We’re not quite sure what to make of Ocean, the brand-new Cherry Creek eatery by chef Troy Guard and restaurateur Jim Sullivan (who also owns Nine75 and Emogène). Located in the former home of Mao, diners can expect to find a juxtaposition of fine dining and the beach, modern fixtures and swashbuckling details (Pirates of the Caribbean playing on TVs in bathroom stalls and the enormous, kitschy portrait of Sullivan himself cast as a pirate). The menu is equally all over the map with an assortment of Vesta Dipping Grill-like dunking sauces and flavors that swing from sushi rolls to Southwestern pork tenderloin. The concept may not hang together just yet but we did enjoy the food—namely the sizzling yellowtail starter with fanned out slices of red jalapeño-topped fish warmed by a drizzle of oil. Also delicious, Guard’s candy-like miso black cod entrée, served with a mango-edamame-citrus-yuzu salsa. 201 Columbine St., 303-377-5350,

Back in 2002, we gave Pat’s Philly Steaks and Subs (7419 E. Iliff Ave., 303-873-0907) a Top of the Town award for the best Philly cheese steak. Now Pat’s has set up shop downtown on Market Street in the space below Croc’s, and the heaping sandwiches made of tender beef, bubbling cheese, and fried onions and peppers are just as stellar. Another lunch fave: The grilled Italian with a toasty selection of meats all wrapped in an “East Coast” fresh-baked roll. 1624 Market St., 303-534-1333,

If you were a fan of chef Pietro DiMarchi‘s trademark gnocchi at the late-GiamPietro’s in Northglenn, take heed before lining up outside the four-month-old Undici Ristorante in Englewood. Sure, DiMarchi mans the burners at the Italian restaurant but he’s still working out kinks—namely fine-tuning his once-heavenly gnocchi. On two separate occasions the potato dumplings arrived gummy and shapeless rather than velvety and delicate. But we know DiMarchi, with his Venetican roots, training under several Italian chefs, and roster of successful restaurants in New Jersey, Florida, and Colorado, will be up to speed soon. In the meantime, sink into one of the lounge’s leather sofas and order the proscuitto e melone appetizer. This Italian standard comes with slices of sweet cantaloupe wrapped in salty proscuitto and topped with tangy balsamic-marinated tomatoes. Pair the dish with a crisp white wine, and hold out hope that DiMarchi’s gnocchi will be the stuff of legends once again. 1200 E. Hampden Ave., Englewood, 303-761-2828.

—Amanda M. Faison

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.