Reader: Denver's food is disappointing -- and don't blame it on the altitude

centralhotagain.jpg
Central Bistro & Bar rated with USA Today.
Where would you tell a tourist in Denver to eat? Last week, USA today advised foodies to try ten different spots -- two of which (D Bar and Restaurant Kevin Taylor) are about to close; another two (Cherry Creek Farmers' Market and Civic Center Eats) are out of season. And some readers weren't impressed by the six remaining choices, calling them "clueless." Then again, one reader wasn't impressed by Denver's dining scene at all.

See also: USA Today picks Denver's top ten foodie spots -- but eat fast!

Says Colton:

Being from Chicago, Denver's food is disappointing. You can try and blame it on the altitude but the best food here is made at home.
Why don't we give Colton a rousing welcome to the Mile High City? Where would you tell him to go to get a true taste of Denver?


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21 comments
Cmon
Cmon

Its pretty apparent the good majority of those who have replied know little of what is going on in the culinary world outside of Denver.


Put up Rioja, Euclid, etc against anything Chicago has to offer'?...youd be laughed out of the conversation, friend.


'Chicago is the land of outdated steakhouses'?...perhaps, but theyre also home to the country's most celebrated restaurant and a culinary culture that laps Denver several times over. Its not even up for debate - furthermore, you make yourself sound like an ignorant homer when you try to argue otherwise.


When a city such as Denver exists with no progressive chefs pushing the envelope (mind you, Ive found this market isn't necessarily ready for a chef to push the envelope in such a way) and a restaurant scene almost completely devoid of quality seafood...then yes, theres a valid case to place Denver well below cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. (PLEASE...for god's sake, never mention Charlotte, Richmond or Seattle in such a conversation again.)


This is the problem in my opinion with Denver's restaurant scene: too much civic pride and a yearning to be sat anywhere other than the kid's table. Newsflash: such recognition doesn't happen within the span of five years. Lets get more quality, more diversity and an openness to experimentation and chef-driven concepts before arguing that ANY restaurant in this city can compete with the top restaurants in the major markets. Its ridiculous.


...and not a bad thing to say, mind you. Feverishly arguing for inclusion on that list does nothing to advance the dining scene in this town.



maxplanck0
maxplanck0

Being from Chicago qualifies one with a degree of culinary sophistication? If that's the prevailing 'altitude,' the writer should stay home.


The Windy City has lots of good eats as does Philadelphia, Richmond and Charlotte, all places I've been to in recent months. And so does Denver, for that matter; I'd put up Rioja, Panzano, The Fort, & Euclid Hall up against anything Chi-town offers...

kalopsia
kalopsia

Having traveled and eaten in LA, NY, Tokyo and London in just the past year... I'd say Denver's food scene is just fine. Recent meals I've had at Squeaky Bean, Lower 48, Twelve, Tables, the Kitchen are just as good as any I've had in those much lauded cities.

StevenGregory
StevenGregory

Having no idea what Colton likes to eat, the kind of atmosphere he likes or the price point he's used to, I would say he likes Chicago and not Denver. There's plenty to discover here.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

Dear folks who always gripe about how the lah-dee-dah places here don't hold a candle to the ones in Wherever -

You know what you could do? Go eat at the little indie hole-in-the-wall spots with fantastic food who are really struggling and could use your business and $$$$

What a concept huh?

Philo99
Philo99

I might give the commentator some credibility if he didn't use Chicago as a comparison. If you said LA, San Fran, NY or even Seattle, I would understand, but when you use Chicago as your standard you fail miserably. Chicago is the land of outdated steakhouses, grease bombs they call pizza and an overweight population that is dying faster than the city.

bondadprevalece
bondadprevalece

Everyone is always telling me their best meals are made in their own kitchen... and then they make me dinner and it's always not as good as you'll get in a quality Denver restaurant. Everyone is not the chef they think they are.

davidjhuff
davidjhuff

Can we stop comparing Denver dining to the rest of the country like it's some sort of competition?  These conversations are petty and useless, much like anyone moving here and complaining that "Denver's ______ isn't as good as where I come from."  Frankly, I don't want Denver's restaurant landscape to look just like Chicago's or New York's, or wherever...  our dining scene is and should be unique to our town's culture.  There exists a rare comradery among chefs in Denver that is born out of our small town feel and a desire to see the culinary bar continue to rise as a whole rather than on an individual level.  There is pride for our farming community, for our craft brewers, for our fantastic regional ingredients.  Denver doesn't need to try to mirror larger city's identities, it has its own.  But, please, if you're hell bent on making sure everyone knows Denver doesn't stack up to your home town, then do everyone a favor and move back, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. 

Jon_S
Jon_S

Eh, Chicago's dining scene is frankly pretty overrated too. Outside of Graham Eliot and Alinea the high end is mostly overpriced and underwhelming. And the famous local exports like the Chicago dog, the Italian beef, and Chicago-style pizza are generally disgusting abominations. Especially the pizza.

_____
_____

Denver has a lot of solid, but not spectacular spots.  High end restaurants in NYC, SF, and Chicago are on another level.  Not fair to compare.  Denver is more on par with Boston and DC, than those culinary destination cities.


Been impressed by Squeaky Bean (MacKissock era) and Lower 48.  Heard good things, and excited to try The Plimoth this weekend.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

While I tend to agree that the "new crop" of high profile Denver restaurants over-charge (for tiny portions) and under-deliver in general in terms of fantastic food, you really need to try the Plimoth.  I'd put them up against comparable (food, neighborhood ambiance and price) restaurants in California or Chicago any day.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

Although I'm from Coronado, California, I totally agree with Colton.  Denver restaurant food is not impressive.The best meals of your life are made right in your own kitchen.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@_____  "Denver has a lot of solid, but not spectacular spots.  High end restaurants in NYC, SF, and Chicago are on another level.  Not fair to compare."


If Wasteword would include the foodie fabulous city of Boulder in their myopic world view, perhaps the Greater Denver area's assortment of eateries would rank a bit higher nationwide.


Frasca in Boulder is on that "higher level" found in NYC, S.F. and Chicago, incontrovertibly so.



_____
_____

Sorry. But Frasca can't hold a candle to Eleven Madison Park, The French Laundry, Alinea, and the like.

_____
_____

Only got the truffle supplement. Will the lobster Mac n Cheese from Mizuna suffice? In a doggie bag, of course.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@_____  ... bring me some of that $100 supplement Macaroni and Cheese the next time you're at the Laundry.

_____
_____

Color me impressed that you've had leftovers from El Bulli and Noma!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@_____  ... and none of those would have been fit for the doggie bag at elBulli ... or Noma.

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