Kobe An Closes in Lakewood, Will Resurface in Cherry Creek

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Kobe An will bring its sushi to Cherry Creek North.
Changes are afoot -- er, make that afish -- at Kobe An. This past weekend, the long-running Japanese restaurant served its last meal in Lakewood, shutting down prior to an upcoming move to Cherry Creek North early this winter. It's taking over the former home of Cherry (and Bar Luxe, the Milwaukee Grill and Bay Wolf before that) at 231 Milwaukee Street.

See also: Photos -- Dipping Into Kobe An Shabu Shabu

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Five Bakery-Cafes in Denver Where You'll Want to Sit for Hours

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Danielle Lirette
The Noshery opened this summer in northwest Denver.
When I moved here ten years ago, I had a hard time finding a bakery-cafe like the one I used to spend weekends at back in New York. My husband and I would show up at our favorite spot on the Upper West Side and order baguettes with jam and bowls of café au lait as big as the Sunday paper. After we read the news, looked through the wedding announcements for folks we might know, and decided what galleries or shows were worth a visit, we'd go back to the counter and order a bowl of soup with homemade bread or an assortment of salads to eat as we did a bit of work.

Over the past decade, Denver's bakery-cafe scene has improved considerably, though not every part of town has a place to call its own. The area around Regis University was one such neighborhood -- until The Noshery opened this summer, that is. Founded by Colorado native Andrea Knight, The Noshery is proving to be a good addition to Denver -- whether or not you live near the Regis neighborhood. Find out more about the Noshery when my review of the place is posted here tomorrow, and in the meantime, keep reading for five more bakery-cafes that are worthy of your time. (They're presented in alphabetical order, and D Bar is noticeably absent from this list -- that's because the eatery won't open in its new new location until next month.)

See also:
Best Pie 2014 -- bang!

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Four Odd-Couple Restaurants, from Glaze by Sasa to Cowbobas

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Sushi and cake? It makes deicious sense at Glaze by Sasa.
Some restaurants remind me of Queen -- not because they're champions, but because they put cuisines together in unexpected ways, like the band's melding of operatic melodies and heavy metal guitar riffs. On the surface, Glaze by Sasa, which I review this week, is one such restaurant.

But the union of Glaze: the Baum Cake Shoppe and Sushi Sasa isn't as strange as it seems. Baum cake, an elaborate, multi-layered dessert that originated in Germany, has taken on a life of its own in Japan, where it has become a popular sweet and, when wrapped in ornate packaging, a much-appreciated hostess gift. Both of Glaze by Sasa's offerings hail from the same country, then, making this eatery's pairing of sushi and baum cakes a related, if unfamiliar, duet.

But other spots around town mix and match cuisines with reckless abandon. Keep reading for three more places guaranteed to rock your expectations of what a restaurant can be.

See also:
Man Could Live on Bread Alone at Chai & Chai


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That's LYFE: How I Decided What to Review This Week

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Danielle Lirette
People might think I choose what to review based on what I feel like eating. But many factors go into my decision -- and what I want to eat is usually at the bottom of the list. With the frenetic pace of openings these days, there's an endless number of hot, new restaurants to visit, and I'm always considering those -- after the traditional three-month waiting-period, of course. But to focus on all things new doesn't provide a fair assessment of our scene, so I also like to revisit more established restaurants worthy of another look, as last week's review of Barolo Grill can attest.

See also: First look at LYFE Kitchen


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Twenty Favorite Dishes Over 100 Reviews

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Behind the scenes at The Kitchen Denver.
I've written a hundred reviews since becoming the restaurant critic at Westword. To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to give a shout-out to the kitchens and teams that have made dining out so memorable over the past two years -- not just for me, but for all of us who appreciate the quality and diversity of Denver's robust food scene.

Of the thousands of plates that have come my way, I've selected twenty that deserve a spot in the highlights reel. These are the ones I find myself thinking about when a similar dish is put before me, the ones I'd gladly eat over and again. One of them is a summery bruschetta that I enjoyed long ago, while preparing for my first review of The Kitchen Denver. Another is an appetizer that bumped another leading contender at the buzzer; you'll read more about that dish, and the restaurant it came from, in my review of Barolo Grill tomorrow. Of the twenty, most are (sadly) no longer available, a sign of seasonality and the speed at which menus change -- but at least the kitchens that made them are still open (with the exception of Twelve, which closed last month). And you can still order seven of my favorite dishes, which appear at the end of this otherwise alphabetized list. So keep reading -- and be prepared to get hungry.

See also: Five Behind-the-Scenes Takes on Being a Restaurant Critic, After 100 Reviews

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Small Is Beautiful, From Maine to Montana to East Colfax Avenue

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Danielle Lirette
Good things come in small packages at To the Wind Bistro.
This summer, while all eyes have been on the pomp and circumstance at Union Station, I've found my attention drawn more and more to tiny places, homegrown places, places with footprints as large as other restaurant's kitchens. Some of them I've reviewed, such as Kings BBQ and To the Wind Bistro. Others I've enjoyed on my own time, both here and in far-flung corners of Maine, Wyoming and Montana.

See also:
To the Wind Bistro Is a Breath of Fresh Air on East Colfax

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To the Wind Bistro Is So Small It Can't Mess Up Big

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Danielle Lirette
Royce Oliveira at To the Wind Bistro.
Bigger isn't always better, which is why Mizuna-alum Royce Oliveira chose a 628-square-foot location on East Colfax Avenue for the home of To the Wind Bistro, the restaurant he opened last spring with his wife and pastry chef Leanne Adamson. "We were looking for something small," he explains. "That way if I mess up, I mess up small rather than mess up big."

See also: First look at To the Wind Bistro, now open on Colfax

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The Kitchen Next Door wound up next door to fast-casuals in Glendale

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The Kitchen Next Door Glendale.
The Kitchen Next Door Glendale wasn't conceived as a "destination experience," says Kimbal Musk, co-founder of The Kitchen, which opened in Boulder in 2004. "We wanted it to be a neighborhood restaurant." This makes sense, given that Next Door -- which got its start in Boulder, too, is the more casual branch of the Kitchen family. But just what is a neighborhood restaurant these days?

See also:
The Kittchen Next Door joins the train gang -- with a historic sign no board

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No bones about it, Boney's is a winner

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A plate of ribs at Boney's.
Though we live in a town that isn't known for its barbecue, Denverites have strong opinions about what does and doesn't count as good 'cue. So it goes without saying that I, along with the rest of Café Society, am always on the lookout for new places to share with our readers. But after any number of disappointing meals, I often wind up at a repeat winner of Westword's Best Barbecue category: Boney's Smokehouse BBQ.

See also:
Best Barbecue Restaurant 2014 -- Boney's Smokehouse BBQ

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Guard and Grace bills itself as a "modern steakhouse." Does it meat expectations?

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Danielle Lirette
A modern steak at a modern steakhouse.
Four years ago when I was the restaurant critic for a now-defunct publication, I reviewed Shanahan's Steakhouse. At the time, the executive chef told me he was trying to create a menu that was "a lot more modern," but I as noted in my review, the beef was corn-fed and sourced out-of-state, making it seem more traditional than contemporary.

Fast forward to 2014. When restaurateur Troy Guard opened Guard and Grace
Guard and Grace in March, he used similar terminology, referring to his sprawling, splashy venture downtown as a "modern steakhouse."

See also:
First look at Guard and Grace


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