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Señor Bear Hits Its Stride in the Highland

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What online reviewers say about the Latin-inspired hit

Ryan Dearth

Señor Bear, a Latin-inspired restaurant, recently opened for dinner service in LoHi. Along with chefs Blake Edmunds and Max MacKissock, partners Juan and Katie Padró reinvented the former Jezebel space with Latin American colors and flavors. Edmunds and MacKissock met at the same 3301 Tejon Street location when the space housed the original Squeaky Bean restaurant. Now, the culinary duo drives a fish-forward menu that emphasizes the vibrancy of different Latin cultures. From ceviches and crudos to the “el pollo bronco,” a recipe from Tulum and a killer churro, Señor Bear keeps giving guests reasons to return.

What are online reviewers and dining communities saying about the Señor Bear? Here’s the good news and bad news about the rising LoHi restaurant:

New Techniques, Established Flavors: Edmunds and MacKissock’s turn to Mexico is on par with contemporary culinary trends, notes 5280 Magazine. Señor Bear’s “pan-Latin approach” draws inspiration from a range of Spanish-speaking countries without defaulting to tired traditional recipes. Instead of directing diners through “tour of authentic regional dishes, Edmunds fuses techniques and ingredients into his own original creations.” The menu offers a variety of items, most of which are prepared with “a light touch and an attention to textural contrast,” despite the kitchen’s “tendency toward saltiness.” The bar, packed with “festive” drinks and South American brandies, is really “where the party comes in” - and stays, “[e]very [n]ight.” [5280]

Making (Too Much) Noise: On Open Table, diners repeatedly remarked upon the Señor Bear’s “laid-back” atmosphere and tucked-away location hidden from the “hub-bub” of the Highlands. Multiple visitors expressed their preference for the quieter patio. One diner recommends sound-proofing techniques to combat the noise “amplified” by the space. Those that snagged a spot outside notes that “[s]itting outside is a must” as the smaller, indoor seating is “an absolute nightmare.” [Open Table]

Signs of Edmunds’ Rising Culinary Celebrity: Dining Out singled out chef Edmunds, “the humble-affable” and burgeoning talent that is “as enthusiastic as he is lovable.” A recent round-up of twenty things to love throughout the cities’ dining scenes highlighted a few of Señor Bear’s “palate-wowing treats” like the shrimp escabeche, freshly made tortillas, shrimp and king crab mofongo, and “addictive” queso fundido. In the publication’s opinion, Edmunds and Señor Bear are a welcome addition to the Padró restaurant family. [Dining Out]

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: Señor Bear frequents five different lists of popular Denver restaurants on Zagat. The restaurant appeared as Denver’s tastiest dish in a round-up of the hottest restaurants in fifteen American cities; the “mariscos” section gets a mention, as does the “extra-festive” and small dining room. A feature exclusively about Denver establishment praises LoHi’s next “bright, breezy, instant destination.” The Puerto Rican-style mofongo, loaded with king crab and shrimp sofrito, is called a “[s]ensational” hit and appears in two July “Eat This Now” specials. [Zagat]