May 16 2006, 10:00 PM
UPDATE: CHEF ROLLIE WESEN RAISES THE BAR
In the nine months it's been open, Via, the Italian restaurant in the old Brasserie Rouge space, has gone through its fair share of chef changes. The LoDo eatery opened with Andrea Frizzi at the helm but he has since left to open Il Posto (which comes to Uptown in July). Then, after several months of Anthony Momo manning the burners, chef Rollie Wesen took charge of the kitchen in late March. To vet Via's strengths and weaknesses (and to learn diners' preferences), Wesen cooked Momo's food for several weeks before he began fiddling. With the exception on the wood-fired pizzas, Wesen has since revamped the menu to be more modern and small-plate inspired than traditional Italian. Capture the best of Via by ordering a glass of wine (6 or 9 ounces) and a variety of small platesour favorites include the lemony poached tuna and the walnut-honey glazed pork belly. Or go more traditional and order Wesen's Caesar salad and the excellent hangar steak with Chianti pan jus. 1801 Wynkoop St., 303-295-1488.
COMING THIS FALL: EAST HIGHLAND GOES ITALIAN
After opening 42 sandwich shops in seven states, Kevin Morrison, one of the founders of the Spicy Pickle, is returning to his roots. He and his wife, Lin, plan to open Tavula (pronounced tah-VOH-lah) this fall in the space across from Duo in East Highland. Before the Pickle, Kevin worked as a sous chef at Barolo Grill and at Vinci in Chicago. Tavula, which means "table" in Italian, is modeled after the mom-and-pop trattorias all over Italy. Look for simple, seasonal cuisine with much of the producelettuce, tomatoes, herbs, chile peppers, and squashcoming from Lin's father's farm in Hale, Kansas. The price point will be moderate: $4 to $12 for apps, $14 to $18 for pastas, less than $20 for entrées. Kevin says Tavula's cuisine will be reminiscent of Italy but adapted to Denver and the Highland neighborhood. One such dish includes a few slices of proscuitto with marscarpone-stuffed roasted figs and walnut-honey brittle. Let's hope Tavula opens in time for fig season. 2400 W. 32nd Ave.
HELPFUL HINT: A CURE FOR WHAT AILS YOU
Even though its late spring, there's still a nasty flu bug going around. Our bit of advice: Sip on Taki's steaming bowl of miso-ginger soup before, during, and after the flu gets you down. With the health benefits of miso (B vitamins and protein) coupled with fresh slices of ginger (wards off colds and nausea), this concoction is better than mom's chicken noodle soup for fortifying the bodywhich is why owner Hisashi Takimoto "Taki" calls his soup a "flu shot in a bowl." Our favorite way of eating it is with a side of brown rice (high in fiber) dumped in the soup for good measure. 341 E. Colfax Ave., 303-832-8440.Amanda M. Faison