The Ponti

Since 2004, the restaurants in chef Jennifer Jasinski’s Crafted Concepts family—Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, Bistro Vendôme, Ultreia, and now-closed Euclid Hall—have satiated Denverites’ appetites for everything from imaginative Mediterranean plates to oyster house specialties. As of this past November, visitors to the Denver Art Museum (DAM) can also taste Jasinski’s culinary influence at the Ponti, a fine-dining restaurant inside the freshly renovated Martin Building. With the help of chef de cuisine Ben Love, Jasinski oversees a menu of light, fresh lunch dishes prepared with ingredients such as seasonal vegetables, ancient grains, and sustainably sourced proteins that won’t weigh patrons down as they stroll among the DAM’s exhibits. For a gallery-hopping intermission, feast on juicy king salmon nestled on a bed of Thai black rice, dill, and coconut curry amid works by Gio Ponti (the primary architect behind the original building) and other artists. 100 W. 14th Ave Pkwy

Urban Village Grill

Urban Village Grill’s bone-in lamb chops.
Urban Village Grill’s bone-in lamb chops. Photo by Sarah Banks

When Urban Village shuttered in May 2021, fans of chef Charlie Mani’s upscale Indian fare were devastated. Thankfully, Mani debuted version 2.0—Urban Village Grill—in Park Meadows Mall in October. There, he resurrected cult-favorite dishes such as Kale Moong Dal Chaat (lightly fried kale topped with sprouted lentils and cilantro purée) and Not Your Grandma’s Butter Chicken (chunks of tandoori-grilled meat in a tomato-yogurt curry). He also introduced new creations, including chicken-, beef-, or paneer-filled dumplings set atop creamy tikka masala gravy and lamb chops plated with colorful droplets of beet and carrot purées inspired by the hues and motifs of Mani’s native Chennai, India. Expect each course to be delivered by the chef himself—especially if you request the three-course $49 tasting menu. For an interactive experience, reserve a patio table with a built-in grill to cook your own house-marinated meats. 8505 Park Meadows Center Dr #2184, Lone Tree

Cabrón Carbón Taqueria & Galería

Cabrón Carbón’s quesabirria tacos.
Cabrón Carbón’s quesabirria tacos. Courtesy of Cabrón-Carbón

In a city bursting with cool taquerias, Cabrón Carbón stands out for its playful, festive vibe. The four-month-old fast-casual spot—open until 3 a.m. for late-night noshes Thursday through Saturday—is the latest concept from Francisco Cuevas and Camelia Robles. (The married restaurateurs also own La Machaca de mi Amá in Aurora and multiple metro-area outposts of El Coco Pirata.) They partnered with Robles’ cousin Fidel and his wife, the masterminds behind Federal Boulevard’s Cilantro, to bring the day-to-night eatery to life on Broadway. In the dining room, black-light-lit paintings by creatives from Mexico line the walls while meats—for tacos, quesadillas, and papas asadas (loaded baked potatoes)—cook on a vertical rotisserie and charcoal grill in the exposed kitchen behind the counter. Try the Carbón Margarita and quesabirria, house-made corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and tender beef that are even better paired with a rainbow of sauces from the salsa bar. 1043 N. Broadway

(Read More: 12 New Restaurants Heating Up the Denver Metro Dining Scene)

This article was originally published in 5280 January 2022.
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.
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane is 5280's digital strategy editor and writes food and culture content. Follow her at @riane__eats.