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Sneak Peek into Quality Italian, Opening on Thursday in Cherry Creek

You may fall in love with Italian food all over again

Modern and classic, a red sauce joint and a modern steakhouse all at the same time, Quality Italian is just about to launch in the Cherry Creek North neighborhood, inside Halcyon Hotel at 241 Columbine Street.

The industrial yet warm space designed by AvroKO surprises with pleasant contradictions and subtle elements. Owner Michael Stillman of the Quality Branded group, created a unique Denver sibling to the New York City counterpart of this Italian-American steakhouse. Custom art installations dominate the sophisticated space in Denver that seats 125 guests inside with another 20 on the patio. Look closely at the light fixtures and notice butchery tools being incorporated. Study the vintage family tree photos that dot the Legacy Room and find film icons like Sophia Loren in their midst. Observe how the Canary Room, one that can serve as a private dining room, is separated to create intimacy and you'll discover painting frames that show off the back side of the art piece.

The menu brings a contemporary version of an Italian-American steakhouse, inspired by recipes from chef/partners Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, based in New York City, as well as executive chef Franz Hueber, who most recently helmed Boulder's Salt Bistro. Dishes are rustic and inventive at the same time and include highlights like the clams & shells with pepperoni ragú, the lasagna for two with fillet mignon meatballs, and the burrata cheesecake.

A raw bar offers shucked-to-order West Coast oysters, yellowtail crudo, grande shellfish and crudo misto to share. There are also baked clams, uni baked scampi with New Caledonian shrimp and several sharable dishes served with house-made sesame focaccia. A preview of the menu several weeks back included the dishes you can find here.

Under the direction of Bryan Schneider, the Quality Italian cocktail menu brings local spirits, fresh-pressed juices and house-made syrups. Don't miss the smooth Nitro Negroni, the Tricolore Margarita, and the Lambrusco Cobbler, a play on a classic Champagne Cobbler. A serious wine list is a highlight. Pro tip: The best seats at the bar are two cushy stools set inside the bar on the end, facing the dining room.

Quality Italian will open for dinner nightly starting on Thursday, March 2. Lunch will be served beginning on Monday, March 20 with weekend brunch being added beginning on Saturday, April 1.