Denver should be proud: Not only was our city chosen as one of 20 in the U.S. to host last Friday’s James Beard Taste America dinner, it was also the first city to sell out. That indicates just how far the Mile-High City’s dining scene has come in recent years. For 190 lucky diners, the evening was nothing short of spectacular with dishes from Alex Seidel (Fruition), Thomas Salamunovich (Vail’s Larkspur), Frank Bonanno (Mizuna and Luca d’Italia), Elise Wiggins (Panzano), Yasmin Lozada-Hissom (Duo), and guest chef Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and Love Shack in Fort Worth, Texas). Though patrons left with a printed menu detailing each course, the wines—paired by Frasca‘s master sommelier Bobby Stuckey—were left off. So, here, we present the wine and food pairings in full:

  • Lunetta Prosecco, Trentino, Italy (cocktail hour)
  • Scarpetta Tocai Friulano Colli Orientali, Friuli 2006 (Seidel’s hickory-smoked Colorado trout with warm German Yukon Gold potato salad, trout hushpuppy and mâche salad, crème fraîche and pommery mustard sauce)
  • Sella & Mosca, Vermentino di Sardinia, 2006 (Salamunovich’s slow-roasted beet and endive salad with Northern Lights blue and hazelnut vinaigrette)
  • Feudi di San Gregorio, Fiano di Avellino, 2005 (Bonanno’s heirloom butternut squash soup, foie gras mousse, and spiced pumpkin crostini)
  • Van Duzer Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (Wiggins’ Colorado elk cannelloni, pomegranate, roasted chanterelles, corn, Haystack Mountain goat cheese, and mint beurre)
  • J.L. Colombo, Cornas, Rhône Valley, Les Ruchetts 2004 (Love’s American lamb sirloin and roasted lamb paupiette with blackberry-goat cheese flan and lamb demi)
  • Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato, Piedmont (Lozada-Hissom’s honey-glazed apple tart with homemade crème fraîche gelato and cassis compote)

We learned last week that Chutney’s, a high-end Indian restaurant in Castle Pines Village (and one of 5280‘s Best New Restaurants of 2006) has closed its doors. Managing director Kannan Alagappan (who shuttered the well-liked Denver Woodlands in Aurora to open Chutney’s) explains that the area simply didn’t take to the Indian concept: “We are busy during weekends and slow during weekdays. The reason is Indian food is an experience and not an everyday thing, and we don’t have enough traffic out there to make it work.” Alagappan is regrouping and will be reopen the space as a fine-dining steakhouse (name to be determined) come mid- to late-October. We are happy to hear, however, that some of the more popular Indian dishes (most notably the lamb chop curry and tandoori lobster) will remain on the menu alongside the steaks. 880 Happy Canyon Road, Castle Rock, 303-660-2020

It’s an exciting time for Denver barbecue lovers—it seems every where you look there’s a new rib-and-brisket joint sprouting up. One of the newcomers, Smokin’ Joes Bar-BQ, at the intersection of Evans and Broadway, offers top-notch hickory-smoked brisket, Memphis-style pulled pork, and country links. Sides are limited (the best of the bunch are the salt-and-peppered fries), but we decided that leaves more room for the smoky and tender spare ribs. Service is speedy, the sweet tea is addictive, and we love the bright decor with ‘cue trivia and piggy pictures gracing the walls. 2103 S. Broadway, 720-570-0911

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