The Wolf’s Tailor began its first chapter with a bang. Only a year after it opened in summer 2018, it landed on Bon Appetit‘s 10 Best New Restaurants in America — effectively catapulting it into the spotlight. But Kelly Whitaker’s marvelously forward-thinking restaurant struggled briefly with expectations — never quite fitting into the suit hungry magazine readers hoped to find it wearing. There were hiccups, but even before the success and some subsequent pigeonholing, stasis was never in the cards for Wolf’s.
Even prior to the massive wrench COVID-19 flung into the cogs of the restaurant industry, Whitaker conceptualized the next chapter in the restaurant’s evolving story under the mantra “TWT, Time Will Tell,” — going so far as to order merchandise bearing the expression months before lockdown. A multi-city tour was planned — with hopes of bringing the restaurant’s ideology and cuisine on the road, with stops in LA, San Francisco, Philidelphia and Charleston. Discussions regarding climate change and the sustainability of restaurants were paired alongside the food and Whitaker — who also helms the Noble Grain Alliance — was excited to ignite a conversation amongst both peers and enthusiasts. When the idea had to be scrapped, the TWT phrase seemed almost prophetic. It’s now printed on the menus and underpins much of the current iteration of the restaurant’s already dynamic philosophy.
This week, Wolf’s will re-open to the public, debuting a revamped a la carte menu as well as the carefully-curated tasting menu, deemed Entrust. As multi-course, omakase-style dining has always been central to the place, a fair amount of ingenuity was required to translate the experience into a to-go friendly arrangement. Fortunately, the first run has been a hit.
Utilizing a surprisingly stylish disposable bento box, the changing menu is set to deliver a more substantial entree with a series of banchan-style sides, emulating Korean dining more in form than in flavor. Roughly 10 courses are spread across three packages for $45/person. While the menu is set to change based on the whims of the chef, last week’s featured such delicacies as chicken liver mousse nigiri, with crispy rice and pistachio, scallop tataki with yuzu brown butter and bronze fennel and beef short rib with smoked fingerling, cipollini soubise and a healthy dollop of horseradish. To close, the ice cream from famed pastry chef Jeb Breakell — with banana milk, sesame caramel and pecan praline — was a good reminder that the place still boasts one of the city’s more formidable dessert programs. No matter how diners decide to order, the sourdough bread ($10) is an absolute must, still managing to contest if not surpass even its more intricate tablemates.
With the entire industry being forced to evolve, the ever-malleable Wolf’s Tailor was able to ride the crest. “We’re going to continue on with what the restaurant was intended to do,” said Whitaker. Fine dining is a tough egg to crack when it comes to to-go — Whitaker’s thoughtful attempt is a good indication that it’s worth every attempt.
The Wolf’s Tailor is located at 4058 Tejon St., Denver. It is open for take-out Wednesday – Saturday 4 – 8 p.m. All food is ordered through Tok reservations.
All photography courtesy of The Wolf’s Tailor, unless otherwise noted.