Using fresh seasonal ingredients from local sources, Via Toscana's menu of traditional, upscale Italian dishes preps palates for a sensory serenade with a starter of mussels la spezia ($8) in a lemon white-wine preparation. The pollo marsala ($14) provides a dance floor for a multicultural cast of sautéed chicken, woodland mushrooms, sage butter, and marsala wine with roasted new potatoes. And the penne vodka di mare's sautéed scallops and shrimp in a crema-rosa vodka sauce ($18) mix alcohol and the ocean in a lifeguard-approved manner. Otherwise, sharpen your toothy band saw on the succulent vitello saltimbocca (sautéed veal scallopini, $18), or feast eye-mouths and mouth-eyes on the Colorado lamb chops ($25) with provencal herb marinade and potato gratin. Via Toscana's extensive wine selection can matchmake any meal with more than 600 varieties of fermented fruit, and a gluten-free menu is also available.
Named for a city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, which earned culinary acclaim for its parmigiano-reggiano cheese and prosciutto, Parma Trattoria dedicates its menus to the region's homespun cuisine. Led by Italian-born executive chefs Marco Monnanni and Silvio Cuomo, the kitchen incorporates imported cheeses from Rome and Naples into its entrees alongside organic ingredients from local farmers. To maintain the flavors of a home-cooked, Mediterranean meal, they roll their own meatballs, cut fresh pasta, and make some of their lactose-free cheeses in-house.
The dining room, decorated with sunset-orange walls and an arched ceiling over its central seating area, also features a mozzarella bar with a large flat-screen television displaying live footage of chefs working in the kitchen. During the warmer months, the outdoor patio lets up to 50 diners enjoy their meal al fresco or watch neighborhood children remove the engines from parked automobiles.
The menu at LuLu's BBQ abounds with tender, slow-smoked morsels of beef, chicken, and tofu slathered in zesty barbecue sauce. Wood framework and Texas stars decorate the steakhouse's interior, where dinner rolls buckle under the tasty weight of sliced beef brisket and meat tumbles off the bone of half or full racks of ribs. Paired with the protein-filled main menu are 11 sides, including sweet-potato tots, green-bean casserole, and fried okra, along with desserts such as LuLu's special Sweet Cow ice cream, which comes directly from Hawaii's sugar-cow farms.
Inside India Tavern, a large bay window casts a natural glow on grape and lime-green walls and plates of homestyle Indian fare. Named 5280 Magazine's Editors' Choice of their Top of the Town feature, diners can cozy up to a table beside the stone fireplace as they partake of clay-oven tandoori dishes made with chicken, lamb, or goa fish. After sopping up a ginger or saffron curry entree with fresh-baked naan bread, they can also question a knowledgeable server on the difference between mild, medium, and hot spice or why humans drive on parkways and park on driveways.