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Arcana’s trout chicharrones and a local cider. Photograph by Matt Nager

Best Restaurants 2018: Arcana

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There is only one kind of fish on Arcana’s menu: rainbow trout from Kermit Krantz’s Frontier Trout Ranch in Saguache. It wasn’t chosen because the trout tastes good (which it does) or is locally and sustainably raised (which it is). The fish was selected because Arcana’s chef, Kyle Mendenhall, has a relationship with Krantz that runs deeper than filling out a form for boneless, skinless, frozen salmon fillets. For Mendenhall, farm-to-table isn’t as important as the relationships chefs foster with farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. To that end, unless his friend Sue Buxton from Day Boat Fresh in Stonington, Maine, sends him peekytoe crab or scallops, every protein on Arcana’s flawlessly executed menu comes from Colorado producers. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains do too, and Mendenhall and his cooks bake their own bread using regional heritage grains; culture their own butter, ricotta, and farmers’ cheese; and preserve and pickle just about everything that grows in the ground. The result? Beautiful plates of food (paired with an excellent cider program) that taste delicious for all the right reasons. $$, 909 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-3885

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