Uchi Denver | Modern Japanese Cuisine

Japanese tradition and culinary innovation fuse at the award-winning Uchi restaurant in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood. Uchi Denver is the fourth Uchi concept from Austin-based restaurant group Hai Hospitality, and the first outside of Texas. From the spices and sauces used to enhance their nigiri, sashimi and makimono, to the flair they pair with their specialty dishes, Uchi’s menu is diverse and interesting. You won’t find the regular rolls you’re used to seeing here, only expertly crafted dishes with the finest ingredients from around the world.

Hama Chili (top left), Suzuki Yaki (top right), Machi Cure (center)

Uchi Denver is the first to have a full bar and cocktail program, I guess they know Denverites like to drink, in addition to their comprehensive offering of sakes, beer, and wine. To our delight, they uphold the tradition of sake social with Happy Hour from 5-6:30pm nightly with $3 sake and Kirin beer, $7 wine, and a great selection of sushi and other tasty bites!

Uchi’s fabulous food and fish is due to their close relationships with local farmers and the Fukuoka and Tsukiji markets in Japan from which they fly in seafood every day. Combining seasonal ingredients with a spectrum of seafood from around the globe, Uchi invites diners to expand their expectations and boundaries. We were recommended to experience the Omakase – Chef’s Tasting of 10 courses – and we were surprised and delighted by the diverse dishes. Uchi also offers a smaller Signature Tasting (six courses) and a Vegetarian Tasting (six course) in addition to their full menu.

Kinoko Nabe - 5 types of mushroom, crunchy rice, mushroom tentsuyu (broth) and egg yolk that is mixed in at your table.

We started with a Social Hour roll and the Machi Cure (pictured below) composed of yucca chips, smoked yellowtail, pear and Marcona almonds. This dish looked like a contemporary art piece and was just as intriguing on the palate. Next was their house named Uchi Salad, beautiful local greens wrapped around jicama with a cashew pesto sauce. The greens in this salad are sourced directly from the restaurant’s rooftop greenhouse, a partnership with Altius Farms and the only Hai property to have such a feature!

Machi Cure

James Beard Award-winning Chef Tyson Cole leads the team in Denver with his signature non-traditional take on Japanese food. Having trained for more than 10 years in Tokyo, New York, and Austin under two different sushi masters, he continues his path of study and experimentation each day at the restaurants in the Hai Hospitality family. Employing classical cooking techniques with a Pacific Rim perspective, Cole marries global ingredients with traditional Japanese flavors, resulting in inspired combinations of flavor, texture, color, technique, and style.

Fried Milk

If someone in your group prefers a heartier alternative to sashimi and sushi, Uchi doesn’t disappoint there either. The menu features savory meat and vegetable dishes like their Wagyu beef taster, insanely good Brussels Sprouts, tempura veggies, chicken wings, and a 72-hour braised short rib sushi.

Everyone should save a little room for dessert as these sweet endings are just as inventive and flavor-dynamic as the rest of the menu. Options range from the decadent Fried Milk (pictured above), those golden balls are the fried milk cream, with chocolate ganache and vanilla custard. Or go light with a gluten free, dairy free dessert such as the coconut tapioca, or meet in the middle with their lovely jasmine cream (pictured below) with pineapple and a honey crumble base.

Uchi Denver has become one of Denver’s hottest restaurants, with eager eaters lining up at all hours of the night to get a taste. They do accept limited reservations, so we suggest you pick a date a couple weeks out and secure a spot!

Jasmine Cream

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB Photos by Samantha Bliss @RedCapturesherBliss

Bar Helix | Easy on the Eyes & the Tongue

Bar helix, located in the RiNo District, recently launched a special, supplementary menu of twelve creative versions of the classic Negroni cocktail, becoming Denver’s only Negroni bar. Bar helix is a modern, sexy bar + lounge concept created by Advanced Sommelier Kendra Anderson (aka @SwirlGirlDenver) that showcases 16 sexy, innovative cocktails, alongside an extensive wine list and decadent small plates. Grape based spirits served up sexy is the underlying theme there.

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The Negroni was always Owner Kendra’s cocktail of choice, but it wasn’t always available at bars or the bartender wouldn’t know how to make it. In case you don’t know either, a Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail, made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel. Bar helix’s signature Negroni features a Vermont gin that’s barrel aged and infused with honey, and a lesser known Campari - this drink glides down your mouth.

Kendra wanted to share her love of the Negroni with Denver through introducing and “educating” her guests to this classic cocktail, along with a variety of classic Negroni spin-offs, so everyone can find a version they love. She relishes in the opportunity the bar provides her to chat and interact with others about her extensive knowledge on spirits and wine - her and Bar Manager Victoria really know their stuff!

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On their new Negroni menu, guests will find a variety of versions from the familiar (Campari, Death’s Door gin, Dolin sweet vermouth) to the esoteric (Cappelletti aperitivo, Casa de Valor cava brut, and Casa Mariol vermut). From December 1 through 31, guests who drink any twelve full-sized negroni cocktails will win a holiday-themed negroni gift package, a $25 gift card to bar helix, and get entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $200 gift card to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts! They’ve coined it “The Twelve Negronis of Christmas”. Or, guests who sample twelve baby Negroni cocktails during the month of December will also win a special Negroni themed gift.

The luscious bites are also not to be missed. Kendra (who was once a chef) developed a “sexed-up bar food” menu along with Chef Sam who runs the kitchen. Bar helix makes 85% of the menu items in house, from deviled eggs and shrimp cocktail to the garnishes in you cocktail.

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Kendra’s vision to make great things accessible, like fine wine, champagne, caviar, and Negroni is absolutely apparent in bar helix and the aesthetics provide a sexy, yet sophisticated environment to take your mind off the mundane. We recommend you stop by for “Woman Crush Wednesdays”, a date night, or for an “Afternoon Delight” aka happy hour 4-7pm Wednesday-Sunday.

Visit barhelixdenver.com & follow @barhelixdenver on Facebook and Instagram

Words by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB & Samantha Bliss @redcapturesherbliss

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Cultures Collide to Make Familiar Dishes New Creations at Mister Tuna

With a new Executive Chef and a new season comes a new menu for Troy Guard’s Mister Tuna restaurant. We will highlight a few of the great new dishes you'll want to try this Summer, and point out a few house favorites that have carried over. The new Executive Chef, Tristen Epps, relocated from Brooklyn to Denver last year and took over the kitchen at Mister Tuna in February. Having grown up in the Southeast where BBQ is popular, combined with his travels through Asia, Chef Epps unites the flavors of these two distinct cultures into dishes that may appear familiar, but taste completely original.

Ancient Grain XO Spaghetti

Ancient Grain XO Spaghetti

Mister Tuna opened about two years ago and was inspired by creator/owner Troy Guard's childhood days in Hawaii where his dad, known as Mister Tuna, cooked meals over a grill in their backyard. The new menu combines Guard's Hawaiian history and Chef Epps Southeaster and Asian experiences. Together they have created a marvelous menu with many different flavors, ingredients, and creative combinations. The menu offers Raw Bar selections, many Shared Plates, and a handful of large Entrees meant for sharing. The whole menu in fact was crafted with the intention of sharing a meal, sharing an experience, and enjoying the flavors together with the friends or family at the table with you.

The wood fired grill is a central component here and works alongside the rotisserie that spins everything from local game to whole heritage hogs. This method showcases a style of cooking that brings people together in “Ohana”, the Hawaiian concept for family.

Bison Tongue Toast

Bison Tongue Toast

To start, the Oak Grilled English Peas are a fun and flavorful appetizer for the table. They mimic Edamame but with an entirely different flavor that comes from charring them right on the coals and seasoning with yuzu black pepper butter. The other appetizer we shared was their popular Bison Tongue Toast. The bison in this dish is brined for two weeks then cooked for a whole day to become bison pastrami. This delicacy sits atop a house made bread, Fontina cheese sandwich garnished with pickled spicy radish. This shared plate, along with the Charred Barbeque Octopus, are two of the most popular new dishes on the menu. Two longstanding favorites of Chef Guard's that remain on the menu are the broccolini, speck Gnocchi and his Roti Tacos.

Two larger standouts we tried and recommend are the Ancient Grain Spaghetti and the Smoked Cauliflower Agnolotti. While both are pasta dishes, they tasted far from Italian, especially the Spaghetti, which Chef Epps said he calls "Faux Soba". The bolognese sauce he makes is slightly creamy, but uses Asian flavors and XO sauce, simmered shrimp, smoked eggplant, and specked with Speck (cured pork). The Spaghetti is handmade with ancient grains, has the perfect amount of creamy XO sauce, and is all topped with sautéed bok choy and crispy fried shallots - what a wonderful cultural mash up!

The Smoked Cauliflower Agnolotti is similar to ravioli and is stuffed with smooth pureed cauliflower and potato. A house made calabrian chili oil, which is a spicy, mildly sweet Italian chili, surrounds the pasta pillows and provides a zesty punch. Living local greens, buffalo burrata and charred cauliflower decorate this delicious dish.

Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak

If you still have room to order an entrée after all the scrumptious shared plates, you can choose between Hawaiian Fish in coconut curry, Rotisserie Pork Collar, and Hanger Steak with their incredibly unique potatoes (gnocchi meets sponge cake gets baked, then deep fried). There’s also a Lamb Ribeye, Halibut, and Fried Rice. You can enjoy the entire menu or just a cocktail at the interactive Chef's counter, the raw and preservation (pickling) bar, the cocktail lounge, or their large outdoor patio. Mister Tuna provides plenty of spaces to match your mood and plenty of eats to please your palate.

https://www.mistertuna.com/

Words by Tiffany Candelaria

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Dio Mio x UNCLE A Match Made In Heaven

What could possibly be the perfect meal for a blustery cold and chilly evening in Denver? It just so happens Mother Nature decided to bless us with the coldest day of the year to coincide with the amazing Dio Mio and UNCLE Ramen Pop Up Shop. Two amazing local restaurants cranking out an amazing menu for a perfect chilly day. With lines extending down the block, patrons braved the elements to enjoy the various kinds of ramen and other specially curated dishes for the evening. With three different types of ramen and buns (menu below) foodies had their choosing of some tasty dishes that didn't last long. A unique collaboration, we look forward to more events like this in the future. Check out the photos by staff photographer Samantha Bliss.

Chef Spencer White hard at work behind the scenes. (Photo Credit: Samantha Bliss)

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