Denver: Olivéa

John Broening and Yasmin Lozada-Hissom are the reigning First Couple of this city’s restaurant kitchens, a pair of chefs with an old-school appreciation for craft without flash and a very modern sense of seasonality and locality. After three years of success at the modern-American destination Duo, they’ve now opened the Mediterranean-inspired Olivéa in the Uptown neighborhood. You could have a great meal by treating Olivéa as a small plates restaurant, sitting at the bar with a glass of wine, some of Broening’s fabulous house-made charcuterie, the roasted asparagus with poached egg and piquant, rich romesco, and the smoked trout and fregola lightened with almonds and mint pesto. But if you didn’t try any of the main courses you’d miss what may be the best duck meatballs ever, or the contrast of perfect, airy gnocchi and dense, meaty sugo. Lozada-Hissom’s desserts achieve intense flavor without relying on sweetness: Her walnut tart, with its pleasant hint of bitterness set off by tangy fromage blanc ice cream, is a case study in the delicious use of understatement.

Olivéa 719 E. 17th Ave., Denver (303-861-5050;



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