Vesta first opened in 1997 and the original owner Josh Wolken still leads the team and continues to combine positive energy, genuine hospitality, philanthropy and fun in all that Vesta does. For these reasons, along with a wonderful menu, Vesta has been a mainstay in the coveted downtown area for nearly 20 years. Downtown and Denver as a whole has undergone many changes the past 20 years and Vesta has made sure to evolve with the times and trends, while keeping true to its roots to ensure longtime diners as well as new enjoy their visit to Vesta.
The most recent and notable evolution introduces Executive Chef Nicolas Kayser, coming all the way from Hong Kong! He fits in perfect actually, as he grew up here in Denver and received his degree from the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Colorado. After time in New York, Las Vegas and Hong Kong, diners can trust Kayser to continue the world cuisine concept of Vesta while bringing a new and fresh approach to the menu format and culinary style.
The new samplings we tried at their Happy Hour were really delicious and each unique in flavor and form. A couple standouts included their reimagined Tuna Poke spiced up with wasabi, jalapeno ponzu and fresh ginger. Their Tempura shrimp was tasty dipped in their house made sambal aioli containing 10 different chilies! (It’s much more flavorful than it is spicy). A Char Siu Pork Belly app was tender and decadent, topped with yuzu aioli, orange and cilantro. For dinner, the Colorado Rack of Lamb was phenomenal accompanied with crispy polenta, fennel, orange, black mission fig gastrique, and a tzatziki sauce.
Dessert was also a creative, worldly blend of flavors created by pastry chef Nadine Donovan. We tried opposite ends of the spectrum with the Southern-inspired sweet potato beignets with toasted marshmallow and the tropical passion fruit tart with coconut macaroon crust and raspberry sauce. The beignets themselves weren’t that sweet for the dessert category, but all of the little sauces and sides made them magical. The passion fruit cake was very sweet, but in a fruity way that makes it seem light, despite its rich creaminess. Basically, I could gobble up four of these before realizing I was full, and then still might have a couple more bites because it’s delicious and something you hardly see on a menu.
Vesta’s cuisine is complemented by a thoughtful, diverse six-page wine list, draft and bottled beer, and an upgraded cocktail menu offering both classic and contemporary variations with top local spirits. Vesta’s barrel-aged drinks provide the backbone for a new list of cocktails focused on fresh ingredients, seasonal flavors, and creative combinations. For dark spirit drinkers we recommend the Sherry Cobbler, The 7th Son, Apple Sidecar, and two of which you can find on the Passport Program’s Denver Winter Warmer - Do You Remember and Where the Buffalo Roam.
The Winter Warmer Passport is a field guide for great winter inspired drinks in the form of a booklet with 2 for 1 drink offers at a collection of Denver’s coziest and booziest spots in town. The offers run from Dec 1st through March 15th, those bleak, frozen months you’ll need it the most. The warm, inviting vibe Vesta has always been known for got even hotter with new lighting and various design embellishments. Vesta’s Barrel-aged Do You Remember is made with Rittenhouse bonded rye, Montenegro Amaro, Leopold bros tart cherry liqueur, yellow chartreuse, and orange bitters. The Where the Buffalo Roam cocktail is Old Granddad 114 bourbon, Laird’s applejack, sage, house made grenadine, ginger beer, and peychaud’s bitters. For those who don’t splurge on fancy craft cocktails, the Winter Warmer offers the perfect excuse to finally treat yourself (or others) this holiday season! So get your Passport and head to Vesta for a cocktail, the ambience and the delightful dining.