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Izakaya Den’s toro with bronze fennel and heirloom tomato-white shoyu water. Photo by Matt Nager.

Izakaya Den

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Izakaya Den, the Kizaki brothers’ Japanese gastropub, and Sushi Den, their sushi shrine, could be considered two sides of one restaurant coin. After all, you can order the same raw fish at both spots—fish you likely won’t find on other menus in town—and you can, and should, dine at both sushi counters to watch chefs deftly slice and shape your meal. Servers are equally smooth and knowledgeable at both restaurants. The similarities do eventually end, though, with Izakaya Den accepting reservations (hallelujah!), offering a bamboo-lined, sky-lit second floor dining room (beautiful on warm fall evenings), and including a superb global small plates section on its menu. The refined weekly specials and those appetizers will take you on a joyride through Ranch, Sea, and Garden, as the menu reads, with the likes of miso-butter poached king crab, sake-steamed whole branzino or European sea bass, sweet pan-roasted day boat scallops with strawberries (in the spring), tomatoes (come summer), or Brussels sprouts leaves (in the fall), and tender octopus with wild mushrooms, parsnip purée, and crispy chicken skin. 1487-A S. Pearl St., 303-777-0691

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