If the fact that Black Pearl Restaurant's owner is a certified sommelier doesn't assure you that this spot is serious about its wine, then its multiple Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator should remove any lingering doubt. But don't get too attached to any one bottle. The wine list, a sophisticated blend of big names and small-production vineyards, changes in sync with the menu of seasonal New American cuisine. Executive Chef Mitch Mayers keeps things fresh with small plates carrying dishes such as goat-cheese flan or seared scallops as well as interesting entrees that might include rutabaga-potato gnocchi or churrasco yak strip steak. His weekend brunch menu has also gained notice, with bottomless mimosas, brie-stuffed french toast, and a braised-pork-belly scramble. Black Pearl's softly lit interior is comfortable and home-like, with hardwood floors and exposed-brick walls. In warm weather, the open front windows and the side patio provide ideal vantage points for watching passersby or keeping an eye on your penny-farthing locked up out front.
When Max Gill and Grill moved into its current location—a building constructed in the early 1900s—it joined a neighborhood institution. The building was originally home to a marine-themed tavern, a popular spot in the Washington Park neighborhood. The restaurant's throwback decor is in keeping with the spirit of the building, while also evoking seafood shack that was plucked right from the beaches of Key West. Today, the restaurant’s rustic, waterfront feel creates the ideal atmosphere in which to bring a homesick pirate, or enjoy blackened ahi tuna burgers and Alaska king crabs. You can even build your own seafood dishes and customize it right down to the cooking technique, such as pan-roasted, grilled, or blackened.
Since 1987, Buffalo Bill's has been whisking boxes of hot wings to the doors of Denver. Before delivery, the wings are tossed in one of 15 sauces, which range from mild and sweet to absolutely fiery, depending on if the customer wants to decimate piles of napkins. Pleasant lemon-herb and sweet-and-sour sauces share space with three types of barbecue sauce and seven different levels of hot sauce. Buffalo Bill's also delivers Pudge Bros. pizza, custom-made or in specialty variations.
Refreshing summer cocktails, a long list of local and global brews, and sake by the glass and bottle lay the foundation for Asian-infused feasts. Couple a glass of lychee love (Bombay Sapphire gin, lime, lychee liquor, and St. Germain elderflower liqueur) with a fresh green-papaya salad ($6), or share a plate of bigeye tuna salad with mizuna, mango, avocado, and pistachio-lime vinaigrette ($16). Hearty helpings from the kitchen include wagyu beef carpaccio with smoked char roe and Michigan scallion pancakes ($16). Or happify hungry herbivores with the organic buckwheat soba noodles tossed with Asian eggplant, tofu, cucumbers, and ginger-scallion vinaigrette ($12). Flying fresh and fast from the sushi bar are poppable pieces ranging from classic rolls like spicy tuna ($8) and unagi ($9) to specialty makimono such as mango monsoon (smoked madai, spicy tuna, salmon, mango, lychee, and yuzu foam; $13).
For more than 27 years, chefs at Rodney's have manned grills within the cozy basement eatery, unfurling a menu of steak-house cuisine headlined by tender slabs of aged, USDA-choice meats. Hearty hunks of sirloin, filet mignon, and slow-roasted prime rib sate appetites and tone wrists' abs alongside a colossal cheese- and bacon-swathed baked potato that the Denver Westword included among its 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010. In addition to its prized steaks, the neighborhood eatery's kitchen dispenses hefty sandwiches and elegant seafood, such as fresh Atlantic salmon and shrimp, and its full bar unleashes a spectrum of cocktails.
Billing itself as a new-wave dining destination, SE7EN's dinner menu is stocked with creative plates that combine flavors from China, Indonesia, Thailand, and a mysterious realm known only as "the West." Inaugurate the evening with a scallion pancake ($5) or SE7EN’s innovative eggrolls, which wrap shrimp, asparagus, and spiced egg in a flour blanket ($7). Entrees include Colorado-raised lamb chops seasoned with rosemary and garlic ($20) and the SE7EN Fusion Kick, a spicy plate of top-loin beef and shrimp marinated in jalapeño oyster sauce ($14). For lunch, SE7EN's $7 specials defuse coworker tensions with the inside-out bacon cheeseburger and the oyster-sauce-infused Jax' noodle soup—thus preventing any more tense three-way stapler stand-offs.