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Critic Roundup: Session Kitchen Is a 'Game-Changer'

Critic Roundup: Session Kitchen Is a 'Game-Changer'

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Every week, The Daily Meal rounds up restaurant reviews across America

Session Kitchen is "one of the more exciting restaurants" in Denver and a "game-changer" due to its chef Scott Parker, its "inventive and meticulous" menu, and its décor.

This week in restaurant news, critic William Porter calls Session Kitchen "one of the more exciting restaurants" in Denver and a "game-changer" due to its chef Scott Parker, its "inventive and meticulous" menu, and its décor, described as "vivid and grin-inducing, a mélange of reds, grays, and whites punctuated by striking artwork." "First off, a note to early patrons of the restaurant who might have been put off by the rather clumsily organized and confusing menu, which needed the sort of tableside translation typically reserved for the flight manual of an F-22 Raptor," Porter says. "The menu has been revised, streamlined into straightforward accessibility, and the preciousness tossed out with last week's potato peels. Bravo."

In Orange County, Calif., critic Brad Johnson dines at Selanne Steak Tavern on two separate nights. On the first night, he says the service is "comically pathetic." "On the rare instances when we do encounter a server, they are frantically at their wits' end," he says. The next night, however, "right off the bat, our server is fantastic... He never skips a beat. He anticipates every need. He is a gentleman and a trustworthy salesman."

In Washington, D.C., Muze, which changed its name last month from Sou’wester as well as appointed a new chef de cuisine, Mark McDonnell, adds more "Asian accents" to its menu, says critic Tom Sietsema. "For your consideration: a sandwich layered with beet relish, goat cheese, and falafel (made green with edamame) and a main course of veal glazed with fermented black bean sauce. The latter shows up with a carrot purée seasoned with star anise that further underscores the venue’s change in direction."

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 1/8/2014

Gael GreeneInsatiable CriticThe Writing Room
Tom SietsemaWashington PostMuze
Brad A. JohnsonOrange County RegisterSelanne Steak Tavern2 stars
Stan SagnerNY Daily NewsM. Wells Steakhouse
William PorterDenver PostSession Kitchen3 stars
Michael BauerSan Francisco ChronicleBox and Bells2.5 stars
Pete WellsNew York TimesTosca Cafe
Jonathan GoldLos Angeles TImesDin Tai Fung
Devra FirstThe Boston GlobeFairsted Kitchen
Scott ReitzDallas ObserverLUCK

Click here for The Daily Meal's "Top Chefs Review — and Rate — America's Food Critics."

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @haleywillrd.