Ok, ok, ok. It’s time to get serious now. Let’s talk about food, specifically, let’s talk about the best restaurant in Denver. The Best Restaurant in Denver? That’s a bold claim. Well, I’ve eaten at most of the so-called best restaurants according to 5280 Magazine. While many of them are good, some of them excellent, none of them are THE BEST.
When I think of what makes a restaurant “Great”, a few qualities come to mind:
- The quality of food.
- The quality of service.
- The atmosphere/ ambiance
- The intangibles – The “I can’t quite put my finger on it but this place is AMAZING”.
With that being said, Tables on Kearney is the best restaurant in Denver. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. Tables is a neighborhood restaurant in the heart of Park Hill. It’s evolved from a one room sandwich shop to a boutique restaurant over the span of a decade.
The Quality of Food:
My wife and I are foodies – not the hipster avocado toast loving, artisanal cabbage buying, kimchi craving foodies, but the “if it tastes good we should eat it” foodies. That being said, there is simply no better place for consistently extraordinary food than Tables. Whether I’m in the mood for seafood, steak, chicken or a vegetarian dish, the menu is always loaded with options.
But these aren’t meat and potatoes options everyone. These are gourmet, “I’ve never thought of putting those things together” combinations that make my mouth water just looking at the menu.
For example, right now on their menu are the following dishes:
- Pan Seared Trout, Pumpkin-Green Bean Sauté, Smoked Trout–Tomnnato Sauce, Hazelnut-Pepita & Horseradish Crumble.
- Prosciutto Wrapped Cod, Fennel, Beet & Apple Gratin, Sherry-Roasted
- Grilled Pork Cut of the Day, Charred Cranberries, Cheddar
Cheese Polenta & Creamy Roasted Hatch Green Chile Sauce
- Ricotta Gnocchi, Mushroom, Sweet Potato & Charred Greens, Harissa
Schmear, Preserved Lemon Gremolata
Just in case this isn’t enough for you, there are also a New York Strip, Duck, Scallop, Chicken and a Burger of the Day plates on the menu as well. I will match Tables’ menu up against any restaurant in Denver.
Quality of Service:
While Tables could be confused for a fine dining restaurant, it is most certainly a neighborhood place. The owners and managers recognize your face, if not your name. They greet you with a smile and the hostess takes your coat in the winter and REMEMBERS which one was yours as you are leaving. No coat check, no ticket, just good service.
Perhaps the best part is the fact that the wait staff knows pretty much the entire menu and can speak INTELLIGENTLY about it. No, this isn’t the Cheesecake Factory with a 25 page menu, but ask a server what wine goes well with a dish and they can not only tell you, they’ll tell you why, too.
Ambiance / Atmosphere:
Do you want a place that blows you away as soon as you walk through the door? Great.. there are plenty of places like that in town. This isn’t one of them. Instead it is a quaint, perfect little American Bistro with comfortable seating and a simple charm. Again, this is a neighborhood restaurant and the owners work hard to keep that feel.
My wife and I like to sit at the bar. We go in, have a cocktail or a glass of wine and split an appetizer and an entrée. But if you want a more formal experience, Tables is great for families or for a romantic evening. My wife and I have celebrated many a special occasion here and are always happy we did.
OK, so there are many restaurants with better reputations (i.e. Acorn, Mizuna, Fruition, ChoLon, Frasca, Beast and Bottle).
And there are restaurants that have been around forever (i.e. Barolo Grill, The Blue Bonnet, Pete’s Central, Sushi Den, The Cherry Cricket).
However, even without the pedigree or rep, Tables is quite simply awesome.
Perhaps, it is simply the fact that there is a Double Chocolate Smore’s dessert that is always on the menu. Perhaps that is it.
I don’t know… try it and you tell me.