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The hottest spot at Coperta? A seat at the mozzarella bar. —Photo by Sarah Boyum

Where We’re Eating in October

The restaurants, dishes, and drinks on our dining radar.

By , |

COPERTA

Over the years, siblings Paul and Aileen Reilly’s dedication to their Uptown bistro, Beast & Bottle, has inspired loyal fans. Coperta, their three-month-old venture on 20th Avenue, will likely do the same with a menu replete with the traditional dishes of Rome and Southern Italy. Look for cacio e pepe, fritto misto, and Salerno-style lemons stuffed with anchovies, basil, and Scamorza cheese—all items steeped in tradition. At Coperta, they’re filtered through a modern lens (cacio e pepe nabs richness from two types of pecorino; the fritto misto includes a whole whiting fish; and the stuffed lemons are encased in rinds instead of lemon leaves). Order what you will, but don’t miss the five-seat mozz bar, which offers a front-and-center view of the chefs pulling fresh mozzarella to order and assembling antipasti. 400 E. 20th Ave., 720-749-4666, copertadenver.com

THE REGIONAL

Kevin Grossi’s three-month-old restaurant, the Regional, is an ode to American comfort food. Before opening his eatery inside Avanti Food & Beverage, Grossi took a monthlong, 13-city road trip from Asheville, North Carolina, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the South to Kansas City, Missouri, and Detroit in the Midwest. Along the way he researched—i.e., tasted—the dishes central to those places. Upon returning to Denver, Grossi began cooking his own versions of the beloved foods. Consider the Regional’s menu a road trip of its own, with items like a Great Lakes fish sandwich (Michigan), shrimp and grits (Georgia), and spicy fried chicken (Tennessee). 3200 Pecos St., 303-842-4094, theregionalfood.com

Sandwich from The Regional —Photo by Sarah Boyum

PALENQUE MEZCALERIA

Don’t bother looking for a drink menu at six-month-old Palenque Mezcaleria—there isn’t one. When you visit Colorado’s first mezcaleria (it’s tucked behind sister restaurant Adelita’s Cocina Y Cantina), let the staff guide you through the hundred-plus bottles lining its shelves. While there are a couple of house cocktails (a margarita and a paloma), this is the place to sip the smoky agave spirit straight. Coveted boutique mezcals (like the extremely small-batch El Jolgorio Tobaziche, made from wild agave plants) are all sold by the ounce (ranging in price from $5 to $37) to encourage explorative sipping. Once you’ve got a glass in hand, dig into Oaxacan specialties like the salsa de frijoles, a blend of vegetarian refried beans, chorizo, onions, and garlic covered in Oaxaca cheese and served with chips. Bonus: Go on Mondays when all mezcals are half-price. 13 Lousiana Ave., 303-997-5359, palenquemezcaleria.com

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