What an embarrassment of riches 2014 has already yielded. Narrowing down every spectacular thing we’ve sampled in the past six months to just 10 (ok, 11) would have been impossible without some ground rules. One: we limited our boundaries to Denver proper (sorry, Aurum and D’Angelo’s Italian Deli). Two: the dishes had to be new to menus this year — unlike, say, La Calle’s unforgettable tacos de cueritos and East Asia Garden’s tofu and black eggs. Three: they also had to be currently available to you, dear reader. That meant excluding To the Wind’s chicken and dumplings and pretty much anything on Lower48 Kitchen‘s exquisite but constantly changing menu, as well as overlooking this tonkotsu ramen (at least until Jeff Osaka’s upcoming noodle shop sets an opening date). Yet after all that, we were still left with a plethora of creations that will drop your jaw and blow your mind.
Photo by: Mark Piscotty
Billi Bi at Stoic & Genuine
Why We Love It: Ok, ok — we’re stretching the definition of “currently” here, since one of the most-anticipated restaurants of the year hasn’t arrived yet. But as of next week (probably July 9), when Jennifer Jasinski, Beth Gruitch, Jorel Pierce and crew throw open to the doors to their surefire seafood smash (we were lucky enough to have a preview), you’d better be ready to grab that slab of grilled ciabatta and sop up every last drop of this ultrarich, mysteriously exotic Bangs Island mussel soup. Union Station; 303-640-3474
Butterscotch Tart at Guard and Grace
Why We Love It: You can call Troy Guard’s new Downtown destination a steakhouse if you like. We call it the whole package, from the raw bar and wine cellar to the fantastic desserts. A steel-cut oat crust and a dash of actual scotch sharpen this exemplary tart’s creamy, dreamy contours of brown sugar, Tahitian vanilla and milk chocolate. 1801 California St.; 303-293-8500
By Ruth Tobias
June 30, 2014