The local culinary scene has never been brighter. This year’s crop of new restaurants is vibrant, relevant, and, above all, delicious. Book your table now.
Oak at Fourteenth
It’s difficult to tell the story of Oak at Fourteenth without referencing the fire that destroyed it. In fact, it would be unfair not to include the restaurant’s misfortune, since it defines the new Oak: The nine-month struggle to rebuild and refine resulted in a more focused and mature restaurant. You recognize it in the clean-lined, elegant dining room. You sense it in Bryan Dayton’s progressive cocktail program. You taste it in Steven Redzikowski’s assertive seasonal dishes. It’s confidence manifested on the plate—and it’s persuasive. Many dishes (the kale salad, the meatballs, the shrimp and grits) are holdovers from the original Oak, but now they appear more poised. This concentration of ideas and ingredients works for the new menu items, too. At lunch, the tuna tataki (so often cluttered and sloppy) is a picture of creative restraint: Fried green tomatoes buttress cool slices of yellowfin, slivers of cucumber, and bright, zesty herbs, microgreens, and celery leaves. The dish is exacting in flavor, but it’s approachable and buoyant—all apt descriptions for the restaurant itself.
Hot Seat: The main dining room is shaped like a triangle. Ask for the window seat in the corner farthest from the door.
Don’t Miss: Tender Belly pork loin with bacon-braised sweet potato and figs
1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622, oakatfourteenth.com