As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions and we have already covered restaurant standbys, top newcomers, biggest dining surprises, the dining scene in one word, and the best dining neighborhoods. Up now, the best meal of the year. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Please, add your answers in the comments.
Q: What was your single best meal in 2015?
Linnea Covington, freelance writer, Westword contributor
Old Major back in the summer. My family and I went when trying to decide where to move to, and I was blown away by the decor, service and food. Loved the flatbreads and the chicken, wow. In fact, that's the place my son, then 9 months, had solid meat for the first time.
Probably Mercantile - from start to finish the service was impeccable, the meal was well-timed, food was over-the-top delicious and thoughtfully presented. Dinner is so different from lunch in that environment - I was pleasantly surprised.
Jennifer Murphy, freelance writer, AFAR contributor
Ever meal I had this year at Mercantile Provisions surprised me and introduced me to new flavors and ingredients and challenged my palette. The bone marrow brûlée on that menu really proves Denver's palate is expanding. That duck breast dish has so much awesomeness going on - the quinoa risotto is a play on grains and the pickled butternut squash and duck confit marmalade are the perfect hits of sweet and savory.
Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine food editor
As always, this is a tough one. Acorn, Lower 48, Cho77, Owl Bear at Finn's Manor and Mercantile & Provisions all gave me some really stellar experiences. But I think the one I won't soon forget was the pig's head at Rebel. They braise and then deep fry it until it's a deep golden-amber brown. The skin is so intensely crispy and it makes this crazy crackling noise. But because it's braised the meat (especially the cheek) is super tender. It is for sure one of most unique dining experiences I've ever had in Denver.
Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor
In Denver, the Plimoth is my most memorable meal of the year. From service (it is so comforting to see the same staff there on every visit!) to the fun wine selection and the inspired, yet simple food, every detail there is incredibly thoughtful. Outside of Denver, it is almost unfair to have to choose because I had a tremendous year of travel both here and abroad. Dining at Noma was a once in a lifetime experience that showed what an open-minded and curious team can create in the dining room. Sushi Sawada, a six seat spot in Tokyo ran only a husband and wife, was one of the most unique experiences ever.
Amanda Faison, 5280 Magazine food editor
In Denver, it was To The Wind. Outside of Denver, the Catbird Seat in Nashville.
Ruth Tobias, Thrillist contributing writer
My virgin experience at Rebel. The chef's so outrageously inventive, yet he has the chops to back up his creativity. I know they're not about signature dishes, but the s**t on a shingle and fried-tripe poutine with foie gras gravy are hall-of-famers in the making. Second best happened at Cafe Marmotte, which came as a shock to me, because my tastes aren't very haute or classique.
Jessie Levine, Eater Denver contributor
I had a pretty amazing experience at Il Posto in April - I'm a sucker for homemade pasta, the olive oil chocolate cake was show-stopping, plus the service was fantastic. Also some heavenly bourbon chicken out of a styrofoam box from Bourbon Grill on Colfax this one time too. Outside of Colorado? Animal in LA.
Lori Midson, Zagat Denver editor
It's a deadlock between the scampi from Bar Dough and the roasted butternut squash soup from Mercantile. Oh, and the pig's head from Rebel. I guess it's a three-way tie.
Maya Silver, Dining Out Magazine writer
It was at Ototo, specifically for the insanely sweet meat on the red snapper head, but also for the corn-laden miso ramen, sashimi, and gyoza. A tasting menu at The Briarwood Inn in Golden follows not far behind. Outside of Colorado, it would be dinner at Momofuku/Milk Bar in DC.
William Porter, Denver Post restaurant critic
Do I have to limit it to one? For me it was a toss-up between Sugarbeet in Longmont and Milk & Honey in Larimer Square. I thought both were exceptional in their imagination and execution.
Megan Barber, Curbed Ski editor
I'm going with Bar Dough. Top notch, seasonal brussel sprouts salad, amazing pizza, and a to-die-for warm chocolate torte. So good.
Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer
On a recent trip to visit my parents in Baltimore, we tried a relatively new restaurant, La Cuchara - specializing in Basque food. From a stunning space, to amazing food and quality cocktails, it made for one of my most memorable meals of the year. But the Brothel Burger and a Hard Eight at Ophelia's or Crudo and anything on Bar Fausto's cocktail menu and I'm a happy guy as well!
Rebecca Treon, freelance writer, Denver Post contributor
There were many, but probably the dinner I had at Bistro Barbes, they're always doing something interesting.
Grace Boyle, Eater Denver contributor
Sorry, not a restaurant but Meadlowlark Farm Dinner at Toohey & Sons this Summer.
Rachel Greiman, Eater Denver contributor
The Plimoth. The corn bread alone put it into my top five of the year.