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Departure’s excellent banh mi. Photo by Sarah Boyum.

Departure Denver Restaurant & Lounge

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Smooth as silk and filled with patrons wearing the same, Departure fits perfectly into its new digs in Cherry Creek. Imported from Portland, Oregon, by Sage Restaurant Group with culinary director Gregory Gourdet (of Top Chef fame) at the helm, the modern Asian restaurant has eased its way into our dining scene with an upscale vibe and intensely flavorful cooking that has never once, across multiple visits at different times of day, disappointed. Subtle cocktails like the Shaolin Moon (a riff on the old fashioned) hold their own against the outrageously tasty dishes prepared by Gourdet’s executive chef Khamla Vongsakoun. Don’t miss the power greens salad, fluffy shiitake bao, work-of-art chirashi bowl, sticky-spicy-sweet signature chicken wings, grilled tiger prawns, crispy whole bass, or fried rice in whatever variation you desire. Desserts are splendid, too. So put on your favorite dress—or don’t; you’re still in Denver, after all—and revel in Departure’s scenic and delectable fare. Halcyon Hotel, 249 Columbine St., 720-772-5020

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