11. Oak at Fourteenth

Last year 11

Steven Redzikowski has a way with vegetables—you can see it at Acorn (number one on this list), and you also see it at Oak at Fourteenth. In fact, this past summer’s best veggie-focused dish was Oak’s Red Wagon Organic Farm fava beans: a smart salad that used the salt and chew of Ibérico chorizo and the creaminess of a feta-dashi custard to bind the tender, astringent flavors of favas, baby artichokes, and fennel. Redzikowski’s plating is gorgeous, and the presentation even elevates comfort-food dishes like shrimp and grits or a kale salad. Oak sits at the comfortable crossroads of upscale and casual, and it’s a place that works for all occasions: a drink after work, a night out with the girls, or a special birthday dinner. 1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622, oakatfourteenth.com

Order this: any of the seasonal vegetable dishes

(Read 5280’s review of Oak at Fourteenth from the August 2012 issue.)