Best New Restaurants 2009
They are all hip, refined places to see—and be seen. But, most of all, the food is excellent. This winter, escape to one (or more) of Denver’s most fabulous new eateries for a meal that’s guaranteed to please your palate.
1441 Larimer St.
At his namesake restaurant, Troy Guard bills the menu as "continental social food"—a confounding description, until you realize this means that dishes are meant to be shared around the table. Guard's zesty eats pull from all over the globe, but more often than not it's Asian and Latin elements (yuzu, mole, chiles) that find cohesion. This isn't simple food; rather, it's multidimensional cuisine, with each layer building a profile necessary to the dish's success. That can make for tricky kitchen work, but the flavorful twists and turns work splendidly, if sometimes unexpectedly. Take the flash-seared Kona Kampachi bedecked with yuzu, jalapeño, ginger, and orange Pop Rocks. It sounds ridiculous, until you discover how the candy simulta-neously heightens the fish's sweetness and tames the jalapeño's fire. How Guard came up with that combination will certainly be dinner-table chatter, as will the stunning glassed-in wine cellar and the superb cocktails that include the Tabasco-hinting Amante Picante. If there's a drawback to TAG, it's the timing. Perhaps the time-consuming, multiflavored dishes are to blame. Or maybe the staff has been instructed to allow diners to linger between courses. But the pacing seems clumsy for such a polished restaurant—especially one with such creative and well-executed food.
Slip into one of the sultry red booths (transplanted from the erstwhile Mao restaurant) that offer privacy and a view of the wine cellar.
The flash-seared Kona Kampachi with Pop Rocks; French onion "soup" dumplings; achiote rabbit; Amante Picante cocktail
Did You Know?
The light fixtures in the main dining room are made from recycled milk cartons.