Chef Kelly Whitaker, of Wolf’s Tailor and Basta, opens new restaurant

Kelly Whitaker’s latest restaurant is open, kiddos.

The Denver chef behind highly acclaimed restaurants like The Wolf’s Tailor, Basta, Bruto and Cart-Driver opened Hey Kiddo, a playful fusion restaurant, on the third floor of The Asher boutique hotel, at 4337 Tennyson St. on Thursday, Jan. 19.

The menu, which Whitaker collaborated on with San Francisco chef Deuki Hong, is small but mighty and features flavors and techniques from across the globe. To start, guests can enjoy oysters, caviar, popcorn Korean fried chicken, a shrimp cocktail, dry-aged carpaccio or Texas toast with chicken liver mousse. Entrees include four choices of meat or fish: a melt-in-your-mouth bone-in short rib, a crispy pork belly, half a duck or half a lobster topped with kosho butter.

But the sides also stand out. There’s a “shaken rice” dish, which Whitaker said is reminiscent of Korean children’s lunch boxes which get shaken up in their backpacks on the way to school; here the staff serves the dish in a small box and shakes it up at your table. There is also a crispy potato pave that pairs well with any meat. For dessert, try a scoop of rice cream with toppings like flambeed banana, waffle cone pieces or caramel.

Hey Kiddo is Whitaker’s take on a more approachable concept. Unlike Wolf’s Tailor, there’s no pre-fixe, multi-course menu or reservations required.

And if you get stuck on a wait, try Hey Kiddo’s hidden bar, dubbed Ok Yeah.

In this space, you sit behind a bar table, and the bartenders work around what looks like a large ice chest in the middle of the room. There’s no menu because the bartenders will customize whatever drink you’d like. I told them I’d like a fruity tequila drink, and they concocted a raspberry champagne margarita just from my suggestion.

4337 Tennyson St. Suite 300, Denver; hk-oy.com

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