Best New Restaurants 2012

Our food scene has never been more vibrant, and with global street eats, Scandinavian-inspired cuisine, and modern comfort food, it’s a thrilling time to be a foodie in the Mile High City. Book a table at one of these eight newcomers—and taste the future of Denver dining.

March 2012


Trend: Upscale comfort food, Scandinavian influences

At just six months old, Charcoal is already an anchor in the Golden Triangle neighborhood. Not only did the restaurant replace a barely mediocre deli, but it also brought upscale, European-style eats to an area more accustomed to the casual vibes of Cuba Cuba and Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub. It does this elegantly with a modern space draped in sultry fabrics, dark wood, and a glass-enclosed wine case. Chef Jens Patrik Landberg’s cooking stands up to the gloss: Though we first tasted his homey European-style cuisine at the late Satchel’s Market, here he lets loose and shines. The menu is reminiscent of a steak house (and servers eagerly explain Charcoal’s use of bincho, a high-temperature, smokeless charcoal), but the food and presentation is much more nuanced than a slab of sizzling beef on a white plate. Landberg wraps striped bass in speck and serves it with an inventive sweet potato tortilla Española. He gets a perfect sear on the New York strip, adds Stilton crème, and tops it with a crispy sourdough onion ring. He bathes mussels in a spicy Hatch green chile–white wine broth and serves grilled pork loin with a flaky Roquefort biscuit. It’s in these small, surprising elements that Landberg’s passion for his craft truly shows.

43 W. Ninth Ave., 303-454-0000, charcoaldining.com

■ Opened: September 2011

■ Order this: Sourdough onion rings, bacon-wrapped dates, New York strip steak