Thanks to everyone who suggested restaurants.  I went to three:

  1. Rootdown Denver.  The clear favorite.  Loud, trendy, waitstaff heavily tattooed.  Small plates for under $10 each.  I had beet gnocchi, carrot and thai red curry soup, some other stuff. All great.  I was lucky to find a seat at the bar otherwise I would have waited a long time.  So definitely you need reservations. The best part of my dinner was that I finally found a bar that serves a mythical cocktail:  The Aviation.  I have been looking for this for a decade.  It was fantastic.  Thanks for the pointer Dan!
  2. Osteria Marco.  Fine but typical Italian.  I had pizza.  I’ve had worse. They served by the glass a blend of Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo from Langhe. That was something new for me, and I liked it.
  3. Tastes Wine Bar.  A little depressing because I was the only person there. But the food was somewhat adventurous and good.  The wine was fine, but not the kind of varied selection I would have expected from a place that calls itself a wine bar.  The menu listed a sauvignon blanc from the Loire and when I ordered it to start with, I was told that they were out and tonight they were substituting a Sauv Blanc from Colorado!!  I did taste it. Once.

Its a shame I didnt make it to the Fluid coffee bar that Jacob Grier suggested. I was going to stop there on Sunday before going to the airport but Denver got hit with a snow storm and so I got on standby and headed to the airport early to make sure I got out of there before the flights were cancelled.