There are only two contenders for Denver’s best sushi—and they’re polar opposites. One is Sushi Den, a dark and rollicking madhouse on Old South SasaflyingfishcarpaccioPearl. The other is Sushi Sasa. Opened by former Sushi Den employee Wayne Conwell just north of downtown, it’s spare and serene, all pale hues and hushed conversations—the ideal setting for precise, pristine pieces of toro, needlefish, Spanish mackerel, and more. But then, that’s to be expected: order omakase, and you’ll be treated to all sorts of stunning surprises from the kitchen as well—think sea bass in black bean sauce and wasabi cheesecake.

It’s those contemporary global influences that so distinguish Sushi Sasa and compel its clientele of sophisticates to crowd in constantly; reservations are strongly recommended.