Kitsune Denver | 2706 Larimer St, RiNo
Tavernetta alums Sam Soell and Marcus Eng have brought the culinary variety and exquisite packaging of Japanese ekiben (train station boxed lunches) to Denver with their four-month-old delivery service. The duo fills each compostable balsa wood bento box with a gorgeous, balanced array of Colorado-sourced vegetables (pickled, fresh, and grilled); rice or noodles; proteins such as sashimi, grilled chicken, chashu pork, and crab; and other organic, seasonal ingredients. Look for bentos bursting with local goodies all summer long, as Kitsune’s menus rotate to feature greens, eggplant, tomatoes, and squash from area farmers.

Makizushico | 5950 S Platte Canyon Rd, Littleton
In a modest shopping center off Littleton’s South Platte Canyon Road, the sushi chefs at eight-month-old Makizushico are transforming seafood flown in daily from coastlines around the world into edible works of art. The menu changes according to the fresh catch, but expect specialties like pristine Tasmanian salmon belly sashimi and Japanese hamachi with apple and chimichurri. Let the chefs choose what’s best for you with the relatively affordable omakase experience, which awards you 10 pieces of sushi and a special roll for $50.

Zomo | 3457 S Broadway, Englewood
Most twentysomething couples with backgrounds in medicine don’t open restaurants, but Alysia Davey and Ryan Anderson have a not-so-secret weapon that’s fueled success at their year-old, self-described Asian and American spot in Englewood: Grandma. Sixty-four-year-old Chi Nguyen, Davey’s paternal grandmother, is not only the inspiration behind Zomo, but she also runs its kitchen, which is staffed by five other Vietnamese matrons. The fierce seniors execute Zomo’s Vietnamese- and Chinese-influenced menu according to Nguyen’s recipes, turning out rich pho, vibrant vermicelli noodle bowls, fried rice, and crisp egg rolls made with Filipino-style wheat-flour wrappers, a savory treat Nguyen’s been perfecting since she emigrated from Vietnam to Stockton, Kansas, in 1975.

A feast at Mason’s Dumpling Shop. Photo courtesy of Mason’s Dumpling Shop

Mason’s Dumpling Shop | 9655 E Montview Blvd, Aurora
It took three years for owners Ker Zhu and Michelle Wu to open the Aurora outpost of their Los Angeles shop (a debut further delayed this spring by you know what). But the window-walled restaurant on Montview Boulevard is finally in business as of May, steaming and boiling and pan-frying Wu family recipes redolent with the flavors of northern China, where Wu’s parents were born. There’s no way to choose between the savory pan-fried pot stickers, xiao long bao (soup dumplings), tender shui jiao (boiled dumplings), or flaky jiucai hezi (chive and egg pockets)—so do what we do and order them all.

This article was originally published in 5280 August 2020.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen

Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.

Patricia Kaowthumrong
Patricia Kaowthumrong

Patricia joined the 5280 staff in July 2019 and is thrilled to be overseeing all of 5280 Magazine’s dining coverage. Follow her food reporting adventures on Instagram @whatispattyeating.