After countless lunches and dinners, tens of thousands of calories, and hours of careful deliberation and debate, our fourth annual ranking of the Denver area’s best restaurants is complete. Dig in for a comprehensive, of-the-moment snapshot of the local dining scene.
11 Oak at Fourteenth (last year 21)
How do you take an oddly shaped, asymmetrical space and make it feel generous and inviting? You embrace Oak at Fourteenth’s technique of contrasting elegant grays with planks of polished oak. You line the back wall with a long bar top that invites you to sip a drink or settle in for a meal. And, most important, you allow the floor-to-ceiling windows to flood the dining room with light. The kitchen does its job by sending out refined dishes touched with oak-wood smoke, which imparts the best of comfort food in each bite. Take chef Steven Redzikowski’s wood oven–roasted beef bones, slick with marrow jam and balanced with tangy anchovy chimichurri and a bright herb salad. Or the charred-scallion mustard sauce that nudges a bacon-wrapped pork loin into the fine-dining category. This is food that’s not meant to be serious (crispy fried pickles with green goddess aïoli), and yet the dishes are so perfectly conceived that they become significant. Bonus: Don’t miss Acorn, Oak at Fourteenth’s Denver offshoot, which recently opened at the Source. 1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622, oakatfourteenth.com