Passive dining is so passé. Trend-setting restaurants are encouraging diners to have fun with their food via interactive dishes. Denver’s new Mexican-Asian hit Zengo borrows from the Japanese tradition of tableside cooking to offer Kobe beef you sear on a piping hot rock — yes, a rock — atop the table (720-904-0965, www.modernmexican.com). Washington, D.C.’s Circle Bistro serves “fire pot,” a Chinese take on fondue in which you cook your own seafood, meat, and noodles in a bubbling broth (202-293-5390, www.circlebistro.com). In College Station, Texas, at the Bell Ranch Steakhouse, you get a deconstructed strawberry shortcake — four cake layers and bowls of strawberries and whipped cream — that you can whip into your own confection (979-694-4929, www.bellranchsteakhouse.com). At least they still wash the dishes for you.
— E.G.