The Kitchen's [Upstairs], 1039 Pearl Street, Boulder, 303-544-0092

The Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m

The Deals: Wine, cocktails, and beer, $3-5; small plates, $3-6; cheese and charcuterie boards, $13.

The Digs: The Kitchen [Upstairs] provides a relaxing asylum from the touristy hustle and bustle of Boulder's Pearl Street Mall. It's a sophisticated refuge that's simple and unpretentious, and if you arrive early enough, you can snag a seat by the windows and reward yourself with a fabulous view of the Flatirons and a bird's eye glimpse of the street scene below. The community table is an alluring option for larger parties, and the spacious open bar is lovely, too.

The Verdict: The "Tasting Hour" at The Kitchen [Upstairs] didn't let us down -- not even a little bit. In fact, if we lived closer to this awesome establishment, we'd probably be there grubbing pâté on a daily basis. For a small savory treat, try the mac n' cheese ($3), a small dish of creamy, cheesy deliciousness topped with toasted breadcrumbs, just like your mom made. The charcuterie board ($13) flew us over the moon with its brilliant array of pork terrine, prosciutto, pâté and housemade preserves. The service was phenomenal, too, and the staff seemed genuinely stoked to be there. Added bonus, The Kitchen [Upstairs] also has discounted dessert plates. Take our advice and order the sticky toffee pudding ($5) and a Sessions Black Lager ($3). You can thank us later.

Overall Grade: A

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