Wood-fired and smoked foods have been en vogue in America's kitchens for some time now. What is emerging as a new trend amongst chefs in Denver goes beyond simply smoking or wood-firing components of dishes to actually instilling a charred/burned flavor in the food.
The fall menu at Golden's hot new restaurant, Abejas, features a beautiful iteration of the burnt technique on the flat-iron steak dish. Blistered broccoli rabe and smoked Bordelaise accompany the steak alongside potato dumplings.
Old Major is currently putting out excellent, modern dishes like the venison bourguignon with charred onion, egg noodles, and beech mushroom- allowing the charred flavor of the onion to enrich the dish by adding yet another layer of flavor.
Meanwhile at Cart-Driver, the mushroom pizza is vibrant and complex with smokey, ashy flavors. This flavor bomb is wood-fired with ash, burnt onion, tellagio, and shitake mushrooms.
Linger's globally-inspired menu features a charred long bean salad which builds levels of flavor with roasted tomatoes, crispy shallots, cauliflower, feta cheese, shiso, miso bacon, nori cashews, and edamame dressing.
Keep your eyes out for various incarnations of the now ubiquitous "burned" trend in Denver's hottest kitchens.