The List: Denver's most fantastic fusion

Categories: Sheehan (RIP)
up-close-karma.3710844.36.jpg
Mark Manger
Karma's fusion cuisine has good karma.

Denver hasn't done fusion very well, historically speaking. Matter of fact, Denver has done fusion fantastically poorly, and has seen more fusion restaurants close in shame than flourish in these skeptical latitudes. Nine out of ten times, a fusion restaurant is doomed to suck before it even opens its doors. Karma is that rare tenth, an exception to the rule that seals the fate of most fusion restaurants.

And there are a few other exceptions in this town, fusion operations that have done well by serving good food -- no matter its origins. Although I consider this a fairly canonical list, feel free to add any other possibilities in the comments section below.

1) Sushi Sasa, 2401 15th Street. Wayne Conwell, Sushi Sasa's head chef and owner, is one of Denver's very few masters of the fusion concept, using his tiny, insanely popular sushi bar as a laboratory in which to investigate the ways classical Japanese food can be melded with just about everything else under the sun. 

2) Bones, 701 Grant Street. Bones is a fusion restaurant from the floor up. Because. yeah, it's a Japanese noodle house, but it happens to be one where only about a quarter of the menu is actually Japanese. 

3) O's Steak and Seafood, 10600 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster.  Ian Kleinman, Colorado's best molecular gastronomist, uses this hotel restaurant to fuse just about everything in the world with just about everything else. His most trusted tool for this fusion?  A giant tank of liquid nitrogen.

4) Izakaya Den, 1518 South Pearl Street. Japanese on one side, Mediterranean on the other.  Where these two cultures meet in the middle is where Izakaya Den truly does its best work. 

5) Zengo, 1610 Little Raven Street.Richard Sandoval's one-off experiment in high-end Latino-Asian fusion. 



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