Stoic & Genuine is one of the new restaurants participating in Denver's popular Restaurant Week this year — Photo courtesy of June Cochran / Stoic & Genuine
The folks managing Denver Restaurant Week have discovered that seven days is too short, 14 days is too long and 10 days is just right. This will make more than 10 years of Denver's week devoted to food, chefs and restaurants. And by all accounts, it keeps getting better.
Restaurant Week 2015 will run over 10 consecutive days, from Friday, Feb. 20, to Sunday, March 1, which includes a weekend on both ends. And that seems just right, indeed.
Last winter, more than 300 restaurants participated. And like last year, this year's menus feature multiple courses, typically three or four. Better yet, the price is the same as last year: just $30 per person.
Restaurant Week fans look forward to finding out which new chefs and eateries will participate, and this year is no different. Among the names joining up for the first time is Stoic & Genuine, the well-received venue that opened in renovated Union Station last summer.
Designed with a New England aesthetic, the restaurant specializes in seafood but has a well-rounded menu. Stoic & Genuine's tag line – "No ocean, no problem" – is a perfect one for all of Denver, where a considerable distance from the ocean has not kept the city's chefs from serving up fresh and creative seafood dishes.
Oysters appear on several menus this year, including Cart-Drivers, participating for the first time in Denver's Restaurant Week — Photo courtesy of Cart-Driver
Also new on the list is Cart-Driver, located in Denver's RiNo district, which specializes in wood-fired pizzas. Oysters are flown in fresh daily, so it's no surprise that two fresh oysters with seasonal mignonette are among the appetizer possibilities here.
Another Restaurant Week newbie, Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe, also offers oyster appetizers, but baked. Cheeky Monk is set along East Colfax, an area making a new name for itself.
Some restaurants offer appetizers, while some – including Perry's Steakhouse & Grille – offer salad as one of the courses — Photo courtesy of Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
While all of the menus feature multiple courses, not all of the courses are the same. A main course and dessert are the constants, and diners have the option of an appetizer at some and a salad at others.
A few menus go with a first course, which might include appetizers, salad and/or soup options. At Elway's Cherry Creek, a longtime staple in the Cherry Creek neighborhood and a favorite with Restaurant Week fans, one of the course options is devoted to sides.
Denver may be far from the ocean, but fresh fish stars on many menus, including this bass entree offered at Kevin Taylor's at the Opera House — Photo courtesy of Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group
If you can't find a meal you love during Denver Restaurant Week, then you're not trying. There is every kind of food: Italian, Asian, Brazilian, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Cajun and American.
There are vegetarian options. There are places devoted to steaks, to pizza and to seafood. There are low-key casual eateries and fine-dining establishments. There's a slew of brand new restaurants on the Denver dining scene and plenty of longtime favorites, too.
This is the season for citrus, and the chef at D Bar Denver loves to incorporate winter fruits into his desserts. Of course, menus feature plenty of chocolate, creme brûlée and mousses, too — Photo courtesy of D Bar Denver
There are also breweries and wine bars and late-night lounges. There are even a few Denver originals, such as the Mercury Cafe, where meals are often served to music, and The Fort, where buffalo is front and center on the menu.
Although the food is plentiful, everyone should leave room for dessert. This year's menus feature delectable choices. D Bar Denver, which specializes in fabulous desserts, has more choices than most others, with options to tempt every palate.
Wherever you dine during Denver Restaurant Week, the odds are that you'll get a meal to remember, start to finish.