If there's one thing we respect about the Kitchen (aside from chef and co-owner Hugo Matheson's simple-is-best cuisine, the stripped down decor, and the commitment to sustainable practices), it's the restaurant's earnestness. "When we serve a pork chop with polenta, it's a pork chop with polenta," co-owner Kimbal Musk says. "There's nothing to hide behind. Simplicity—it's the hardest thing to do."
When the Kitchen Denver officially opens today (not coincidentally on the first day of Spring), diners will get a taste of that sincerity. For those who just want a good meal (no preaching, please), you'll find that in spades. But for those interested in the Kitchen's overarching philosophy—and its action plan—check out Musk's TEDxBoulder talk.
This is a restaurant with a multipronged mission: First and foremost, serve excellent food. Second, use that food as a means of education, change, and action. You see, the Kitchen straddles the line of restaurant, community supporter, and public forum. It not only champions its ranchers, farmers, and purveyors, it commits to them. As an example, every week Musk procures two cows (for the Boulder restaurant) and likely two more for Denver. The same goes for a set amount of greens purchased from Cure Organic Farm. This translates into a menu that changes daily. (There are only so many prime cuts, off cuts, and burgers that can be gleaned from each cow; and there will be greens on the menu whether they're tender baby leaves or more hearty and toothsome). The end point: diners receive quality food and the purveyors are assured a known quantity.
And Community Night (every Monday evening in the Wine Room, $49) furthers this big idea of connecting. Each week, the Kitchen will invite one rancher, farmer, brewer, etc. to tell his or her story over dinner. The first of these events takes place March 26 and will feature Matheson. Twenty percent of ticket sales each week go to help plant gardens in local Denver schools—another of the Kitchen's objectives.
1530 16th St., 303-623-3127