The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
OHANA ISLAND KITCHEN
Love brought Louis “Louie” and Regan Colburn together a decade ago, and it’s what the couple brings to their four-month-old LoHi restaurant, Ohana Island Kitchen, every day. The proof is in the addictive tuna poke, savory kalua pulled-pork sliders on soft Hawaiian rolls, way-better-than-you’d-think Spam musubi, and just about everything else Louie makes and Regan smilingly serves. Drawing on lessons from his Japanese mother and childhood in Hawaii—not to mention culinary school at Johnson & Wales and stints at Snooze and the Truffle Cheese Shop—Louie is meticulous about his ingredients, techniques, and training his expanded team. (At Ohana’s former walk-up window across the street, the Colburns were the only employees.) This attention to detail pays off with fresh flavors, the perfect sushi rice that anchors many of Ohana’s dishes, and crowds of regulars who are as smitten as we are. 2563 15th St., Suite 105, 303-718-6580
Chef Cindhura Reddy and general manager Elliot Strathmann, the wife-and-husband team behind LoHi’s Spuntino, are transforming the Italian neighborhood joint into a dining destination. Reddy’s menu offers inventive “spuntini” (aka snacks—the plural of the restaurant’s name), hand-cranked pastas, and expertly executed secondi such as brick-roasted chicken. Strathmann’s house-made amari take this spot over the top. Made with herbs from the restaurant’s garden and locally foraged botanicals, the digestifs range from limoncello to saffron liqueur to a house version that changes with the season. All are eminently quaffable and illustrative of the capable, creative pair in charge. 2639 W. 32nd Ave., 303-433-0949
QUE BUENO SUERTE
Across the country, Mexican chefs are challenging diners’ expectations of bargain burritos and combo plates with fine-dining-ready fare, and Denver is no exception. Mission Yogurt Inc.—the parent company behind multiple restaurants at DIA, including Root Down DIA and Etai’s Bakery Cafe—cuts a similar path with three-month-old Que Bueno Suerte in Platt Park. Consulting chef Dana Rodriguez (of Work & Class fame) and executive chef Vicente “Vinny” Sosa’s regional menu delivers refined versions of the home-style dishes they grew up eating, such as grilled octopus with huitlacoche-butter sauce; raw oysters with michelada slush; and achiote roasted pheasant. In keeping with the familial roots of the food, Que Bueno Suerte has transformed Session Kitchen’s formerly cold, industrial space into a warm dining area with vibrant pops of orange and backlit Mayan art. 1518 S. Pearl St., 720-642-7322