Eating Adventures

Westword Watch List: The First Thing You Should Eat at These Three Restaurants

Say good morning to a healthy breakfast at Stella's.
Say good morning to a healthy breakfast at Stella's. Danielle Lirette
If you have to be first, here are two restaurants set to open today and Monday. Armed with our recommendations, you'll be able to stride in and confidently state your order for a first course that will elicit an "excellent choice" from your server. Or start out your day first thing with a taste of something vibrant and packed with textures to wake up the senses. Whether you want to be first in line for breakfast or don't want to settle for second best, here are our first-class picks for the week. After that, check out our complete list of restaurant openings and closings for the week of July 3 to July 7, 2017.

click to enlarge Wood-roasted artichoke with caramelized leeks and olives. - MARK ANTONATION
Wood-roasted artichoke with caramelized leeks and olives.
Mark Antonation
Hedge Row
100 Steele Street
The latest from the team that brought Boulder and Denver the Kitchen, the Kitchen Upstairs and Next Door will unveil Hedge Row to the public on Monday, July 10. Chief among missions at the Cherry Creek eatery is wood-fired cooking and plenty of TLC with the produce. So the first thing you should order when you sit down (after a cocktail, that is) is something from the "Vegetables" section of the menu: the whole roasted artichoke, which captures the spirit of the place with each luxurious bite. Crisp-edged artichoke petals are splayed out to encompass a mound of soft-cooked leeks, olives and garlic, some nearly charred by the heat of oak coals. Dig through to the bottom to uncover a hidden treasure: the heart of the artichoke caramelized on the underside and nearly turned to confit on top from the olive oil that trickles through the tangle of toppings when the whole nest is cooked. Monday seems so far away when this vision is in our minds.

click to enlarge Mustard seeds complete the pastrami effect on this short-rib dish. - MARK ANTONATION
Mustard seeds complete the pastrami effect on this short-rib dish.
Mark Antonation
Hickory & Ash
8001 Arista Place, Broomfield
You won't have to wait until Monday for this bite: The newest eatery from up-and-coming chef Ryan Taylor and his dad, Kevin (whom you may have heard of, too), opens tonight in the shadow of Broomfield's 1STBANK Center. What to order first? At a restaurant that bills itself as a "meatery," even your appetizer should show respect to the steer (whose skulls stare down at you as you peruse the menu). Go with the pastrami short rib, which turns fat-striped cubes of beef into a kind of Picasso-esque rendering of a deli sandwich. Brussels sprouts stand in for sauerkraut, pickled mustard seeds offer a more elegant alternative to the yellow stuff, and pumpernickel hanks add that requisite rye element. The short rib itself shreds easily with a fork and absorbs a golden purée that we promise is nothing like sweet, gloppy Thousand Island dressing. Hickory & Ash is the perfect place to warm up with a little meat before you dive into your steak.

click to enlarge Make this the first thing you eat in the morning at Stella's on 16th. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Make this the first thing you eat in the morning at Stella's on 16th.
Danielle Lirette
Stella's on 16th
1550 Wewatta Street

Indulgent dishes are easy to recommend; after all, the yummy stuff — the comforting combos of fat, salt and sugar — are heady bait for restaurant-goers. But if you're going to be a regular somewhere, finding a favorite dish that can power you through a day several times a week is probably more mature of an option than doughnuts or fried breakfast meats. And Stella's, which starts serving morning meals at 7:30 a.m on weekdays, is the kind of place where you could easily become a frequent flyer. Gretchen Kurtz, in her review of the all-day restaurant this week, writes "props to chef Thach Tran for recognizing that not everyone wants sausage, eggs and potatoes in the morning." So the first thing you'll want to order, more than once a week, is the acai bowl, loaded with dark, sweet fruit, granola, shredded coconut and almonds. Eating healthy never felt so indulgent.

Now, here are the week's restaurant openings and closings:

Restaurants Opening This Week:*
Bambu Desserts & Drinks, 2058 South University Boulevard
Hickory & Ash, 8001 Arista Place, Broomfield
Gerard's Pool Hall, 1306 26th Street
Menya Ramen & Poke, 1590 Little Raven Street
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, 1108 Corporal Max Donahue Lane, Highlands Ranch

Restaurants Temporarily Closing This Week:*
Bourbon Grill (Moving to 571 East Colfax), 1618 East Colfax Avenue

*Or earlier, and not reported in a previous Watch List.
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