After reviewing Hana Japanese Bistro, Laura Shunk served up her list of "Denver's five best Japanese restaurants," places that serve not just sushi, but excellent, authentic dishes from Japan's much broader culinary canon.
The list inspired the usual quibbles -- why is this on it? why not that? -- as well as another round of geographic arguments, since two of her choices were on the very edge of the Denver market: in Louisville and Niwot. And, then, of course, there's Amu...in Boulder.
This is a losing battle. Westword has been doing this for a long time now. The main problem is not with Westword though; we are a commuter society based in a sprawling metropolis of linked suburbs and towns. What do we call the area? Maybe Westword should run a contest to name the metropolitan area that covers Denver, Aurora, Boulder, Greenwood Village, Lakewood, Louisville, Westminster, Broomfield, etc. Either that or we can just understand up front that when Westword says "Denver," they mean "the Denver greater metropolitan area."
Where should Westword draw the line? At Sheridan? At Yosemite? Unlike sprawling Phoenix, for example, the actual city of Denver is very limited in both physical size and population -- which accounts for only about a sixth of the "Denver greater metropolitan area." We've always used the marketing definition of Denver, with the city as the hub of a seven-county metroplex, to guide both our coverage and circulation. (And sorry, Boulder, but when you're considering entertainment options in this area, Boulder is not a separate Republic.) Still, we're open to options: What would you call the "Denver greater metropolitan area"?
As for traveling to Louisville for dinner: At least it's easier than going to Japan.
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