The Mile-High dining scene has never been hotter, and this year was one for the record books. Our definitive list of Denver's 10 best new eateries.
Black Cat Bistro
1964 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-9110, www.blackcatboulder.com
When Boulder's Black Cat Bistro opens for service each night, diners can be assured that the produce, dairy, and meats were sourced from nearby farms—sometimes even from executive chef Eric Skokan's backyard. His organically grown herbs, veggies, and fruit—and eggs produced by the family-raised hens—all find their way onto his restaurant's menu. Skokan cooks as a gardener harvests, eating and preparing only what's in season.
Skokan trained at vegetarian and organic restaurants in San Francisco (Valentine's Café) and Washington, D.C. (Nora's), before landing in Colorado as head chef for Alice's Restaurant at the Gold Lake Mountain Resort and Spa. Now, at Black Cat (his first restaurant) Skokan focuses on classic European recipes—building upon individual flavors, intensifying each ingredient, and then adding just enough contrast to make the dish interesting while keeping it uncluttered. Diners, while tucked into cushy booths in the intimate dining room, sip on boutique wines and pluck bites from assorted plates that deliver Skokan's own brand of magic.
Black Cat's dessert menu further tempts with choices such as a luxurious flourless chocolate cake and delicate panna cotta, but we opt for the ice creams made by Skokan's own Hatton Creamy. These delicious, organic treats come in unusual flavors, but it's the malted milk ice cream—served with a pitcher of white chocolate for drizzling—that brings the meal to an end sweetly and slowly.
Opened October 2006
Best Bites Slow-braised Highland beef with roasted corn risotto, tomatoes, and bordelaise sauce
Hot Seat Call ahead to reserve the private booth in the back of the dining room—it feels like a fortune teller's table.
Don't Miss The five- or seven-course tasting menus. Bonus: Chef Skokan often throws in extra dishes simply because he can't resist cooking something specially for you.