Eating Adventures

The Westword Watch List: The Best Bites to Look for Next Week

The new carbonara pizza at Pizzeria Locale, whiich will only be available through the end of May.
The new carbonara pizza at Pizzeria Locale, whiich will only be available through the end of May. Mark Antonation
With food photos this tempting, we know you'll want to run out and eat these five dishes right now — but you'll have to wait a few days for all but one. You can eat your fill when three new restaurants open next Tuesday and Wednesday, or you can buy the good-looking pizza above any time in May and support a good cause in the process. If you can't wait until Monday, keep reading to find out which delicious dish is on a Denver menu today. After you've had your fill, find our complete list of restaurant openings and closings for April 23-28, 2017, at the bottom.
click to enlarge Southern shakshuka benefits from a helping of goat-cheese grits. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Southern shakshuka benefits from a helping of goat-cheese grits.
Danielle Lirette
Tupelo Honey
1650 Wewatta Street

The first in the trio of big openings next week is this Asheville, North Carolina, transplant, which comes toting traditional and modernized takes on Southern cuisine. Eggs are big on the menu, since the original Tupelo Honey, now seventeen years old, was founded on a breakfast-for-dinner concept. The menu now stretches beyond those confines, but when it comes to trying out new restaurants, go with what got them here in the first place. If that means fried chicken and pumpkin pancakes (you thought we were going to say waffles), be our guest. But our pick is the Southern shakshuka, a dish that starts with the Mediterranean classic of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce, and quickly heads South, twice. First, there are the goat-cheese grits that seem a natural addition to the typically starch-free shakshuka. Then there's the creole sauce, which gets the flame-red hue right, but ups the ante with crumbled andouille sausage. A fan of cooling avocado keeps the heat at bay for a well-balanced breakfast, even at night. Tupelo Honey kicks off service at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2.
click to enlarge These octopus-and-bacon risotto balls could be chef Lon Symensma's next big hit. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
These octopus-and-bacon risotto balls could be chef Lon Symensma's next big hit.
Danielle Lirette
Concourse Restaurant Moderne
10195 East 29th Drive
Concourse is chef Lon Symensma's third restaurant, and he's teamed up with an old friend from culinary school, Luke Bergman, to usher in a concise roster of small plates to an eagerly awaiting Stapleton neighborhood. The menu defies easy categorization, but Symensma has a couple of words he hopes will stick: "sexy" and "craveable." Both apply to a dish at his original restaurant, ChoLon; there, the French onion soup dumplings have been a draw as not only a signature dish, but as one of Denver's most iconic culinary creations. Bergman notes that dishes will change frequently at Concourse, but he and Symensma could have a hit that will stick around with the bacon-and-octopus risotto balls, a trio of cornmeal-crusted delicacies bathed in smoked-tomato butter. Spanish octopus and Tender Belly bacon give a surf-and-turf solidity to the creamy rice centers, while the sauce gets a deep, almost caramelized sweetness from tomatoes roasted until nearly candied, then touched with a whisper of smoke. The new restaurant opens on Wednesday, May 3, for breakfast and dinner; grab a housemade pastry and some Coda coffee beginning at 7 a.m. or come ’round for dinner starting at 5 p.m. Lunch will be added as of May 22.

click to enlarge Matzah soup dumplings — a Jewish/Chinese mashup. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Matzah soup dumplings — a Jewish/Chinese mashup.
Danielle Lirette
El Five
2930 Umatilla Street
Also opening on May 3, Justin Cucci's new homage to the number five (his fifth restaurant, on the fifth floor, with menu items clustered in groups of five). Inside, El Five resembles a cross between the club level of an Egyptian Hotel circa 1960 (read: lots of mirrored surfaces, geometric patterns and gold trim) and the closeout sale at a vintage movie-poster warehouse (also located somewhere in the Arabic world). Build a dinner of newfangled tapas, many of which stray far from Spanish shores into Morocco, Turkey, Israel — and even China, in the case of the matzah soup dumplings. These aren't dumplings you'd find in a Jewish grandmother's soup; they're xiaolongbao-style dumplings filled with soup. Pop one in your mouth for an explosion of savory chicken broth brightened with lemon-infused olive oil and dill. Get happy with your dumplings at happy hour, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m.

Keep reading for more of the
Westword watch list.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation