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The Woods

The rooftop bar and restaurant on top of the brand spanking new The Source Hotel in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood has an enviable location and a menu full of familiar dishes

The Woods Denver
Photo: Stephan Werk Media

With so many great places to eat in #Denver, restaurants are always on the lookout for an X factor or at least something to make them stand out from a crowded field. For The Woods, it is the location. Sitting pretty on top of The Source Hotel on Brighton Boulevard in the city’s trendiest neighborhood, RiNo, The Woods offers great views of the city, particularly at night.

Not that a view, any view, is, or at least should be, a deciding factor on whether a #restaurant is worth visiting - the food always comes first.  

Fortunately, for The Woods, the food is good. The menu is full of dishes everyone will know well (mac‘n’cheese, a couple of pizza options and Buffalo wings [triple fried in this case]) but there are a few “elevated” dishes that will be new to some diners (Rocky Mountain Trout Rillette and Trout Amandine among them) and some on-trend dishes that you can see all over the city, for now (Brussels sprouts to name but one).

The Woods Denver
Photo: M Stevenson Photo

It is worth pointing out that the current menu identifies almost a dozen ingredients and menu items as being locally sourced. There are plenty of restaurants that make veiled claims to be local but rarely are quite so in depth on the actual menu.

At the helm of The Woods is chef Brandon Biederman. A Denver mainstay having worked at both Ace Eat Serve and Steuben’s, Biederman told us that the menu will change seasonally and the next menu will be a little more technical - what that means for mac’n’cheese and Buffalo wings is anyone’s guess.

On our recent visit, we tried a good cross section of the menu and left content but stuffed (one of our party point blank refuses to waste food). The shared plate section of the menu is not an understatement. One shared plate (at least of the pimento cheese, the trout rillette and the charcuterie board) per pair of diners is enough as portions are generous. In fact the pimento cheese was served in such a big portion that it is perhaps only worth ordering if you have a party of at least three but preferably four.

As for main courses, the whole roasted Rocky Mountain trout served on a plump bed of farro with grilled asparagus and charred lemon was very good. The flesh was silky and moist; the charred lemon, when squeezed over the top, elevated it. Similarly, the New York Strip steak, served with Brussels sprouts (we would have preferred them a tiny bit more charred) and roasted sunchoke, was charred to perfection on the outside yet juicy on the inside - as steak should be.

The Woods Denver
Photo: M Stevenson Photo

The Woods also showcases New Belgium experimental and small batch beers that are brewed on the ground level (on the current menu there are only a few dishes that explicitly state they utilize beer including a vinaigrette that uses a New Belgium sour), while the rooftop houses New Belgium’s experiential barrel aging program.

We only tried two cocktails on our visit - the 8th Floor Sour and the Juniper Moon - and both were very refreshing thanks to citrus components. The former, served in a beer glass was a very drinkable concoction of bourbon, amaretto, vanilla, lemon juice and a New Belgium Pilsner, while the former, served in a cuvée glass brought together gin, chartreuse, lillet blanc, lime and simple syrup.

Overall, The Woods will satisfy those looking for a good meal and a new experience. We are looking forward to visiting again when the menu changes for the season, which will likely happen in a matter or weeks so stay tuned!

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