Dining Reviews

September 2006

1. High Hopes
By Carol W. Maybach
Altitude Restaurant
(out of 4 stars)
650 15th St. (in the Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center)
The Draw
Stunning architecture a stone’s throw from the Convention Center.
The Drawback
Beautiful presentations only go so far—many dishes are flavorless (and expensive); limited wines by bottle and glass.
Don't Miss
The seared duck breast with white truffle gnocchi, roasted figs, and fig jus.
Vegetarian Options
Tomato bruschetta, fettucine with wild mushrooms.

If architectural eye candy were edible, diners at Altitude Restaurant would leave the table completely satiated. Wrapped in earth tones, the tony eatery sits on the ground floor of the new 37-story, neomodernist Hyatt Regency. The hotel’s proximity to the Colorado Convention Center prompted hotel-industry consultant Mike Cahill to declare that the gleaming skyscraper “will have the biggest impact of this decade on the Denver hotel market.” That’s all well and good, but can Head Chef Cheryl Scantlebury’s cuisine measure up to the enormous expectations, the Hyatt’s $2.5 million art collection, or the $285 million edifice?

While walking into the hotel, dinner guests can feast their eyes on one of this city’s most creative interpretations of the Colorado landscape. A 70-foot “glass canyon” of floor-to-ceiling windows floods the lobby’s atrium with Colorado sunshine while thick panels of limestone suggest the earth’s layers and offset stone walls and floor patterns signify the plate tectonics at work on our land.

2. Back for more... at Ristorante Amore
By Kazia Jankowski
Ristorante Amore
(out of 4 stars)
2355 E. Third Ave., 303-321-2066
Must-Try New Dishes
Panini d’salcicce, blueberry coffeecake
Old Favorites
Gnocchi, panna cotta

Then: When critic Rachael Graves reviewed Ristorante Amore’s classic Italian food in 2004, she found the gnocchi principessa with rich Gorgonzola sauce to be the perfect dish. She savored each bite of potato dumpling draped with paper-thin prosciutto and decadent cream sauce. She was similarly impressed with the bistecca della casa, mussels in white wine and butter, and a delicate berry-topped panna cotta. Graves could find no real faults, and she awarded Amore’s food and quiet atmosphere three and a half stars. That was two years ago, and we decided to check back in to see if the restaurant’s reputation for consistent food and service still rang true.
Now: “Oh, it’s you again,” smiles my fortysomething waitress. I sink into a green, wire-mesh patio chair, pretty sure that this well-meaning server has caught on to me. I’ve spent the last week eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this Cherry Creek corner restaurant. When I order the same glass of chilled California Chardonnay ($8) I had last time, my server, without suspicion or hesitation, turns back into the gray, booth-lined dining room. I haven’t fazed her. I glance around, glimpsing a gray-haired couple holding wine glasses and two primped, polo-shirt-clad young mothers, and realize I’m surrounded by regulars who appreciate a server who remembers their presence and favorite dish.