After over a year in business, Arcana got on the radar of Westword’s Gretchen Kurtz, who concluded that the spot has evolved beyond its original mission. The overarching goal of the Boulder restaurant, one that Kurtz calls a “long-winded,” was to “join the emerging national conversation about the true identity of American cuisine.” According to the critic, chef Kyle Mendenhall, who joined the team last summer, has found a more understated and organic path to delve into regional and historic roots of American cuisine. And that means it is high time to liberate him from the website-backed mission. Kurtz applauded the balance in Mendenhall’s dishes, his creativity, and his adherence to seasonality.
River & Woods, a Pearl Street spot helmed by chef Daniel Asher, received a one and a half star review from 5280 Magazine. Scott Mowbray took issue with the reinterpretation of some comfort and classic dishes like the mac ‘n cheese and the panzanella and saw the collective menu as being plagued by “culinary ADD.” The critic praised the soothing vibe of the place and recommended dishes like the Lamb & Oat Meatloaf, described as “fatty, chewy, tender, and loaded with umami.” The meaty plate is served with came sweet-potato chunks that were “pulled from the fire at exactly the right moment, with scorched, crisp, papery skins and creamy flesh.” Other highlights include the