Dining Out: Rye Society, Arcana, and Corrida

A decadent new New York–style deli, a new series of heritage dinners from a venerable chef, and Spanish-style tapas.

A tasty sandwich at Rye Society.
Photo by Rachel Adams

Rye Society

Modern Jewish Deli

“Come in. We’re awesome.” The front door on the 31st Street side of Jerrod Rosen’s modern Jewish delicatessen cuts straight to the point, but I didn’t need an extra sales pitch. I love salads, I love soups, I love sandwiches, I love breakfast. And this new RiNo morning and midday joint, complete with touches like copper mugs for water, has had lines out the door since opening in late July. The verdict? We won’t be friends any longer if you don’t save me a space in that line.

“I’ve always loved delis and was so impressed by the concept of the contemporary deli,” says Rosen, who refined his hospitality skills at Michelin-starred Per Se and New York City’s award-winning Tabla Restaurant. “I want this to be a place for the neighborhood, where people can come get a sandwich, something light, coffee.”

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The menu, created by chef consultant Ryan Leinonen from Colt & Gray and Root Down, has all the deli classics, with a modern twist. You’ll want to eat forks-full of the lox on the Hebrew Hammer bagel ($12) with house-made cream cheese and a Rosenberg bagel. The Rye Society Cobb Salad ($13) has wonderful blue cheese crumbles and Tender Belly bacon on top. The 18+1 pastrami sandwich ($12), with coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and pastrami from New York’s Carnegie Deli, was a winner at our table.

But the real menu stars are from Rosen’s family recipe book. “It’s about this big,” he says, spreading out his hands at least five inches. The Rosens have been feeding Denver for almost 100 years, starting with Jerrod’s great-grandfather’s Golden Rule Dry Goods Store, which opened in 1922. The mixture behind the slightly sweet, slightly sour house-made Rosen pickle ($3.50 or available with any sandwich) is 120 years old. The Matzoh Ball Soup ($6), which my husband called pure comfort food, is Rosen’s great-grandmother’s creation. And you must order up a plate of rugelach pastries ($1.50 each), a cream cheese-based dough filled with treats like Nutella and apricot purée made by Rosen’s Aunt Cindy. We found it impossible to eat just one. Lines, you say? Better let the boss know that you’ll be taking a long lunch. —Kendall Kostelic

Rye Society
3090 Larimer St.

A full meal at Arcana.
Photo by Andrew Weaver


New American cuisine

The archives of the History Colorado Center make for an unlikely culinary muse, but then chef Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana restaurant in Boulder is an unlikely kind of cook.

Trained as a classical oboist, Mendenhall is recognized for his willingness to experiment, a virtue fully on display in his series “Colorado Heritage Dinners,” launched in July. The series’ first installment offered a faithful re-creation of a historic menu: a banquet on Aug. 17, 1880, at Denver’s Hotel Glenarm, honoring President Ulysses S. Grant. The original menu, borrowed from the HCC, is massive, detailing more than 40 dishes served in seven courses. The Arcana team pared it down to the essential standouts, but even so, the offerings were bountiful (even, dare we say, presidential), with multiple entrées including Colorado Rainbow Trout with Rashers, Lamb Chops à l’Anglaise, and Roasted Chicken with Bread Sauce.

A parade of sides complemented the mains—potato croquettes, green peas, stewed tomatoes—and a palate cleanser of musk melon sorbet with salt, pepper, basil, and olive oil preceded dessert, which featured Italian cream and Charlotte Russe. Mendenhall paired each wave of dishes with a wine or spirit meant to approximate the alcohol Grant himself imbibed with dinner. “We look for inspiration everywhere,” Mendenhall says. “In any art form, you take inspiration from the past to inform the future.” The chef plans to host the Heritage Dinners quarterly, with the next installment this fall. —Andrew Weaver

909 Walnut St., Boulder

A meal at Corrida in Boulder.
Photo by Jennifer Olson


Spanish-style tapas and steak

There are restaurants you grab a quick bite at, and then there are eateries you save for the days you have time to spare, places you want to linger in. Boulder’s Corrida, a Basque-style Spanish tapas and steak spot opened in March by Bryan Dayton (of Acorn, Brider, and Oak at Fourteenth) and chef Amos Watts (of Old Major and Acorn), is a perfect example of the latter. “We combined the two things we love,” Watts says. “Corrida (which means “to run”; corrida de toros means bullfighting) is a place where you can have three tapas or do a big steak dinner.”

After being greeted by a hostess at the elevator on the ground floor of the PearlWest building (Corrida takes up the fourth floor), we enjoyed one of the best views of the Flatirons we’ve ever seen. Then, the gin and tonic cart, Corrida’s cocktail specialty, arrived. Of the five different recipes, mixed tableside, we went crisp with Bright ($14) and citrusy with Sweet Citrus ($11), both so easy to drink you’ll want to order three. Then came our first course.

We dined like true Spaniards on Croquetas de Jamon ($3 each), with a ham reduction; Pan Con Tomate ($6), with heirloom tomatoes and confit garlic; tender Pulpo Gallego ($18), or Spanish octopus; Aceitunas Fritas ($12), fried olives with an almond romesco sauce; a perfectly seared American Wagyu Strip Loin ($14 per ounce); and, finally, an airy slice of Basque Cheesecake ($12) with a Bing cherry compote. Want wine with dinner? Consult a house sommelier and Corrida’s leather-bound list, organized by flavor profile.

Next time, we plan to dine on the massive patio, perfect for drinks and appetizers. Olé! —Kendall Kostelic

1023 Walnut St. #400, Boulder