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Denver Restaurant Week(s) 2010 - Any Takers?

We decided to go all out so we have a bunch of reservations and cannot wait!

Parallel 17
Texas de Brazil (been every year during DRW for the last 3 yrs - can't beat the deal!)
Highland's Garden Cafe

Woo hoo! We haven't been to the others - really excited about Venue! Any experiences with these restaurants?

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  1. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Restaurant Kevin Taylor

      1. We've got a reservation for Opus in Littleton but have to get on the stick and book others.

        1. I have reservations at Rioja and Black Pearl. Looking forward to it!

          1. We're going to TDB (because we can take our daughter) and Oceanaire... very unlike us to do chain restaurants but both are great deals and we love the atmosphere at Oceanaire. I miss the days that we has reservations every night, but now a babysitter costs too much!

            6 Replies
            1. re: ijack

              Oceanaire is the exception to the rule.


              Me, as usual, not doing a thing. I hate Restaurant Week. I repeat this tired old story every year, but it's always true—while some restaurants treat it as a genuine opportunity to win over potential regulars and do a great job with what can be an excellent PR move, the majority treat it as Freeloader Week, expecting never to see the people who come in again and offering the bare minimum. Staff hate it because they work twice as hard for smaller tips.

              It's usually better where it's still new, like here in Denver. But after not going for years in Boston I finally gave in last year to try Root Down, and it was, sure enough, a shitshow.

              OK, that's my rant. Has anyone had *heartening* RW experiences? If so, where? Would love to know, maybe you'll convince me anew.

              1. re: tatamagouche

                I'm with you. It's just a zoo out there during Restaurant Week (or in this year's case, 2 weeks). I don't like to evaluate a new place when it's packed and you feel almost as if you are being rushed out the door to make room for the next group who has booked your table.

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  While I don't doubt that the service and experience would probably be better some other time, I enjoy the heck out of Restaurant Week. I can't afford to splurge on a fancy meal that often, and when I do, I sure like to know where to spend it. RW allows me to check out some nice places, eat great food, and not break the bank. I have no complaints. If, however, you have the money and time to eat out often, then RW is a time to be avoided.

                  As for heartening experiences, the meal I had at Restaurant Kevin Taylor 2 years ago ranks up there as one of the best I have ever had. And during Boulder's First Bite I had great meals at Colterra and Mateo.

                  1. re: LurkerDan

                    Cool. If you all will serve as my guinea pigs, I promise to help you support the places that treated you right during RW once it's all over!

                    Good for Kevin Taylor, that's a pleasant surprise.

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      I agree with some of those thoughts, but I also think that if a place has a decent menu posted for the week, then it is a good way to check out a splurge place.

                      I went to Panzano last year, and it was fantastic. It felt the same as a normal night there, just a few minute longer wait but nothing to complain about - just smaller portions (but more courses than what I would usually eat). It was great value for the money and a wonderful dining experience.

                      1. re: FRF30

                        Well, it doesn't surprise me to hear that Panzano's one of the places that would get RW right. One of my all-time faves.

                        And I agree with your first point completely. If the menu is decent, it can be a good opportunity. But the menus often bore me; I can guess what's on them before I even look at them.

                        And that's not even really the restaurants' "fault"; it's the nature of RW that they likely have to create menus (a) that will appeal more broadly to people beyond their usual customer base and (b) reflect the cost of the meal. So sometimes I wonder if we really *are* getting a true taste of the restaurants we're using RW to get a true taste of. You know what I mean?

                        Anyway, as I said, though it's just not my thing, I'll definitely look to this and related threads to see which places pleased you all who are more appreciative and less tiresome than me, and then I'll go support them!

              2. Restaurant weeks are motivational as much as anything else. "Gee, we've been wanting to try this place, and now is a good time." For restaurants, it drives traffic during a slow period and to thank regulars as well as entice diners who have not been there before.
                IM(very)HO, it's always a win/win promotion.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ClaireWalter

                  I totally agree - been meaning to try and if we like, we will be back! I love it!

                  1. re: Heyteacher

                    Ditto the PP on Restaurant Kevin Taylor. We had a wonderful experience there a couple years ago. THe food was fantastic and most importantly they treated us with respect. Because of that I'll always recommend it to others, full-price or not. Same with Oceanaire, perfect atmosphere and great service. Mizuna seems to be the worst offender of horrible service. I get that tips aren't as big during DRW, but being rude will get you nowhere.
                    I will say that DRW has gone down in recent years. It used to be the best opportunity to try new restaurants, but now it just seems like it's an excuse for people to eat out. Some of the restaurants on the list in the past couple years are ridiculous.

                    1. re: ijack

                      Well, ijack, I'll look forward to your RW reports this year. Like I said, good for RKT—that's admirable.

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        With all due respect, iJack. what is wrong with "an excuse for people to eat our"? Not everyone has ample disposable income. Some people need to watch their budgets, and they can only treat themselves to a dinner our when it is an excellent value. Not everyone has ample free time. Some people need to concern themselves with babysitting or with fnding a time to eat our when both components of a couple work different hours, and for them, what you consider an "excuse" is a reason. IMHO, if DRW provides an opportunity to eat at a restaurant that some might consider "ridiculous" but that they enjoy, it's on balance a very good thing.

                        1. re: ClaireWalter

                          I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. I don't have ample free time, I need a babysitter (which is why we chose a restaurant this year that we can take our daughter to), I get that. When DRW first started I feel like it was an opportunity to really get a feel for some of the restaurants that you don't get to eat at every day. We'd pick places that we wanted to try based on their menu, knowing that if they gave a good showing during restaurant week that we'd go back there. It was kind of a "test drive" for places and one of my favorite weeks of the whole year (there were a couple years that I booked a restaurant each night). In the past 2 years I've been pretty disappointed with the service and menus. Based on my experiences and what I've heard from others, the restaurants don't use it as a chance to woo customers, they view it as a PITA. Yes, I am generalizing, but I think restaurants now treat it differently and because of that patrons are as well. I'm not the customer that most DRW is after anymore. I've eaten at most restaurants in Denver and I have a short list when it comes to a nice dinner out. I feel like restaurants view it as a way to serve the most people in the smallest amount of time because they aren't getting much $$ not to really showcase their talents, and because of that it's not something I want to participate in to the extent I used to.