This blog is not the place you visit in order to stay up on the latest happenings of the Denver food scene. That might be appropriate, given that in the time leading up to the start of this blog it is hard to say there was even much of a "scene" to stay up on. In the past four or five years, though, this town has blossomed into a legitimate food city, and I think our local media overall does a pretty good job of keeping us up to date. As for me, I'll continue to tell my stories (though much less frequently these days as life would have it), mostly of places that have fallen off your radar, or maybe were never on your radar to begin with. There will always be exceptions of course, like this month's post about Work & Class.
Work & Class is on everyone's radar. The other day I was busy trying to increase my knowledge of the internet by clicking on every link that came up on my Twitter feed. One click took me to a page that showed me what a bunch of Denver "foodies" thought the best new restaurants were last year. I think 10 of the 12 people had Work and Class on their list. It would have been 11 of 13 if they would have asked me (though they knew better than to do that), yet all year long I had been avoiding it. For me it had all the external makings of a place I was doomed to hate: mildly pretentious name, too-hip location, one of the hottest seats in town, full of skinny jeans and beards. However, all year long, it just kept coming up. I finally went a few months ago. Twice in fact (that's a lot for me). And I loved every single thing about it.
For example: I love -- LOVE-- a restaurant where you order a beer like Utica Club in a can for $2 and the server says "good choice" and really seems to mean it.
I suppose a restaurant should be judged on more than its flattering servers, and my first meal at Work & Class was nothing short of brilliant. On that night I sat at the kitchen bar with a couple of friends, and we were at once entertained and awed by the skill, efficiency and effortless synchronization of the professional crew. It was peak dining on a Friday night and all three cooks were clearly working at full steam: focused, intense, and on exactly the same wavelength. There were no wasted movements. No words. As one moved into the other's space, the other would just at that moment turn-- or reach for something else-- so that there were no bumps, no shouts, and no wasted movements. It was like three people moving as one. I've watched a lot of kitchens in my days and have yet to see as smooth an operation as this in such a tight space.
That afternoon with my wife, we were served a couple of garbanzo fritters upon being seated. While nothing extraordinary, these perfect little bites seem to sum up the food at Work & Class particularly well: simple, unpretentious, well-conceived, and well-executed. Maybe not entirely original, nor hyper-local, nor the result of any fancy techniques, but tasty. And you want more.
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