101 Dining Experiences Every Denverite Must Have

March 2007

Steuben's serves the best of American comfort food, be it an authentic Maine lobster roll or dreamy butterscotch pudding. But may we suggest the meatloaf? One catch: It's only available on Tuesdays. What makes the dish worth a special trip: chefs Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman's divine combo of ground beef, veal, and bacon. 523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001

Throw on the retro fur or don your basic black and head to Deluxe, a moody urban eatery on Broadway where chef-owner Dylan Moore's California cuisine cuts through the fanfare and gets real. Cozy up to the copper-topped bar and watch the kitchen send out dishes like the five-spiced ribs, whose riches and complexity unfold like fine wine. Top off dinner with a chocolate-chip ice cream sandwich. 30 S. Broadway, 303-722-1550

Take the kids to lunch at Oshima Ramen for a round of the "super oshima ramen" with miso base, fresh noodles, tender gyoza noodles, and mounds of paper-thin pork. Follow it up with a scoop of ginger ice cream. Children love to sit at the round table, where they can scribble on the walls (it's encouraged) and order Ramune soda pop with marbles inside the bottle. Cool. 7800 E. Hampden Ave., 720-482-0264

Adults aren't the only ones enamored with Tula Latin Bistro—the shorter set adores it too. Lounge on the comfy ostrich banquette and order up kid-approved mac-n-cheese, followed by Mexican animal cookies dipped in warm cajeta caramel. 250 Josephine St., 303-377-3488

After hours and still hungry? Step into the denlike bar at Cherry Creek's Sketch Food and Wine for one last pour and the homemade chicken pot pie. The flaky crust and the familiar flavors will wrap up the evening with a cozy finale. 250 Steele St., 303-333-1763

How do you plan a night at the Denver Center and feel like a VIP? Beat the crowds by arriving at 5 p.m. and valet park across the street at the Hotel Teatro. Dine on Restaurant Kevin Taylor's pre-theater menu, with dishes such as roast pavé of Atlantic salmon with black truffle sauce or vanilla-glazed lobster. Both are sure to warrant the night's first standing ovation. 1106 14th St., 303-820-2600

Not only is Table 6 open on Monday nights, the slow day is also an ideal time to book the private dining room for a wine pairing dinner. Call ahead to ask general manager and sommelier Aaron Forman how to create a special evening to match wine to your food or vice versa. 609 Corona St., 303-831-8800

At Pulcinella Ristorante's wine dinners, forget about meeting a mere wine rep—this Lafayette restaurant flies Italian winemakers straight from Piedmont. The vintners arrive with recipes in hand and their best bottles in tow. 300 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 303-604-2888

Pop into La Casa de Manuel at lunchtime for friendly service and an order of wet burritos bathed in fiery green chile. Choose the shredded beef version with its spicy/savory filling topped with cheese, lettuce, and fresh tomato. 3158 Larimer St., 303-295-1752

Boulder commuters should swing by Dish Gourmet for a gourmet sandwich that can be eaten with one hand on the wheel. The "Which Came First?" comes on freshly baked ciabatta that hugs two farm-fresh eggs, Long Family Farm bacon, and melted Muenster cheese. 1918 Pearl St., Boulder, 720-565-5933

It may not be an English pub, but Mirepoix dishes up a mean fish and chips. Fresh black cod is coated with a Fat Tire batter and quickly fried so the puffy coating seals in the fish's freshness. A side of Parmesan-rosemary frites and homemade caper tartar sauce adds the proper pungency and seasoning. 150 Clayton Lane, 303-253-3000

Reserve the Buckhorn Exchange's front alcove and soak in the 114-year history. Dine on buffalo prime rib, then stroll past the countless animal trophies to the upstairs bar and catch Roz Brown's live "music for old goats." (Take the light-rail train to the Buckhorn—it has its own stop.) 1000 Osage St., 303-534-9505

Burnt Toast captures the same funky vibe that Dot's Diner used to have during its glory days in the old gas station on Pearl Street. Order a pot of coffee, a plate of Erin's Eggs (scrambled and placed on a bed of sautéed onions and zucchini, served with a hot biscuit), and settle in by the sunny windows to read the paper, digest some poetry, or write your socialist manifesto. 1235 Pennsylvania Ave., Boulder, 303-440-5200

You can taste The Kitchen's farm-to-table philosophy in the simple, rustic fare. Savor the sea in Ingrid's mussels, or lap up the off-the-vine freshness of creamy tomato soup. Hint: Bring the kids in at 6 p.m. on a summer night when local produce is at its peak. 1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973

Commandeer the horseshoe countertop at Sushi Tora on Thursday nights, when chef Mora-san gets his freshest fish flown in from Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market. Arrive at 9 p.m., order the omakase, and listen carefully as he describes each dish coming across the sushi bar. Make a special request for sea urchin and surf clam. 2014 10th St., Boulder, 303-444-2280