Monday, 4 Dec 2023

Where to eat in Denver from Michelin-recommended restaurants, chefs

While it might be difficult to get a reservation at Denver’s three newly Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s still plenty of Michelin love to go around.

In addition to Michelin-starred Bruto, The Wolf’s Tailor and Beckon, Denver is now home to eight out of nine Bib Gourmand restaurants and 15 out of 30 Michelin-recommended restaurants. All of these are different categories, with the stars being the highest honor.

Recommended restaurants mean that the guidebook’s reviewers felt they enjoyed a good meal with quality ingredients, according to Michelin. But not at the same level as the stars.

Still, there’s no better time to be eating around town and indulging in the restaurants that are putting Denver’s food scene on the map. Here are three of my favorite recent bites from Michelin-recommended restaurants around the Mile High City:

Temaki Den: Salmon oshizushi

You can’t go wrong with anything on Temaki Den’s menu. But once you pop a piece of salmon oshizushi in your mouth, you’ll already be booking your next reservation. This restaurant, from the team behind Sushi Den, opened in the lobby of The Source Market Hall in 2020 and has quickly gotten attention. It was the only restaurant in the Sushi Den family to be recognized by Michelin.

I walked in without a reservation recently and was quickly seated at the sleek back bar, dubbed Bar Ikki, which is first-come-first-serve and ordered the salmon oshizushi, a pressed piece of nigiri with salmon in the middle and on top ($4 per piece). It is topped with Temaki Den’s house-blended soy sauce and soy aioli, and then torched. The smokey flavor adds complexity to the usual bite of nigiri that focuses on the quality of the fish and the flavor profiles of the rice. I could have eaten 20, and our server told us that some guests do.

3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver; temakiden.com

A5 Steakhouse: Chickpea fries

A5 Steakhouse puts an emphasis on sourcing high-quality beef, like its Japanese A5 Wagyu striploin. But even vegetarians can enjoy the playful menu.

For instance, the chickpea fries ($12), which are an appetizer, came glistening with honey and stacked like French toast sticks. These are a popular street snack, known as panisse, in the south of France, and A5’s had a crispy golden exterior and creamy center stuffed with Calabrian chile and spring garlic. The Chickpea fries are served with a side of lemon aioli to balance out the spice with a bit of acidity and sweetness.

1600 15th St., Denver; a5denver.com

Guard and Grace: Triple chocolate chip cookies

I try to mix my order up every time I go to Guard and Grace, so I can eventually make my way through the contemporary steakhouse’s entire menu of steaks and seafood. But there’s one thing I must order at the end of every dinner, and that’s the warm triple chocolate chip cookies, which are served by the dozen. “More people probably talk about the cookies than the steak,” owner and Denver restaurateur Troy Guard said.

Guard wanted to honor his late mother, whose grandkids called her “Grandma Cookie” and based the recipe off of one of hers. The cookies are about the size of a golf ball, and each one basically has a pad of butter in it that melts into the chocolate with each perfectly salty-sweet bite. The best part about it is you can box the extras up, and let friends or family enjoy (if you’re feeling generous enough).

1801 California St., Denver; guardandgrace.com 

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