Elway's Downtown 1881 Curtis St. (in the Ritz-Carlton, Denver), 303-312-3107, www.elways.com
You can learn a lot from watching a chef handle a knife. A few glances offer a window into the dedication (or not) with which your meal is made. This is especially true for sushi chefs, who must aim for perfection with every stroke. At Elway's Downtown, an order of the striped bass usuzukuri showcases sushi chef Jake Rand's studied precision. This usuzukuri technique, which means "thin slice" in Japanese, is a test of how sharp the chef keeps his knife and how skillfully he uses it. To achieve optimal texture and taste, the goal is to slice the striped bass as finely as possible (paper-thin is ideal) without breaking the molecular structure. Here, Rand presents the jewel-like sashimi, seasoned with ponzo and chives, over a glistening bed of ice.