Many an industry pro considers New Year’s Eve—along with Valentine’s Day &, well, pretty much every Friday & Saturday—amateur night, an overhyped, pack-’em-in, toss-’em-out shitshow.

If there’s 1 restaurant I’d trust to be the stunning exception to the rule, it’s Beatrice & Woodsley, which positively killed it last Halloween. I wish the menu for this 6-course (7 if you count the amuse) were a little more detailed—given the $100pp price tag, I’d at least like to know, say, what comes with the veal or what precisely will rock that carrot-ginger soup (cause I guarantee something will); still, it’s a promising start. Betcha big bucks it sells out, so call 303.777.3505 nowish to make reservations for 7:30pm.

Amuse Bouche

1st course
Grilled diver scallop, sauce romesco, candied fennel & bacon
Domaine Giachino Jaquere, Savoie

2nd course
Seared Hudson Valley foie gras, petite minced meatless tart & tellicherry pepper essence
Castelfeder Schiava, Alto Adige

3rd course
Carrot-ginger soup
Selbach Incline Riesling, Mosel

4th course
Lobster & champagne “risotto”
Viña Santa Maria Torrontes, Mendoza

5th course
Assiette of milk-fed veal
Il Faggio Montepulciano, Abruzzo

6th course
Chocolate savarin cake, brandy & morello cherry ice cream
Dom Pérignon “Andy Warhol Colors” Special Edition 2002, Champagne

I can’t make similar promises for Vesta Dipping Grill; I enjoy the place, but given how crazy busy it gets on weekends, NYE could be a black sucking vortex. Still, they’ll be serving up some specials that actually sound special (again, with prices to match, suggested wine pairings not included—see: amateur night). Call 303.296.1970 for reservations:

Crab & house-cured bacon, triple-cream béchamel, butter-grilled brioche ($12)
Gruet Blanc de Noir

Grilled sea scallops, lobster risotto,creme fraîche–leek salad, tarragon demi ($36)
Maysara Pinot Gris 2009

Chocolate cheesecake cupcake, Nutella buttercream ($8)
Dow’s Late Bottle Vintage Port 2004

***

As I noted on this week’s Gorging Global blogpost, Cantonese joints like JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant tend to specialize in seafood. But JJ also serves up a slew of hot pots, both the DIY variety—whereby you choose your broth & ingredients & cook it all up yourself at the table—& a more casserole-like array from the kitchen. Since the online menu doesn’t begin to indicate JJ’s wealth of menu options, here’s a look-see (click to enlarge):

“Chicken soup base” doesn’t do justice to the aromatic broth, speckled with jujubes (the Chinese date, not the drive-in candy), goji berries & ginger bits:

Our pal Keith got his with chicken & wontons; not unreasonable, but had it been my order, I’d have gone nutso on seafood & veggies. These hot pots also come with a so-called satay sauce, which isn’t the peanut-based dip of Southeast Asian cuisine but rather a cumin-&-garlic-dominated bowl of wonders I’d have gulped down like soup had I been slightly drunker. (Speaking of drinks, JJ offers two Chinese wines by the bottle. They ain’t cheap—$60 a pop—but they might be worth a shot for curiosity’s sake; rest assured the East Asian wine industry is primed to explode in the next decade or so.)

My own hot pot with was a fine, glistening mess of fatty chopped spare rib & its absorption by eggplant & tofu; if I said it tasted like green-brown & orange-yellow, would that make as much synthesic sense to you as it does to me?

Anyway, more to the point, I urge you to head over to Denver Magazine’s The Mouthful to immerse yourself in fried & salt-cured fishies.

JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon