When this modern Chinese restaurant opened three months ago on East Colfax Avenue, comparisons to RiNo’s celebrated Hop Alley were inevitable. There are similarities—loud music, open kitchens, unique spins on fried rice, playful cocktails—but Q House has a laid-back vibe that keeps the spotlight on the food of Taiwanese chef Christopher Lin (formerly of New York City’s Momofuku and Tabla). Sit at the chef’s counter for views of Lin and his crew frying salt-and-pepper shrimp, garnishing pork belly buns with pickled mustard greens, and drizzling pig ear salads (pictured) with chile oil. The tongue-tingling food pairs well with Q House’s refreshing drinks—try the aloe spritz. And, Q House has one thing Hop Alley doesn’t: a sunny patio. 3421 E. Colfax Ave., 720-729-8887
We suffered through our share of mediocre kebabs—overcooked and dry or bland and under-charred—before tasting the flame-grilled light at fast-casual Babajoon’s. The five-year-old Westminster Persian restaurant, owned by the Iranian-born Azamian family, keeps skewered morsels of chicken and cylinders of onion-flecked ground beef (“kubideh”) ultra juicy. The menu offers other Iranian specialties too, including a garlicky stew of eggplant, tomato, and egg (“mirza”), served with clay-oven-baked flatbread and tangy pickled vegetables (“torshi”). Try the saffron-rosewater-pistachio ice cream for dessert; the not-too-sweet treat is equally sure to please. 1005 W. 120th Ave., Suite 250, Westminster, 303-974-5400
With three bars and 13 food stalls, your first (and second, and third) visit to Bonanno Concepts’ two-month-old Denver Milk Market, in LoDo’s Dairy Block, may feel overwhelming. Here’s how to milk the most from your experience: First, order a black-pepper-infused Gin & Treuse cocktail from Moo Bar, which anchors the corner space looking out to 18th and Wazee streets. Then, starting at Bonanno Brothers Pizzeria, walk clockwise through the circular layout, taking in the sights—freshly extruded fusilli at Mano Pastaria; Elevation Meats’ charcuterie hanging above S&G Salumeria; striking tile work at Albina By The Sea. Finally, park it at Lou’s Hot & Naked for the Nashville-hot-style bird chef-restaurateur Frank Bonanno perfected at his now-closed Lou’s Food Bar. Or avoid the herds by ordering via Milk Market’s online concierge service and picking up your grub at the main entrance. The Dairy Block, 1800 Wazee St., 303-792-8242
Seattle Fish Co. Celebrates 100 Years In Denver
Denver’s original fishmonger is throwing a party for its centennial—and you’re invited. –Denise Mickelsen
In 1918, Mose Iacino, a 16-year-old Italian immigrant, began transporting fresh seafood from Seattle to Denver via the railroad, using sawdust and ice—which he had to replenish repeatedly over the weeklong journey—to keep the fish from spoiling. Mose then sold his piscine wares under the name Seattle Fish Co. at a little market on the Mile High City’s aptly named Market Street. Fast-forward a century, and Mose’s grandson, James Iacino, the current CEO of the company, reports annual sales in excess of $100 million; Seattle Fish Co. now supplies more than 11 million pounds of seafood and three million oysters every year to 2,100 restaurants and retailers from Boston to Los Angeles. Thankfully, such incredible volume hasn’t diminished the business’ commitment to sustainable sourcing—it’s marking its centennial with a symposium on the topic (see “If You Go” at left)—and support of local organizations including the Denver Zoo and Project Angel Heart. Also unchanged: the meaty mussels at Mercantile Dining & Provision in Union Station and the tender octopus that graces the tables at Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine.