Chef de cuisine Toby Prout joined owner Jeff Osaka in 12 at Madison’s open kitchen a year ago; today, only three of the menu items Prout inherited remain (baby lettuce salad, Parker House rolls, and mushroom orecchiette). What’s new is “slightly off-center,” as Prout puts it—in the very best way. 12 at Madison’s French dip, for example, is reimagined and deconstructed, so you can put it back together as you like it. (Prout is a notorious picky eater.) The elements are beautifully presented on a long, narrow plate: lightly toasted Grateful Bread Company baguette; thinly sliced, marinated wagyu eye of round; aged Triple Play Extra Innings cheese from Hook’s Cheese Company; “horsey sauce” (the secret: fresh horseradish and Kewpie mayo); and an umami-bomb pickled green peppercorn jus for dipping. Prout’s demonic goal? To ruin all other French dips for his guests. $$$, 1160 Madison St., 720-216-0190

(MORE: Read our 2017 restaurant review of 12 at Madison)

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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.