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Annette Proves To Be a Promising Addition to Denver’s Dining Scene

Annette’s addition to The Stanley Marketplace signals the concept’s national fame

Annette delights diners with its spacious, light-filled interior
Adam Larkey

The Stanely Marketplace seems to host a cascade of trendy spots, and Annette is no exception. While the Aurora restaurant is Caroline Glover’s first concept, notes of the chef’s promise emerged during her tenure as the sous chef at Acorn (housed inside The Source hall in RiNo). Annette, which opened this past February, is an homage to Glover’s colorful aunt, a Texan, and writer that made up for her specialized culinary skills with gumption. Glover notes that Aunt Annette imparted how to have an opinion — just as the critics have theirs. Former Eater Denver editor Andra Zeppelin praised the wood-fired restaurant for its “detailed-oriented” and “tightly edited” menu options that’s loaded with simple ingredients lightly “kissed by the grill.” But do other Denver critics agree? Here’s the good news and the bad news surrounding Annette online:

A Study in Glover’s Growth: Zagat applauds Annette’s aesthetic finesse and “gutsy,” succinct menus are a reflection of Glover’s impressive culinary resume. The Culinary Institute of America grad helped run NYC’s The Spotted Pig Kitchen before she arrived at Acorn and found her current project. The brief yet diverse preparations “combine a fiercely homespun ethic with a worldly aesthetic in ways that seem designed to nudge diners out of their comfort zones” that, in Zagat’s book, reads as “a good thing.” Annette’s bar possesses the same boldness of the food and rounds out with “cool beers” and “suave cocktails.” [Zagat]

On The National Radar: Bon Appétit highlighted Annette in a national round-up of the best restaurants of the year. Glover’s “sophisticated” style is marked by her execution and “unexpected, just-slightly-whimsical flavor combinations,” as exemplified in the octopus patatas bravas. The open space is brightened by rows of windows and a perfect backdrop to witness the work of the kitchen. Annette is boosted by its location in the expansive Stanley Marketplace — a trendy high note of Denver’s current dining scene. [Bon Appétit]

Familial Inspiration Doesn’t Necessarily Translate to Family-Style: Westword admits that Annette’s clean, contemporary space looks good enough to eat. That sentiment doesn’t seem to directly translate for writer Gretchen Kurtz, as shared in a May review. Despite the restaurant’s pleasing incorporation of plants into the otherwise industrial space, Annette “looks beautiful. But it’s not yet comfortable.” The tight menu emphasizes vegetable-centric small dishes and larger, potentially less palatable dishes. Less adventurous diners may shy away from proteins like the grilled beef tongue with marrow toast and a whole roasted fish. Though delicate and often delicious, the protein dishes are “certainly not the stuff we associate with the comforts of home.” While homier, more traditional dishes like the Maschhoff family pork chop and half-roasted chicken are available, the options may prove difficult for families or larger parties to navigate. Ultimately, Kurtz concedes that while the restaurant “pushes some boundaries,” Glover’s first venture “feels hip and familiar” and a bit like home (thanks to the wood-fired grill). [Westword]

Humility before Homliness: 5280’s Scott Mowbray gave the modern American kitchen three stars in a recent review. Mowbray dubbed Annette’s desire for “home-style hospitality — often claimed, less often delivered” as “Glover’s North Star.” Glover’s humble “scratch-to-table” attitude and haiku-like menu descriptions demonstrated the chef’s dedication to culinary fundamentals. Notable dishes included the brunch biscuits, the octopus patatas bravas, and half-roast chicken. Few items can falter on delivery and feel “quite not knit together” while others, liked the spiced lentils and burrata, “just don’t work.” Diners can guarantee an enjoyable dining experience by ending their night with the “exemplary” pecan pie that could rival a Southern dish. [5280]

All Coverage of Annette [EDEN]


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