Two of Denver's hottest restaurants, Cherry Creek's Departure and RiNo's Fish 'N Beer got reviewed by 5280 Magazine and Westword respectively.
Departure, critiqued by 5280's Scott Mowbray, was awarded 3 (of 4) stars along with lots of praise. Mowbray sees the whole fish that the stunningly designed spot offers as the epitome of what that restaurant, helmed by chef Gregory Gourdet, is all about. [It is that fish that comes first in our list of best whole fish dishes in the city and coincidentally enough, Fish 'N Beer's is second.] There's showmanship, well-honed technique, a respect for traditional Asian cuisine, and also creativity to the whole fried fish and that spills into many other of the offerings. Mowbray didn't love the smoked salmon sushi roll or the black pepper chicken, but enjoyed the complex cocktails and sleek decor.
Gretchen Kurtz of Westword called Fish 'N Beer a "keeper" that will get you "hooked." The 50 seat RiNo restaurant owned by chefs Kevin Morrison and Aniedra Nichols impressed the critic with its tightly edited menu that is neither predictable nor large. Highlights include the buffalo blowfish tails, the cornmeal-crusted smelts, and, of course, the whole fish. Those not in the mood for seafood are still welcome to the friendly and energetic spot and directed to order the New York strip steak, complemented by an "earthy crust of salt, pepper and ground San Sebastian coffee, the same stuff used for post-prandial drinks."