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.
7 Fruition Restaurant (last year 5)
When Alex Seidel hired Stephanie Caraway, one of Food & Wine’s 2010 sommeliers of the year, he was making a statement. Fruition’s beverage program has never been its strength: The wine list accomplishes what it needs to but without aplomb—which is troublesome for a restaurant that regularly receives national attention. (For that matter, there’s little cocktail fluency either, which is a black mark in today’s drink-crazed culture.) The expectation is that Caraway will infuse the tiny space with a bottle selection worthy of Seidel’s thoughtful cooking. His best dishes are those that reflect his working farm and dairy in Larkspur. Less successful are those that don’t hew to Seidel’s typical subtlety, such as a corn dog–inspired, sausage-stuffed squash blossom. After a trying time for Seidel—he parted ways with co-owner Paul Attardi in December—the addition of Caraway signifies not only a new beginning but also a turning point. This partnership will also be on display at Seidel’s forthcoming restaurant at Union Station. 1313 E. Sixth Ave., 303-831-1962, fruitionrestaurant.com