Now that summer is in full swing, we're filling our bellies with dishes that spotlight the flavors of the season. From gazpacho to ceviche, here are seven of the best new dishes from Denver's hottest restaurants.
Braised rabbit pappardelle from Lower48 Kitchen
Chef Alex Figura's cooking, which emphasizes locality, seasonality and impeccable ingredients, currently showcases a homemade pappardelle pasta elevated with shards of braised rabbit, roasted corn and sweet and juicy Colorado peaches.
2020 Lawrence St.; 303-942-0262
Wagyu hanger steak for two from Bittersweet
Family-style plates are popping up on menus all over Denver, and at West Washington Park's Bittersweet, chef-owner Olav Peterson is featuring a fantastic Wagyu hanger steak for two (it feeds three), served with garlic scapes, pearl onions, earthy freekeh, swipes of soubise and a sublime bone marrow sauce.
500 E. Alameda Ave.; 303-942-0320
Whole lamb's head from Rebel
Though chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy's adventurous menu is more than capable of satisfying vegetarians, thrill-seeking carnivores gravitate toward the whole lamb's head. With wonderfully crisp skin and impossibly tender meat, the showstopping skull arrives royally displayed on a silver platter, complete with tongs (and, for good measure, vegetables).
3763 Wynkoop St.; 303-297-3902
Sweetbread tacos from Leña
The talented kitchen at Latin American restaurant Leña turns out consistently terrific tacos and empanadas, relying mostly on familiar ingredients. But the dish of the moment – tacos with sweetbreads powdered with guajillo ant dust – is an intriguing riot of flavors and textures that pushes the envelope with delicious results.
24 Broadway; 720-550-7267
Gazpacho from Stoic & Genuine
Summer is prime time for gazpacho, and at Stoic & Genuine, the newly added dish may be our favorite rendition – ever. The gorgeously green soup, fragrant with tomatillos, benefits from the sweetness of fresh corn, grapes and apples, the subtle jolt of chiles and a splash of sweet-tart verjus. We highly recommend ordering it with the king crab crepenette.
1701 Wynkoop St.; 303-640-3474
Beef tartare from Mercantile Dining & Provision
The menu at Mercantile is always brimming with dishes we love, but at the moment, we're head over heels for the beef tartare. A judiciously salted log of Creekstone beef comes spritzed with a grilled peach vinaigrette, zigzagged with stripes of basil-and-caper chimichurri and topped with a shatteringly crisp farro amaranth cracker.
1701 Wynkoop St.; 720-460-3733
Halibut ceviche from Work & Class
Chef Dana Rodriguez's new halibut ceviche starter is fueled by exquisite flavors – cucumbers, pineapple, jalapeños and tomatoes, crowned with a scoop of guacamole and plated with fresh tortilla chips – that sing of summer.
2500 Larimer St.; 303-292-0700