This noisy, nautically-themed shrine to the brine set sail in LoDo over eighteen years ago, but even now, it’s packed to the gills with hipster crowds that suck down oysters at the convivial bar that stretches from the front door to the exhibition kitchen and showcases a gleaming ice display of fresh seafood. The partially-open kitchen cranks out pan-roasted Steelhead trout, seared sea scallops tangling with curried carrots and a Maine lobster roll bolstered by the addition of bacon lardons, while the crew that mans the long counter is responsible for turning out gumbos and chowders, caviar and tuna poke, peel-and-eat shrimp and steamed mussels. The cocktails are some of Denver’s best liquid assets, and the bar team even makes its own alcohol-free root beer and ginger beer. Sit in the sun-filled space for a quick bite, or linger over seafood delights not often found in Denver.
At Fogo de Chao, a behemoth Brazilian churrascaria in the heart of LoDo, skewer-wielding, Gaucho-costumed servers in puffy black pants saunter from table to table, tempting carnivores with more than a dozen different meats – think filet mignon, top sirloin, sausage, salted ribeye and mint-marinated lamb – that are carved tableside and plucked off the skewers with tiny tongs. And the meat just keeps on coming and coming until you flip your coaster to red, which indicates that your belly needs a break from the gluttony. Luckily, there’s an impressive salad bar, too – but like the meat parade, it’s hardly pedestrian: imported cheeses, breads, hearts of palm and marinated vegetables, including artichokes, stock the display, which is replenished long before anything has vanished. With its comfortable seating and elegant touches, Fogo de Chao is perfect for a special occasion, or just a meat-frenzied evening with friends.
Easily identifiable by its stone façade and neon red sign, P.F. Chang’s China bistro is a thriving oasis of Americanized Chinese food that’s geared toward those who appreciate familiarity. This Lower Downtown spot is the ideal spot for those with tastes that lean toward crab wontons, egg rolls and huge plates of fried rice, lo mein and beef with broccoli. The signature lettuce wraps, tucked with wok-seared chicken and vegetables, live up to the hype, and the trio of dipping sauces – hot mustard, chile paste and a concoction of chile oil, white vinegar and soy sauce – up the flavor quotient. A large cocktail syllabus, along with housemade, non-alcoholic sodas, beer, wine and a selection of hot teas, round out the experience.