The Oceanaire experience is one of luxury and decadence—just like the sleek 1930s ocean liner after which the restaurant is fashioned. The downtown seafood spot opened to great fanfare in July, and two months later, the place is still jammed. On Sunday evening there was a 15-minute wait for a table, and we passed the time with a cocktail at the ice-filled oyster bar while Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby crooned over the loudspeaker. Once seated in the retro dining room we snacked on the complimentary relish tray and ordered a mighty bowl of mussels with fennel topped with buttery garlic toast. After devouring a hefty iceberg wedge with buttermilk-bacon dressing, we hardly needed our entrées—a silky grilled Hawaiian wahoo served Oscar style (topped with béarnaise, asparagus, and lump crab meat) and sesame-crusted coho salmon with edamame and pea tendrils. As a whole, the experience was similar to that of the Capital Grille or Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House: spot-on service, decadent eats, overwhelmingly large portions, and a big check. To the Oceanaire’s credit (Denver is one of 14 locations), executive chef Matt Mine works hard to incorporate local ingredients, such as Palisade peaches and Colorado lamb, into the Denver menu. We left stuffed but happy, with plans to return for the pre-theater special (served 5 to 7 p.m. each night): $30 for three courses and the check before curtain call. 1400 Arapahoe St., 303-991-2277,

Situated on the unlikely corner of Alameda Avenue and Garrison Street in Lakewood sits the Gaslamp Grill, the brainchild of Scott Hybbeneth (formerly of Barolo Grill) and Scott Tallman (previously of Eric Roeder’s Bistro Vendôme). Inside the slightly worn space, diners find gleaming hardwoods, a cozy dining room, and an inviting menu of contemporary American eats (think ahi tuna carpaccio, lamb papparedelle, and braised beef short ribs). At lunch, the menu is heavy on paninis and burgers but we suggest the slightly spicy tamales filled with duck and fontina and smothered with chilaca sauce. Don’t miss the perfectly seasoned herb fries. 9199 W. Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, 303-233-2346,

We love the Daily Scoop in Congress Park for its heavenly frozen custard—and we often stock up on the shop’s homemade drumsticks and rich ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies. But one thing we don’t like is the curmudgeonly service we’ve received each visit. To our mind, there’s simply no excuse for botched orders or bad attitudes at a family treat spot, especially in a neighborhood that has the cheerful Liks, Gelato d’Italia, and Pete’s Ice Cream just blocks away. Certainly Daily Scoop’s five years in business speaks to the quality of its custard—not its customer service. 3506 E. 12th Ave., 303-388-3245,

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