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Best Restaurants 2019: Acorn

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After almost two years as Acorn’s executive chef, Ian Palazzola has made the menu at the RiNo mainstay his own. He’s an intellectual, seasonal cook fascinated by all things preserved, fermented, and dry-aged; a spring restaurant renovation gave him more storage space for a zero-waste-inspired larder and a dry-aging locker where ducks, chickens, and even butter improves with time and bacteria (the good kind!). On the plate, Palazzola synthesizes his Virginia roots and time spent in kitchens from Atlanta to Aspen to the Bay Area, where he helped Mourad earn a Michelin star for its Moroccan fare. Palazzola’s Southern childhood can be tasted in his astonishingly delicious heirloom blue cornbread with aged Virginia ham and redeye butter, while his former mentor chef Mourad Lahlou’s influence is felt in dishes such as succulent lamb shank with caramelized onions, dates, and ginger. $$$, The Source, 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721

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