Clark’s Oyster House
517 E Hyman Ave, Aspen
The recently opened Clark’s is the latest from Austin restaurateurs Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman. It’s quickly becoming the go-to place after a day on the slopes for a burger and a martini. But it’s a good choice in general when you feel like seafood. The lobster roll and a number of raw bar items—like the red snapper ceviche with golden roe and cucumber and the Kumamoto oysters—do not disappoint.
312 S. Mill St., Aspen
Bosq is new to Aspen, but you wouldn’t know it. Chef Barclay Dodge clearly brings his love of travel back to his hometown. You can taste it in his globally influenced menu, which features items as far-ranging as a sweet and sour crispy eggplant, jamón ibérico with lovage and garlic chips, and short rib tacos with lime, pumpkin, and dried chili. But the room itself—a cozy space that seems made entirely of dark wood—is pure Aspen.
EMP Winter House
315 E. Dean St., Aspen
The season’s most hyped opening is the EMP Winter House, chef Daniel Humm’s tribute to his Swiss upbringing. The dinner menu hits all the decadent high notes: beef Stroganoff, cavatelli topped with black truffle, trout toast, and oysters. If the East Hampton iteration is any indication, a reservation will be hard to snag, so plan accordingly. The good news is this pop-up (located at the Chef’s Club in the St. Regis) will be open through April.
1738 Pearl St., Boulder
Founded by French Laundry alums Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (chef) and Bobby Stuckey (MS), Frasca has been Boulder’s culinary gem for more than a decade. It’s no secret, either: Frasca has been lauded since its opening and was a James Beard finalist in 2016 (for Outstanding Restaurant, in good company with places like Momofuku Noodle Bar and The Spotted Pig). While you can opt for a customizable four-course menu, we recommend choosing the seven-course chef’s tasting option, which showcases the Friulian cuisine they’re known for. Stuckey's wine list, which includes more than 200 varieties, is a major part of the appeal here.
Guard & Grace
1801 California St., Downtown
Named after chef Troy Guard (and his daughter, Grace), this 9,000-square-foot space tucked into the street level of the fifty-six-floor CenturyLink Tower is home to the best steaks in the city. Bright, airy, and sleek, with just enough touches of warmth to keep it from being too corporate, Guard & Grace offers everything we’d want from a modern steakhouse: elevated, fresh seafood (plus a raw bar), amazing charcuterie, perfect martinis, and of course, local grass-fed cuts of beef offered in 4 to 22 oz. portions. There’s no official dress code, but it is definitely dressed-up for Denver.
2601 Larimer St., RiNo
After nine years at its original location in Uptown, Il Posto has recently re-opened in this two-story space, double the size, in the RiNo area. The sculptural light installation, 12-seat bar topped with a slab of Carrara marble, dark wood floors, and impressive views of Downtown are certainly a sleek departure from the old space, but Chef Andrea Frizzi’s Italian menu continues to impress—take, for instance, the beef candle, a bone marrow appetizer that melts into a dip, or more classic Italian standbys like their house-made burrata with huckleberry jam and lavash cracker. The menu may be relatively small, but you can’t go wrong, whether it’s their made-to-order risotto or classic calamari.
To the Wind
3333 E. Colfax Ave., City Park
This bistro on Colfax is super tiny—the 628-square-foot space has only about 20 seats—but it’s worth the (usual) wait. Run by chef Royce Oliveira and his wife and pastry chef Leanne Adamson, the restaurant definitely has a family-run feel; you can expect extra-hospitable service and even a friendly chat with the chefs, if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat at the chef’s counter. The menu is updated daily, depending on available produce and also the popularity of the dishes the night prior—entrées range from buttermilk chicken with creamed quinoa, spinach, and hazelnuts to bison pastrami with gnocchi, cheddar, and sauerkraut. They also have a strong beer selection, with about ten local beers, plus some well-chosen wines and spirits. Note: Despite its size and propensity to fill up quickly, To the Wind doesn’t take reservations, but you can call in advance night-of.
3070 28th St., Boulder
The Verde kitchen got its start in 2010 on wheels, when some friends from Arizona wanted to bring the Sonoran-style Mexican food they missed to Boulder in the form of a food truck. (Around this time, they adopted the motto “Work Hard. Be Nice. Eat Burritos.”) After years of success, they finally expanded to a brick and mortar location, which sells the same great tacos and burritos, plus chile rellenos, fajitas, and best of all, a menu of margaritas.
West End Tavern
926 Pearl St., Boulder
Truly a neighborhood bar, West End Tavern has been around for decades—though you wouldn't know it from the updated décor. Everything about the place is as inviting and warm as you might hope: The menu is full of genuinely delicious comfort food, from sautéed greens and deviled eggs to burgers to roast-pork sandwiches and shrimp po’ boys, plus some seriously good barbecue. Of course, the bar has craft cocktails, more than seventy-five bourbons to choose from, and a draft and bottled beer line-up that really showcases Colorado’s craft beer culture. There’s indoor and outdoor rooftop seating with some of the best views in the area, and this is also a great place to watch a Buffs game.
Work & Class
2500 Larimer St., Curtis Park
Work & Class is named to represent its simple ethos, which is their goal to provide a “square meal, stiff drink, and fair price.” And really, that kind of undersells it—the Southern–Latin American menu from chef Dana Rodriguez is full of inventive small plates from bacon-wrapped jalapeños, shrimp and grits, and chickpea croquettes to salads like their “massive attack” (tempura broccoli, asparagus, avocado, spinach, cucumbers, parmesan) to substantial meat and fish offerings like whole fried Idaho trout and cochinita pibil. Designed inside some re-purposed shipping containers, the restaurant is small, always packed, and pretty loud and lively.
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