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After having lunch on the sunny patio at Venue I swore I would go back for multiple visits. This small but charming restaurant in the Highlands is located on 32nd Avenue next to Mondo Vino. Venue sports a rock star chef and Holly, the owner and front of the house who earned her stripes as a manager at Table 6 for a number of years. Chef James Rugile was on the James Beard Rising Star long list earlier this year. He didn’t make the cut to the short list but he did score a Beard dinner in New York this October. After dining at Venue, I understand why.

Lunch at Venue features seared salmon, shrimp and grits, sandwiches, spinach salad and potato leek soup. I split the salad and the salmon with a girlfriend. Both items were delicious. The salad was beautifully dressed, served with candied walnuts, onions and goat cheese. Simple and perfect. The seared salmon was SEARED. I love when a chef can get a good, hard sear on a piece of fish while leaving the inside beautifully done and not overcooked. The salmon is served with a panzanella salad. I could have licked my plate. The dinner menu is equally as beautiful. Brunch is served on Sundays.

Stop by Venue this weekend for dinner, or lunch or brunch. Venue Bistro – 3609 W. 32nd Ave. – 303-477-0477.