Best New Restaurants 2014

March 2014


Neighborhood: RiNo

Opened: September 2013 


Opening an offshoot of a popular restaurant can often be a mixed blessing. But there’s nothing “mixed” about Acorn, the RiNo restaurant from executive chef Steven Redzikowski and beverage director Bryan Dayton. In just six months, Acorn has defined itself as its own entity, even as it continues to build on the wood-fired cuisine of Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, which Redzikowski and Dayton own, too. There are a handful of dishes that hail from the mother ship—namely, Oak’s kale salad, shrimp and grits, and tomato-braised meatballs—but the rest of the menu is original and complements Acorn’s urban and contemporary vibe. Against the background of graffiti walls in a refabbed 1800s warehouse, dishes come family style but with the finesse of a white-tablecloth restaurant. The brilliant food (oh-so-trendy hamachi collar, tender smoked duck, beautifully braised octopus), the unexpected space, and the casual, jeans-clad waitstaff are cohesive. Dayton’s beverage program, which offers wildly inventive cocktails that range from alcohol-free to low-booze to high-octane, is another high point. Come with a crowd and order the crispy cumin-spiced bone-in pork shoulder. The 56-ounce cut generously serves four or five (with leftovers), and you’ll talk about it for months. 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721, denveracorn.com


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