Dec 21 2009

The Top 100 List: #67 Oceanaire’s “Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes”

Crab Cake

Oceanaire’s “Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes”

Location: Downtown

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

Price: $16 (appetizer)

The Skinny: Lots of hype around this dish.  When talking to other foodies, a few pointed to these crab cakes as their favorite on the whole must-eat list.  And certainly a $31 price tag for the dinner portion (2 cakes) makes that promise.  But for me, it didn’t match up to the hype.

Don’t get me wrong – it was good.  Probably even very good.  The best bites were silky and tender, the soft pearls of crab barely held together by fillings.  It was almost a naked crab mound, except for the tiny bit of mayo, egg and bread.  But it’s this simplicity that some love about the dish that I didn’t.  I like my crab cakes to have a crunch and a “bite” to the seared outside.  It’s the blending of the soft and crispy textures that hooks me.  This was more one-note.  My apologies to Denver’s crab connoisseurs.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)

Dec 20 2009

The Top 100 List: #66 Jing’s “Miso Sea Bass”

miso sea bass

Jing’s “Miso Sea Bass”

Location: Tech Center

Rating: 7.5 (out of 10)

Price: $25

The Skinny: After roughly 20 minutes at the table, my wife says to me, “I can’t decide if I like the décor, or if I think it’s trashy”.  I’m amused, and then I look around and think the same thing.  Lots of purple, lots of white, possibly some velvet – a bunch of frilly things.  As if Prince just walked in off the street and designed the whole room.  But, onto the dish…

Their miso-glazed sea bass was very good.  The sauce was sweet & light – working well with the delicate fish.  On this instance, I thought the execution was a little imbalanced – my fish was cooked a little too long and made the sea bass more firm in some parts than it should have been.  In other parts, however, it was tender and soft, giving a glimpse of what the whole dish should/could have been, which was excellent.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)

Dec 19 2009

The Top 100 List: #65 Snooze’s “Pineapple Upside Down Pancake”

PineappleUpsideDown

Snooze’s “Pineapple Upside Down Pancake”

Location: Ballpark

Rating: 9 (out of 10)

Price: $6

The Skinny: Certainly the worst kept secret in town is that Snooze is tops for breakfast. With wait times lasting as long as 2 hours on the weekends, it’s no wonder the ultra-cool label has been lost. But for those who wait (or go during the week, people!), the food is clearly worth it.

Take their signature dish, the Pineapple Upside Down pancake: Caramelized chunks of pineapple, fluffy, crispy, hot pancake, and a melting cinnamon butter topping. Much too big for one person, so settle in with some company and listen for the “mmmm” after each bite.

PS – Little known fact: the restaurant owner has some pretty decent street cred. He used to run The Chop House, Mao, and Sushi Den, widely considered the top sushi restaurant in town.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +2 (from 8 votes)

Dec 18 2009

The Top 100 List: #64 Star Kitchen’s Dim Sum

IMG00001

Star Kitchen’s “Dim Sum”

Location: Federal and Mississippi

Rating: 8 (out of 10)

Price: varies but always under $4

The Skinny: I’ve always heard of Star Kitchen.  And always with glowing praise -  “The go-to spot for Dim Sum in all of Denver” they say.  Walking up to the door, my eye catches a sign that reads:

“Top 100 Chinese Restaurant in the Country – candidate.”

Candidate?  They give signs simply for being considered for a top 100 list?  I’m guessing they didn’t get in since I didn’t see an adjoining poster for the real deal. Maybe the judges didn’t try their dim sum – It’s outrageously good.

Served off rolling carts, their dumplings are wrapped so tight that once pierced with your teeth, they explode gloriously in your mouth.  It’s like a flavor firecracker.  I had enough to feed a small village by myself, and each was better than the last.  Two of my favorites: Orange dumplings with pork and mushrooms, and the fried shrimp wontons.  I have become a believer.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)

Dec 17 2009

The Top 100 List: #63 Bistro One’s “Braised Pork Belly”

IMG00331

Bistro One’s “Braised Pork Belly”

Location: Broadway

Rating: 6.5 (out of 10)

Price: $9

The Skinny: Bistro One is kinda cool in that it’s fairly unexpected.  You’ll find it on the no-so-trendy part of Broadway, past a furnishings store, and sandwiched between a Spicy Pickle and a Piano warehouse.  But I like that.  I like a place that says “we’re going to open up anywhere we damn well please, but our food will be so good you’ll find us”.  And it’s apparently working, as I was lucky to wait only 20 minutes to get a seat on an average night.

They do a lot of interesting things for a bistro.  Wide ranging things, trendy things, classic things, etc.  In the “trendy things” category is their “Braised Pork Belly” which is plated quite nicely, and stacked together with sweet potato gnocchi and roasted apples.  The pork belly itself was decent – fatty at one end, meaty at the other and caramelized on the outside.  And, as you can imagine, the sweet potato gnocchi and apples really sweetened things up and blended nicely with the fatty juices of the pork.  I can’t say it was a favorite dish, but it was a nodding head “ok”.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

Dec 16 2009

The Top 100 List: #62 Strings’ Cashew Crusted Sea Bass

IMG00327

Strings’ “Cashew Crusted Sea Bass”

Location: 17th st

Rating: 8.9 (out of 10)

Price: $35

The Skinny: I’ve driven past Strings many, many times without a second thought to try it.  Something about the 80’s neon and colors that never called out to me, I guess.  But being on the list, I had to give it a go – and I’m glad I did.  In yet another example of not judging a book by its cover, Strings’ Sea Bass dish was inventive, elegant, and utterly delicious.

Imagine tender soft panels of chilean sea bass, dipped in vanilla cream sauce.  Now add just a streak of cranberry puree for color and acid.  It was an incredible symphony of flavors in each bite.  At $35, it goddamn better be.  The surrounding couscous soaked up the vanilla sauce like it should and added some texture, but the remaining veggies were slightly uninspired.  Still one of the better dishes I’ve had on the whole list.  Highly recommended.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)

Dec 15 2009

The Top 100 List: #61 Panzano’s “Capesante con Risotto”

IMG00320

Panzano’s “Capesante con risotto”

Location: Downtown

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

Price: $24

The Skinny: For me, Panzano has established itself as one of the standards in Denver.  If you’re craving Italian where anything on the menu is great,  on the list towards the top is bound to be Panzano.  Our little slice of Italy right in the middle of downtown.  Why, even a college girl could get wrongly convicted of murder here… allegedly.

The dish itself was plated beautifully, and the taste was light and creamy throughout.  Scallops were seared to a mouthwatering golden brown.  Risotto was rich and well seasoned.  The combination of basil oil, raisins, and lemon nage gave it a brightness that felt refreshing.  I only wish there was more of it, particularly for $24.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

Dec 14 2009

The Top 100 List: #60 Arada’s Doro Wat

IMG00315

Arada’s “Doro Wat”

Location: Santa Fe

Rating: 5.5 (out of 10)

Price: $10.50

The Skinny: I am no expert on Ethiopian dining, that’s for sure.  Nor do I hide it well either.  After asking the waitress/cook for a fork, she smiled at me with amused pity and suggested that I use the things at the end of my arms (my hands).  Ohhhhh snap!!  In your face, uncultured American, IN YO FACE!

Hands in full use, I dug into the Doro Wat – a chicken dish that takes 10 hours to cook, and is served along with a few sides atop a thin spongy flatbread.  The flatbread is interesting because of its uniqueness – half crepe, half bread, it tasted decent and did a pretty good job as a wrapper to the chicken and 4 sides on the plate.  The idea is to jam everything together in a strip of the flatbread and let them blend together in your mouth.  I found the sides to be a little above average in flavor, but mostly the chicken was a letdown.  Overcooked and dry.  Not even the scorching spicy heat could save it.

Overall, it was something different and decent.  And I’m not really convinced I got their best shot.  If the chicken was cooked to be tender, it could go up to a 6.5.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)

Dec 13 2009

The Top 100 List: #59 The Wine Loft’s “Brie en Croute”

IMG00314

The Wine Loft’s “Brie en Croute”

Location: Downtown

Rating: 5.5 (out of 10)

Price: $10

The Skinny: My feeling is that if you include a national chain on this list (which Wine Loft is), the must-eat there better be a total knockout.  It better be leaps and bounds over anything local.  So walking through the door, I had high expectations.

As an avid maker of Brie en Croute for years and years, I was excited to try someone else’s take on it.  Maybe they could put a twist on it that would reinvent it for me.  Once the plate arrived, I noticed the balsamic glaze, the sprinkle of walnuts, and the other elements on the plate – it looked like things were going in the right direc…. Wait….Where the hell was the puff pastry??  Where was that perfectly light and flaky shell?  Where was the buttery goodness wrapping the whole thing up?  WHERE DAMMIT?  In its place was an imposter.  An inferior outside in taste, texture, and plain ol’ tradition.  It was like an anchor to the dish.  No matter how good the brie and outside components were, no matter how funny the phallic shape of the pastry, the plate could not be saved

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

Dec 12 2009

The Top 100 List: #58 Venue’s “Shrimp and Grits”

IMG00312

Venue’s “Shrimp and Grits”

Location: Highlands

Rating: 8 (out of 10)

Price: $17

The Skinny: Venue really nailed this one.  Their shrimp and grits are a perfect example of taking something beloved and soulful and making it exciting.

The dish is said to have originated as a breakfast for Carolina fishermen, but has since become a southern staple, as commonplace in the south as pickup trucks and charm.  So it’s refreshing when a restaurant uses it in a way you may not have had before, keeping it traditional, but with a twist.

Venue’s twist is the green and thai chile mix surrounding the grits, which is meant to compliment every bite.  A really wonderful and well thought out addition, in my opinion.  It just went together amazingly well.  The dense and creamy grits mix with the fresh, spicy chilies and leave your mouth in a very agreeable state of slow burn.  The mouth pleasantly burns, the endorphins rush, and the stomach is full.  Strong plate.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)

Dec 11 2009

The Top 100 List: #57 India’s Restaurant’s “Saag Paneer”

IMG00310

India’s Restaurant’s “Saag Paneer”

Location: Tiffany Plaza (Whole Foods Hampden)

Rating: 6.5 (out of 10)

Price: $8

The Skinny: I love Indian food.  I love the sauces, the curry, the westernized flavors from years of English influence… mmmm – imperialism never tasted so good.

India’s Restaurant gets it all right and their Saag Panner definitely lives up to their excellent reputation.  It was creamy and smooth, and seasoned just perfectly.  In another life, it could have been a centerpiece – surrounded by chips and served as a spinach dip at any number of restaurants.  Here it is just another well made component in a deep bench of good dishes at India’s.  Solid effort and execution.

(PS – don’t hate on the picture -  I know it’s not entirely flattering.  Such is the life of a green creamy dish)

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)

Dec 10 2009

The Top 100 List: #56 Rioja’s “Beignets”

IMG00307

Rioja’s “Beignets”

Location: Downtown

Rating: 9.5 (out of 10)

Price: $7

The Skinny: Wow…  I guess I should have seen it coming with Chef Jen’s stellar reputation, but wow.  I think I have a pretty decent background in Beignets, having tried a half dozen different types in New Orleans, including those of the famed “Café DuMonde”.  This blew all of them away.  Handily.

These soft, crispy pillows will literally melt in your mouth.  The creamy inside is filled with 2 types of cheeses and fig, and although this sounds like a lot, it’s all very light – almost like a custard.  The outside is dusted with powdered sugar, and lays on streaks of a port wine and fig reduction.  Absolutely delicious – every single bite.  The pillows burst with flavor and have a perfect soft crunch that is insanely sweet and addicting.  This is the best that Beignets get.

**Update: A friend pointed out that the credit for this dish really shouldn’t all go to Jen Jasinski, but rather to Eric Dale, the pastry chef at Rioja.  Completely agree.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)

Dec 9 2009

The Top 100 List: #55 O’s “Tableside Sorbet”

IMG00286

O’s “Tableside Prepared Sorbet”

Location: Westminster

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

Price: $12

The Skinny: First off: this is certainly a must-eat in Denver.  However, this is not because of the flavor of the sorbet, which was pretty damn good, but for the ultra-cool presentation.  The dish is prepared tableside with a few components, the highlight of which is the ridiculously fun liquid nitrogen.  As the ingredients are added, they’re combined with a pour of the freezing liquid.  Like a sorcerer in a white shirt and tie, the preparer churns the goo and a white fog bubbles from the container and crawls out over the table. The flavor of the finished product is decent, like a smooth frozen daiquiri without the booze.  But as is repeated far too often, it’s the journey and not the destination that matters.  Once again, frozen dessert is there to show us the keys to life…

Denverites: remember the name Ian Klienman.  As creator of this dish and a highly respected rising chef in Denver, this is a name you will hear lots more about, I guarantee it.  The tableside sorbet is just the tip of the iceberg as far as his creativity goes.  He’s done Bloody Mary popcorn in liquid nitrogen, a 148° egg, and is fondly described by coworkers as the “mad food scientist.”  He recently left O’s and opened a new catering company called “the inventing room” – hopefully we’ll see a restaurant from him sometime soon.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

Dec 8 2009

The Top 100 List: #54 Fogo de Chao’s “Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread)”

IMG00303

Fogo de Chao’s “Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread)”

Location: Downtown

Rating: 5 (out of 10)

Price: n/a (included in $38 meal)

The Skinny: Saying you must go to Fogo de Chao for the cheese bread is like saying you must go to the circus for the popcorn.  It misses the whole damn point of the show.  And there is a show at Fogo.  Waiters line up carrying 12 inch spears full of freshly flamed and sizzling meat, carving it tableside for your chest thumping pleasure… mmmm.

And the cheese bread?  Yeah… it’s there.  It sits, lying quietly on the table, away from the action.  Hoping there might be a lull in the meat parade for someone to keep their mouth occupied.  The taste is fine, maybe even slightly better than fine.  But no one – not one person – should go to Fogo and sacrifice any part of empty stomach on the bread.  It’s a waste of valuable space you’ll need for the carnivore ceremony that carries on as long as you can.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)

Dec 7 2009

The Top 100 List: #53 Il Posto’s “Osso Buco”

IMG00301

Il Posto “Osso Bucco”

Location: 17th st

Rating: 7.5 (out of 10)

Price: $27

The Skinny: “He’s an arrogant asshole.”  Were the words out of chef/owner Andrea Frizzi within minutes of meeting me.  He was talking about Tiger Woods, but I instantly liked him and his straight forward absence of pretense.  He’s the crazy uncle from Italy who knows some hundred year old family recipes like the back of his hand – and the whole restaurant kinda goes right along with him.  Chalk board with the menu, open kitchen, and down to earth, no frills, homestyle Italian cuisine.

The Wednesday-only Osso Bucco was satisfyingly classic.  The lamb shanks separated easily, but not too easily – the ribbons of meat remaining tender and full of flavor.  The surrounding risotto was good, but not incredible.  But what was incredible was the bone marrow.  It was sensational.  It was the kind of plate that, although it may not stand out, makes you appreciate just how good these old school flavors really are.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)

Dec 6 2009

The Top 100 List: #52 The Berkshire’s Fifty Dollar Burger (for $20)

IMG00299

The Berkshire’s “$50 burger (for $20)”

Location: Stapleton

Rating: 6.9 (out of 10)

Price: $20

The Skinny: How can you not love a restaurant whose tagline is “swine, wine, and a good time”??  There is a lot to like about The Berkshire, but I’m having a little bit of a hard time recommending the $50 burger.  Here is a good instance where price ruins a good time.  At $8-12, this would be a great burger.  Tender Kobe beef, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, white cheddar.  All a pretty good symphony of flavors.  But… at 20 bucks??  For me, the flavor value just wasn’t there, particularly in comparison to some of the other favorites in town that are all priced under $10.

PS – The bacon flight app was fun and worth trying – even with its own hefty price tag ($12 for 4 slices of bacon? Really Berkshire??)

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)

Dec 5 2009

The Top 100 List: #51 Domo’s Country Dishes

IMG00297

Domo’s “Country Side Dishes”

Location: Downtown area

Rating: 5.5 (out of 10)

Price: $6.75

The Skinny: Domo is an interesting place.  A Japanese haven located in the middle of a not-so-terrific area of Colfax (the sign on the door warns you to not leave any valuables in your car).  Once inside the doors, you feel transported.

Even though I rated it a 5.5, I was actually really impressed.  I ordered the side dish platter, which featured 6 of their side dishes all on the same plate next to each other.  I’d be lying if I said I remembered what was in each, or even if I knew at the time I was eating them.  One thing do I remember, though, is that the flavor of every one of them was good.  Not good enough to go back just for em, but good enough to be interested to come back and try their mains.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: -1 (from 5 votes)

Dec 4 2009

The Top 100 list: Halfway point recap

Jeremy Vegas

- 46 days

- 50 dishes down.

- $682.41 total

- 1 Tiger Woods  reference (more to come)

- 1 middle east peace reference (no more to come)

- 5 pound weight gain.  Yes, I’m keeping track

————————————————————————————————

Highest Rated so far:

9 (out of 10):

D Bar Dessert: Cake and Shake

Bonefish Grill: Bang Bang Shrimp

8 (out of 10):

Buchi Cafe: Cuban Mix Sandwich

Protos: Clam Pizza

Red Tango: Chile Relleno

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Dec 3 2009

The Top 100 List: #50 Bastein’s “Sugar Steak”

IMG00290

Bastien’s “16 oz Sugar Steak”

Location: E. Colfax

Rating: 5.1 (out of 10)

Price: $25

The Skinny: Yawn…

I imagine this dish wound up on this list because on the restaurant’s marquee it screams “HOME OF THE FAMOUS SUGAR STEAK!”  Look – it’s famous, it says it right there on the sign!!  In reality, it would have a hard time being famous if it crashed into a tree after cheating on its hot Norwegian wife.

The flavor was average throughout, even with the fun story of it being bourbon soaked and sprinkled with brown sugar.  I’m guessing it was cooked entirely on the grill, due to the fact that the outside was charred pretty heavily, but the inside was on the rare side of medium rare.  And I’m not anti-char, but a good sear should be sufficient, I don’t have to taste carbon in every bite. Having said that (nod to Curb your Enthusiasm), I had a few decent bites.  Overall: a 25 dollar shoulder shrug.  Not bad, not great.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +1 (from 7 votes)

Dec 2 2009

The Top 100 List: #49 Ali Baba Grill’s “Hummus be-shawarma”

IMG00294

Ali Baba Grill’s “Hummus be-Shawarma”

Location: Golden

Rating: 3.5 (out of 10)

Price: $11

The Skinny: Upon entering, you look on the wall and see all of these accolades: best this, best that.   Write-ups here, write ups there.  Whoever their publicist is, hire them tomorrow – they are selling ice cream to Eskimos.  I just do not see what all the fuss is about.

The hummus had the look of being good: fluffy, creamy, golden – but the taste was clearly off.  Too much cumin maybe?  The waiter, pausing from watching football in the back, gave me the option of chicken or gyro shawarma or both, so I did both.  The two were like the yin and yang of taste on a plate.  Chicken was borderline inedible, but the gyro was surprisingly terrific.  In the end, it just seems silly to drive all the way out to Golden for such an uneven plate, when there are excellent middle eastern options on Colorado blvd.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)

Dec 1 2009

The top 100 list: #48 Watercourse Foods “Portabello Ruben”

IMG00280

Watercourse Food’s “Portabello Mushroom Ruben”

Location: 17th st

Rating: 5 (out of 10)

Price: $9.25

The Skinny: Watercourse Foods is a vegetarian spot that’s made its mark even among Denver’s non-veggies.  And I commend that.  It’s not an easy feat.  So it was with some curiosity that I ordered the “must eat” mushroom Ruben, a sandwich that I’ve known and loved since it was slummin’ it with Pastrami or Turkey at a local deli.  This incarnation featured chopped (not whole) bits of portabello mushroom, with the usual standards: rye, kraut, and thousand island dressing.

The verdict?  Well…It was good, but in a vegetarian-food sorta way.  Which I suppose is like saying, “it was good for army food.”  Now, I’m not suggesting that it’s good enough for vegetarians, but not for me – as if they have lower standards or something.  All I’m saying is that I recognize that it’s difficult to match the original Ruben in taste and bite with a chopped mushroom, and I’m giving them credit for even coming close.  However, this list is supposed to represent the best dishes in Denver, right?  Not the best veggie dishes in Denver.  So I feel duty-bound to call it out.  This was respectable, but not worthy.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Nov 30 2009

The Top 100 List: #47 Simms Steakhouse’s “Baseball Cut Sirloin”

IMG00276

Simms Steak House’s “Baseball Cut Sirloin”

Location: 6th ave and Simms

Rating: 5 (out of 10)

The Skinny: Up front, I’ll own up to the fact that I’m very hard on steaks.  And maybe it’s not fair.  I spent an entire summer perfecting a steak recipe – the results of which will blow your head off.  So it’s with guarded reservations that I go to a restaurant known as a “steak joint” and dive into theirs.  It’s always the same thing: the need to get the steaks out quickly means they have to use high heat.  And high heat affects the quality of the inside of the meat.  What you get is a rainbow of doneness: well, medium-well, medium, and finally that small circle of perfect medium-rare.  With less heat (and more time), the whole thing could be medium rare… I’m just sayin.

Simms falls into this same pattern.  The round, “baseball cut” steak arrived medium rare, with precisely the rainbow mentioned above, and was just average.  Average steakhouse steak, with a hefty pricetag of $26 (for sirloin, not filet mignon mind you).  The teriyaki glaze made for some fleeting interest in the crust, but nothing too exciting.  One final compliment: the service was truly fantastic.  I only wish the steaks had kept up.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: 0 (from 4 votes)

Nov 29 2009

The Top 100 List #46: Liks Ice Cream’s “Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip”

IMG00273

Liks Ice Cream “Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip”

Location: 13th st

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

The Skinny: This particular flavor is so popular, I had to put my name down on a list to be called when it arrived.  But after my first little bit, I was glad I did.  The chocolate chips are sweet and rich, and the flavor of the ice cream hits a lot of good notes.  According to the oddly sweet employee (who called me “hon”), they do actually mix Jack Daniels into the chocolate ice cream recipe, which I was excited to hear.  It gave the whole thing a caramel & alcohol flavor that combined perfectly with the chocolate.  No word on when they’ll introduce the Jack & Coke ice cream float.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)

Nov 28 2009

The Top 100 List #45: El Taco de Mexico’s “Chile Relleno Burrito”

IMG00267

El Taco de Mexico “Chile Relleno Burrito”

Location: Santa Fe and 6th

Rating: 7.9 (out of 10)

The Skinny: There is a certain attraction about a place that makes no excuses for the decor and just blows you away with their food.  El Taco de Mexico is such a place.

I wouldn’t call it “run down” necessarily; it’s just that it never started out as much to begin with.  It’s basically a long counter with an equally long board over it offering a selection of mexican favorites – sometimes translated to English, but generally not.  The Chile Relleno burrito was why I was here, but you could make a pretty certain guess that anything they serve would be good.  Back to the Chile Relleno Burrito – it was absolutely delicious, every bit deserving to be on a list of top eats in Denver.  I had mine smothered in Green Chili, which I highly recommend, since it was so good I nearly licked the plate for more.  Yeah, it’s not going to fit into anyone’s weight loss program with the dollop of refried beans in every burrito, but god damn was it good.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)

Nov 27 2009

The Top 100 List: #44 – 240 Union’s “Chicken Fried Lobster Tail”

Chicken Fried Lobster Tail

240 Union’s “Chicken Fried Lobster Tail”

Location: 6th and Union

Rating: 7.8 (out of 10)

Price: $26

The Skinny: Could anything sound better?  Simultaneously invoking the thought of crispy fried chicken and delicate, moist lobster – this dish promises much and nearly delivers it.  The crust is what you’ve come to expect from anything chicken fried – golden, ruffled, and crisp.  The lobster inside was cooked very well – soft and tender, yet firm enough to stand up to the crisp shell.  And the tarragon sauce was genuinely fantastic.

So… why not a higher rating?  Well, although on their own, the components were executed very well, the issue was that when you combined them, it was a little like simply eating a wonderful piece of fried chicken.  For me, the shell overpowered the subtle and delicate flavor of the lobster tail, giving you a feel only for the tenderness, and missing out on everything else.  Having the feeling of eating a terrific piece of fried chicken is nothing to complain about, mind you, but it doesn’t quite make it to the lofty standard that the description implies.  Still a really excellent dish – and I cannot say enough about the delicious tarragon sauce.  I want to put it in my cereal.

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

VN:F [1.7.3_972]
Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)