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.

December 2009

Venue Bistro

3609 W. 32nd Ave.

When Venue's chef, James Rugile, creates a dish, he thinks it all the way through to the end. Take the mussels appetizer: He lines the bottom of a serving plate with artisanal bread to soak up the rich tarragon, chorizo, and oven-roasted tomato broth. Guaranteed: You'll fight over the last bites of saturated crust. Throughout his menus, Rugile has a knack for taking ordinary-sounding ingredients (the mussels are a prime example), and spinning them into something extraordinary. He swirls grits with gooey Emmentaler cheese, pairs gnocchi with acorn squash and crunchy pepitas, and even turns mundane walleye into a sinful entrée of crispy fish, potato noodles, and bacon vinaigrette. Rugile's brand of cuisine could be labeled progressive comfort food—and his skills are perfectly suited to turning out time-consuming, meticulous dishes that feel anything but fussy. All the more impressive is that Rugile is just 25 years old. The chef and his understated cuisine are perfectly matched to owner (and trained chef) Holly Hartnett's modest Highland dining room.

Hot Seat
Along the wall, under the black-and-white photo of the chef's knife.

Don't Miss
Mussels; lamb shank tagliatelle; shrimp and grits; crispy walleye

Did You Know?
Before opening Venue, owner Holly Hartnett managed Table 6 for several years.