Where should you eat for Denver Restaurant Week? Behold our ten top picks
Denver Restaurant Week -- the first of two this year -- began in earnest on Saturday, and while there are plenty of foodniks (and restaurant staff) who bemoan the frenzied chaos of what some call "amateur dining week" (and "amateur diners"), Denver Restaurant Week is nonetheless a terrific opportunity for guests to try a new restaurant at prices that won't sink their bank account. The Denver Restaurant Week price, excluding tax and tip is $60 for two and $30 for a solo diner.
More than 300 restaurants are participating in Denver Restaurant Week, a daunting scroll that makes you wonder just where you should go for the best food -- and the best bang for the buck. When it comes to making choices, I highly recommend booking reservations at those restaurants that usually don't fit within your budget -- restaurants that you've had on your wish list, restaurants that, frankly, are expensive and offer Denver Restaurant Week menus that are discounted more than what you'd typically pay if you went any other week during the year.
After scouring the menus, here are our ten top picks, all of which we think will leave you properly fed and full.
Barolo Grill chef Darrel Truett is easily one of the best kitchen magicians in Denver, and Barolo Grill, a stalwart that had lost some of its steam during a chef intermission, is back at the forefront, turning out remarkably good food. Truett's Restaurant Week menu trumpets four courses, including Tuscan prosciutto with burrata; slow-cooked pork shoulder; risotto stamped with wild foraged mushrooms, broccolini and mascarpone; and, for dessert, panna cotta. This is definitely a menu that doesn't skimp on quality, and you're getting your money's worth and then some.
ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro
Chef-owner Lon Symensma come to Denver via New York, and his decorated pedigreed background, not to mention his unparalleled reverence to technique and pristine ingredients, has made him a chef whose every move is one worth watching, every dish worth eating. And his Restaurant Week board is a winner in every way, offering guests six first courses, of which you can order three, including the justifiably heralded soup dumplings, kaya toast with coconut jam and an egg cloud, and his Skuna Bay salmon crudo. He follows those with a second and third course, as well as three sugar finales. And, as an added bonus, ChoLon is spreading the love, extending its Denver Restaurant Week menu through Sunday, March 2.
Fogo de Chao
Yes, it's a chain, but a damn good one, thanks to extremely polished, professional service, a beautiful, near bottomless salad bar that goes way above and beyond the usual suspects and an Argentinian-intensive selection of fire-roasted meats carved tableside by charming gaucho-clad servers who know how to practice gracious patience, even during the busiest weeks of the calendar. Baskets of Brazilian cheese bread, platters of caramelized bananas, plates of mashed potatoes studded with garlic and trays of crispy polenta are all part of the deal, too. Dinner here is usually $46.50 per person, so the $60 price for two is definitely one of the best Denver Restaurant Week values, and while Restaurant Week technically ends on Friday, Fogo de Chao is extending the offer through Sunday night.