I've written a hundred reviews since becoming the restaurant critic atWestword
. To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to give a shout-out to the kitchens and teams that have made dining out so memorable over the past two years -- not just for me, but for all of us who appreciate the quality and diversity of Denver's robust food scene.
Of the thousands of plates that have come my way, I've selected twenty that deserve a spot in the highlights reel. These are the ones I find myself thinking about when a similar dish is put before me, the ones I'd gladly eat over and again. One of them is a summery bruschetta that I enjoyed long ago, while preparing for my first review of The Kitchen Denver. Another is an appetizer that bumped another leading contender at the buzzer; you'll read more about that dish, and the restaurant it came from, in my review of Barolo Grill tomorrow. Of the twenty, most are (sadly) no longer available, a sign of seasonality and the speed at which menus change -- but at least the kitchens that made them are still open (with the exception of Twelve, which closed last month). And you can still order seven of my favorite dishes, which appear at the end of this otherwise alphabetized list. So keep reading -- and be prepared to get hungry. See also: Five Behind-the-Scenes Takes on Being a Restaurant Critic, After 100 Reviews
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20) Acorn Tempura-fried snapper with farro and a Thai-inspired sauce of chiles, basil, mint and cilantro. 19) bang! Coconut cream pie. 18) Beast + Bottle Bangs Island mussels with celery root puree, shallots, garlic, wine and cream. 17) Harman's eat & drink Roasted beet salad with chickpeas, oranges and feta. 16) Il Posto Risotto with beets, kale and gorgonzola. Keep reading for fifteen more favorite dishes. 15) Lower48 Kitchen Wild mushroom salad with pear-walnut puree, pickled carrots, braised and raw radishes, celery and pear. 14) Oak at Fourteenth Crispy farm egg with wild mushrooms and chicken confit. 13) The Plimoth Pear tarte Bourdaloue. 12) The Populist Broken duck cubano with gruyere, cornichons and dots of Dijon. 11) Squeaky Bean A soup-like appetizer of red kuri squash with pear, granola and curry, with a pitcher of warm, frothy milk poured tableside. Keep reading for ten more favorite dishes. 10) Tables Crispy chicken with cherry-fennel panzanella. 9) To the Wind Bistro Escargot empanadas 8) Twelve Scallops with persimmons, bacon and butternut squash. Keep reading for the seven favorite dishes that are still available. 7) Barolo Grill Hazelnut-crusted prawns with wild rice and chanterelle puree. 6) Gozo Wood-oven clams with spicy chorizo and chickpeas. 5) Humboldt Grass-fed burger with bacon, onion jam and cheddar on a sweet brioche. 4) The Kitchen Denver Burrata and peach bruschetta. Keep reading for our last three favorite dishes. 3) Rincon Argentino Pollo empanada with paprika and green olives. 2) Thai Monkey Club Green curry. 1) Work & Class Cochinita pibil.