New Denver restaurants, November 2020: Bellota, Ginger Pig and more

Right off the bat, as of publication, we’re not sure if we’ll be dining at restaurants much longer. COVID-19 cases in Colorado continue to skyrocket and a shutdown could be in short order. But luckily, these new spots offer takeout and, in some cases, delivery, and we’re happy to have more options for both this winter.

Here are a handful of restaurants that we’ve tried and tested this month, along with suggestions for ordering at each of them.

Bellota

If you’re like us, you might be sticking closer to your own neighborhood these days for any restaurant outings. But chef Manny Barella hopes his food at the new Bellota (Spanish for acorn, which was the name of the last restaurant in that space) will have you venturing out slightly farther.

“I want people to pass three other Mexican restaurants on their way here,” Barella said with a smile. At Bellota, the native of Monterrey, Mexico, is preparing foods from all over his home country, with regional plates like enchiladas ($8) and mole ($18) alongside tacos ($4.50-$7) and snacks such as esquites (street corn, $7) prepared here like risotto and featuring a charred tortilla aioli.

That last dish is a good example of Barella’s unique contribution to Denver’s Mexican food scene. Prior to opening Bellota with the teams behind Acorn and Smok (also at The Source), he worked in kitchens at Uchi and Frasca. You’ll notice little influences from those fine-dining institutions here, just at a price point that’s a little more pandemic-friendly.

3350 Brighton Blvd. (inside The Source), 720-542-3721, denverbellota.com  

Ginger Pig

Natascha Hess’ brick-and-mortar version of the Ginger Pig has been a long time coming. Hess started out with a Boulder-area food truck, which received big kudos in a review in this publication. She went on to open a stall at the Boulder food hall Rosetta, and now she has finally moved into new digs in the Berkeley neighborhood of North Denver. Lucky for us.

At the Ginger Pig restaurant, you’ll want to order a number of hot and homey Chinese dishes to share with the family. Start with spicy fried chicken ($14), add on some chewy mung bean noodles ($14) or char siu pork ($15), and don’t skip over the cocktail list, which plays on ingredients from across Asia.

The best part about the new Ginger Pig? Hess is already a pro at to-go from her food truck days, so the meals pack up well for dinner.

4262 Lowell Blvd., 720-324-8416, gingerpig.com

Manzo

While a new oyster and lobster bar doesn’t exactly feel like the most timely opening during a recession that has left millions without a job, this new Uptown restaurant offers some affordable indulgences that could make it a neighborhood favorite.

Owner Rich Manzo created a refuge for all things lobster, using the beloved crustacean in dishes like poutine ($19), a Cobb salad ($13), club sandwich ($23) and both traditional and Connecticut-style lobster rolls ($20). If lobster’s not your style, definitely don’t skip the mussels ($16). You’ll get a big bucket of them swimming in whatever sauce you choose. (We suggest the white wine, bacon and creme fraiche.)

Come on Tuesdays for a $35 lobster boil box or on Sundays for $26 bouillabaisse. There is currently only indoor seating, so plan to order takeout if you’re not comfortable with that.

500 E. 19th Ave., 303-862-9282, manzolobsterbar.com

Wing Alley

This summer, Ace Eat Serve hosted a restaurant-within-a-restaurant pop-up serving up summer-perfect poke bowls for delivery and pick-up. Now, the Uptown restaurant has launched Wing Alley, a wing-centric pop-up from executive chef Thach Danny Tran.

Tran took a couple of dishes popular on Ace Eat Serve’s menu — particularly the Tiger Wings, slathered in a sticky, sweet and salty lemongrass/chili caramel sauce — and built a menu of takeout Asian-inspired wings ($11.99 for eight, $22.99 for 16 or $29.99 for 24 pieces) and booze-free beverages such as Thai iced tea and Vietnamese coffee.

While there is some overlap between Ace Eat Serve and Wing Alley’s menus, you can’t order Wing Alley for dine-in — you’ll have to use the Door Dash app. But these wings — such as the (literally) mouth-tingling dry spice rub on the Foxy Kitsune wings or the Lucky Dragon, covered in a sticky sweet Thai chili sauce with garlic aioli — are worth the extra trouble. Being take-out or delivery only makes this concept particularly coronavirus-friendly.

501 E. 17th Ave. (at Ace Eat Serve), 720-897-8002, aceeatserve.com/wing-alley

Postino (and Cava) 9+Co

For those nearby 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, the 9+Co development is proving to be an easy weeknight dinner stop. Restaurants such as Pizzeria Locale, Gelato Boy and Frank & Roze have previously opened here, and now two newcomers — Postino and Cava — have started serving. While both are out-of-state operations, they’ve got consistent offerings and serious local followings.

This is Postino’s third Denver location; the other two are in LoHi and on South Broadway. The restaurant is known for its equally extensive wine selection and bruschetta board varieties, and deals thereof, like Monday and Tuesday nights’ board and bottle for $25.

And Cava has just arrived in Colorado with a handful of Front Range locations. The fast-casual Mediterranean spot lets you build your own bowls: Start with salad, grains or pita, then add on dips and spreads, proteins, veggies and other toppings and dressing. You can expect to pay around $10 for your choice of bowl, or $45 for a “family meal.”

830 N. Colorado Blvd., 720-262-5474, postinowinecafe.com; 4084 E. 8th Place, 970-713-2084, cava.com

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