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Suvir Saran

Denver Restaurant Recommendations

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Any ideas for dining in Denver?

I have two more days before I have more serious things than food to worry about.

Any suggestions for dining in Denver??

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When we were in Denver maybe four years ago we went to this place called the Vesta Dipping Grill.

Yes that's the name. Yes that's what it is. You dip stuff. Sort of like a fondue concept that got into a transporter accident.

Quite fun, and pretty good, actually.

http://denver.citysearch.com/review/182295...andalone_review


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
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Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Had a not so inspiring "Modern Mexican" meal at Tamayo today. It is owned by the chef Richard Sandoval. A little bird in NYC told me it is the same person that owns Maya. For some reason, I did not have a very nice meal at Maya either. Actually did not have very nice 3 meals there.

Have others had better experiences with his food?

The restaurant was certainly very attractive.

The overall experience leaves much to be desired and little to say.

Would love more choices...

Off to watch a movie... my sister feels it may be the last one we will see for sometime...

But any dining suggestions would be much appreciated. :smile:

PS: I shall add my thoughts about the meal at Tamayo later tonight. When I get back from the movie.

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We ate the Chile Relleno, Ensalada Maya, Quesadillas Surtidas, Open Face Quesadillas - Verduras and Mole Poblano.

For dessert we ate the Coconut Cheese Cake and the Flan served with a very tasty fruit salad.

And of course I ordered a guacamole with chips (they were delicious) and ordered some salsa, and out came a plate with three ramekins. One was filled with a pico de gallo (not very good or fresh :shock: ), another with a roasted hot pepper salsa (a smooth puree) and a green salsa that was only very finely diced and salted HOT, very hot green peppers. These other two were very nice. The guacamole was very good as well.

The entree quesadilla (Verdura, an open faced quesadilla) was served like a burger with rajas-focacia bread. It was some sort of a hamburger bun. Was not at all like a Quesadilla. The mixed green salad with finely diced fruit was superb though.

The quesadilla surtidas (appetizer) was described as; corn masa stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, rajas and zucchini blossoms topped with homemade salsa, crema fresca and cotija cheese. It was again not a quesadilla as I think of one. It was a deep fried turnover stuffed with the above mentioned stuff. I would call it an empanada. Maybe our resident eGullet Mexican food expert, Jaymes can correct me if I am wrong to think that a quesadilla would not usually be deep fried in a crescent shape and taste like a turnover. Is that authentic quesadilla I had?

The mole poblano had grilled chicken that was overcooked. I thought of Tommy and how he can never believe what Hemant Mathur does at Diwan to keep his grilled chicken so moist. This was not tasty. The mole was too sweet for my liking.

The flan was more Crème Caramel than flan that I am used to eating. It was much lighter and smoother. But the fruit salad that was presented with it was superb.

The coconut cheese cake had the very dense texture that I have usually associated with Mexican flan. The fruit salad that accompanied this was also very nice.

The lemonade I had 3 glasses of was very delicious. It transported me back home to India where as a child home made freshly squeezed lemonade was our Coca Cola.

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Try the Fourth Story, Sushi Den, and some great small place next door to

Sushi Den that I've forgotten the name of.

Good luck to you; hope all goes well.

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Try the Fourth Story, Sushi Den, and some great small place next door to

Sushi Den that I've forgotten the name of.

Good luck to you; hope all goes well.

I shall take my sister and brother-in-law there.

They LOVE Sushi, and I cannot eat much at a Sushi restaurant since I am mostly vegetarian.

Thanks for your kind words and for your help. I am sure my sister is going to be very happy. :smile:

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I went to Vesta Dipping Grill last year, and I recall that it was pretty good.

There's an old-time steak joint in a hotel, I think called McCormack's Steak and Fish house? It was pretty good (but I was there 5 years ago). Across the hall is the Cruise Room, an art deco bar modeled after one of the bars on the Queen Mary.

All the best.

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Had a not so inspiring "Modern Mexican" meal at Tamayo today. It is owned by the chef Richard Sandoval. A little bird in NYC told me it is the same person that owns Maya. For some reason, I did not have a very nice meal at Maya either. Actually did not have very nice 3 meals there.

Have others had better experiences with his food?

The restaurant was certainly very attractive.

The overall experience leaves much to be desired and little to say.

Would love more choices

Yes we have a car.. and we are staying at the Breakers on Mississippi Avenue

I don't know why I can't make this quoting function work properly, but I'll post this anyway :sad:

Denver isn't the greatest city for high end dining, in any case. Here are some suggestions for non-fancy, unpretentious restaurants, with good food (and great vegetarian choices) that are not far from where you're staying.

Masalaa, that I mentioned earlier, is about a five minute drive from where you are.

Cafe Paprika (Middle Eastern) 13160 E. Mississippi

New Orient (Vietnamese) 10203 E. Iliff

Pita Jungle 2017 S. University

Thai Spice 1842 S. Parker

Phoenicia Grille 727 Colorado

Star of India 3102 S. Parker

Another great Sushi/Japanese choice near downtown Denver is Opal 100 E.9th.

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Had a not so inspiring "Modern Mexican" meal at Tamayo today. It is owned by the chef Richard Sandoval. A little bird in NYC told me it is the same person that owns Maya. For some reason, I did not have a very nice meal at Maya either. Actually did not have very nice 3 meals there.

Have others had better experiences with his food?

The restaurant was certainly very attractive.

The overall experience leaves much to be desired and little to say.

Would love more choices

Yes we have a car.. and we are staying at the Breakers on Mississippi Avenue

I don't know why I can't make this quoting function work properly, but I'll post this anyway :sad: 

Denver isn't the greatest city for high end dining, in any case. Here are some suggestions for non-fancy, unpretentious restaurants, with good food (and great vegetarian choices) that are not far from where you're staying.

Masalaa, that I mentioned earlier, is about a five minute drive from where you are.

Cafe Paprika (Middle Eastern) 13160 E. Mississippi

New Orient (Vietnamese) 10203 E. Iliff

Pita Jungle 2017 S. University

Thai Spice 1842 S. Parker

Phoenicia Grille 727 Colorado

Star of India 3102 S. Parker

Another great Sushi/Japanese choice near downtown Denver is Opal 100 E.9th.

Many thanks!

I have passed by Star of India. Have passed by Cafe Paprika... Will go there...and shall try and go to Masala.

The next couple of months are going to be just Indian food at home..since that is what is most comforting to the extended family that is coming...

Thanks for your help.

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Suvir- My brother currently lives in Boulder with his girlfriend. They might not have many suggestions on the vegetarian front, but if you decide you feel up to it I'm sure they can recommend some good Korean BBQ and/or Japanese restaurants in Boulder or Denver. I'll ask later tonight.

Actually, they also took me to a very nice Czech pancake house that I believe was in Boulder, but I'm blanking on the name right now. It would satisfy the vegetarian requirement pretty easily (and also allow for a little cheating... perhaps a side of bacon hidden under the table?). :wink:

I wish you and your family the best of luck. Remember that everyone back east (and all over this forum) is pulling for you. Be well.

edit: poor grammar


Edited by 201 (log)

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A few more comments/suggestions: The Fort Restaurant in Morrison (about 1/2 hour to 45 minute drive west from where you are, in the foothills)

19192 Highway 8 - Morrison, CO

303-697-4771

Serves buffalo, elk, ostrich, interprets "early southwest" and frontier food, it's near Red Rocks, in a spectacular foothills setting; the adobe building is a replica of Bent's fort.

For a casual brewpub "happening" Denver place, the Wynkoop Brewery in LoDo. (John Hickenlooper, the owner, has just thrown his hat in the ring to run for mayor of Denver.)

My sister said if all goes well, which we hope, April may be spent in Boulder.

Boulder's about an hour away from where you are. Boulder has some good restaurants, and there's a large vegetarian contingent in the population so there are good choices for vegetarians just about anywhere, but it's probably not really worth the trek now. It would be certainly be a great place to spend some time.

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Suvir- My brother currently lives in Boulder with his girlfriend.  They might not have many suggestions on the vegetarian front, but if you decide you feel up to it I'm sure they can recommend some good Korean BBQ and/or Japanese restaurants in Boulder or Denver.  I'll ask later tonight.

Actually, they also took me to a very nice Czech pancake house that I believe was in Boulder, but I'm blanking on the name right now.  It would satisfy the vegetarian requirement pretty easily (and also allow for a little cheating... perhaps a side of bacon hidden under the table?).  :wink:

I wish you and your family the best of luck.  Remember that everyone back east (and all over this forum) is pulling for you.  Be well.

edit: poor grammar

Thanks 201. They all sound like good options.

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Masala for Southern Indian food and Star of India for Northern Indian food.

These are two very good restaurants. And both have dishes that are of quality that one would find in homes where food is delicious.

They are also both not the most attractive, but the food is really promising.

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Had two more good meals at Masala.

Their Idlis (rice and lentil steamed cakes) were excellent. Better than any I have eaten in NYC or anywhere else.

They are as good as the best of India.

The Sambhaar (the lentil and vegetable stew) has been inconsistent.

On another day we went to India's at Tamarac Place.. terrible food... and really bad service. It was a terrible disappointment. What was worse was that one of the doctors had praised it highly to my dad, and he mustered up all his strength and made the trip for eating a teaspoon or so of some of the dishes he ordered... they were mostly all very bad... and the service was atrocious.

The restaurant had been reviewed favorably by many magazines and dailies. I shall make another trip there before I leave Denver. To see why our experience was so different from all these others.

There was another couple sitting besides us and they too were treated very badly.. in fact they complained on their way out.. and the owner/manager lectured them instead. The young man (who looked Indian) had come with a companion that was Caucasian... they were a charming couple.. the poor service got us all talking... I gave him the url for eGullet. I was hoping one of them would come and post about their own experience.

Does anyone have any experiences to share about Indias??

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On another day we went to India's at Tamarac Place.. terrible food... and really bad service. It was a terrible disappointment...The restaurant had been reviewed favorably by many magazines and dailies

Suvir,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience at India's.

I didn't mention India's to you in my earlier suggestions because I stopped going there a few years ago. To me it started to feel like a restaurant that was riding on its reputation. India's has been around for many years, and I think the reviews are several years old. I don't know why, of course, the doctor recommended it so highly. Perhaps it's inconsistent, and still has days when it shines.

Which Indian grocery stores have you been going to for supplies?

afn

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We frequent the grocery store on Mississippi near us. Just outside of Denver and into Aurora.

Otherwise we have also been to the two on South Parker. The one near Masala and the other is called Bombay Bazaar.

Are there any you like more? Which ones are your favorite?

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afoodnut  Posted on Feb 20 2003, 09:01 A:Which Indian grocery stores have you been going to for supplies?

Suvir Saran  Posted on Feb 21 2003, 06:37 PM We frequent the grocery store on Mississippi near us. Just outside of Denver and into Aurora.

Otherwise we have also been to the two on South Parker. The one near Masala and the other is called Bombay Bazaar.

Are there any you like more? Which ones are your favorite?

I know very little about cooking Indian food, so my interest in Indian grocery stores has always been as a looker and gawker, as part of my general obsession with food, not because I know anything about what I'm looking for, or at . :unsure:

I live in the Boulder area; India's is a small grocery nearby, but I think the best one in the northern part of the Denver metro area is probably Tejal International in Thornton.

I've been interested in hearing your perceptions about the Indian restaurants you've visited. Since I know nothing about the authenticity of the food and what it *should* or is supposed to taste like, I have only evaluated them based on the overall experience: whether the food tastes good, and if the service is pleasant and accommodating etc., not from any expertise about the food.

:rolleyes:

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Masala has authentic Idlis and Dosas (Southern Indian dishes). Their Rasam (a southern Indian soup like broth) was poor. The coconut chutney was also authentic and better than most I have eaten in the US. Their Sambhaar was great one time.. not good the two other times. Consistency has been an issue. Overall, their Idlis and Dosas are superb. Better than any NYC restaurant or even Hampton Chutney.

Star of India has very nice Punjabi home style food. But this is home style party food. The family serves and manages the restaurant. It is not professional but has the atmosphere that comes from a family closely running a place. They do what they can.... and with smiles and charm. They could be more professional, I am not sure if that would make them better. IN fact I love the part that is so homey.

Indias was wanting to be professional and yet was far from it. And their food wanted to be Indian restaurant fare but was terrible.

I shall write about the others we visit after I have visited them. I know the doctor has given my father a name of some new restaurant today. Bombay ??? Not sure what the entire name is.... Will keep you posted.

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I will be visiting Denver for the first time and would appreciate recommendations for some fine dining establisments. Thanks!!!


"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

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The general consensus is that Frasca is the best restaurant in the state. Ok, technically it's in Boulder, not Denver, but it's close enough. Reservations required.

I've always been happy with the meals I've had at 240 Union. Again, it's not exactly in Denver, but out in Lakewood, but again, it's a technicality.

There have been a couple of interesting articles lately in The Denver Post about fine dining in and around Denver. Fortunately, they're online:

http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_3669279

http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_3695988

I haven't eaten at any of the places mentioned in the second article, but I'd bet you'd do ok there.

Marcia.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Bear in mind that "Best Restaurant in Denver" is a little like "Best Soccer Team in America" (ok, not counting the women's team) or "Best Rock and Roll Band" in Paris. There's a lot of things to like about Denver, but their fine dining -- though I hear it's improving -- isn't one of its strengths.

All raves should be taken with a grain of salt -- they're playing Triple A there.

That being said, when I lived there, I very much liked Potager in Capitol Hill, about a mile from downtown. LoDo restaurants tend be good, and fun, but not exceptional.

If you're a breakfast person, look for a non-chain place and get some huevos rancheros with the local green chili. This is a local specialty almost on par with ribs and always better than back east. The only drawback to skiing the Alps is that you can't warm up for a day on the slopes with huevos.

Mexican and Vietnamese are good bets; Chinese and Indian, not so much.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Busboy, you need to visit again and try some of the newer places that have opened. Things have improved significantly even since I moved here a few years ago. I remember coming here on vacation before that and being very disappointed with the fine dining options and the wine service. Flagstaff House was one of the only places I heard anyone mention when I asked for upscale recommendations (and it's the only place where you wouldn't feel like you were drinking wine out of a Dixie Cup). Then Bryan Moscatello's Adega (R.I.P.) opened with multi-course tasting menus and an elevated level of wine service and it made people start looking at Denver more.

Now Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder (opened by French Laundry alums) has received the kind of national attention that will hopefully attract even more talented people to move here and set up shop. I wandered in and sat at the bar one evening and couldn't believe I was having such an amazing meal in Boulder, and I've had many, many more fantastic meals there since. It's not true that reservations are required though, as they have six bar seats and four salumi bar seats that are always open to walk-ins. Here is an older thread on egullet about Frasca. The chef was one of Food and Wine magazine's Top 10 Best New Chefs last year and is nominated for a Beard award this year. They now have two master sommeliers on staff, and they obviously put so much thought and care into their wine program including staff training that it's a no-brainer destination if you love vino.

Take a look at Westword's Best of Denver 2006 or Lori Midson's list of top spots in Colorado Avid Golfer or John Lehndorff's Rocky Mountain News 2006 Dining Guide or Tucker Shaw and Co.'s write-ups in the Denver Post food section and tell me there aren't any good places to eat here now.

One of the most satisfying meals I have had this year (other than places in the Bay Area like Manresa and mussels in Brussels) was at a tiny French spot in Denver called Z Cuisine. I am also maniacally addicted to the tiny tacos at Troy Guard's up-market comfort food spot Nine75.

Yes, Denver is still a little thin in areas like quality Chinese places, and yes, you'll still occasionally get clunky glassware and shoddy wine service at places that should know better (but that can happen in any city). And yes, you should still go somewhere like Efrain's or Jack-N-Grill and get something unhealthy slathered in a mountain of green chile and chased with a margarita or twelve, but those aren't your only options anymore. We've got Jennifer Jasinski's Rioja and Frank Bonanno's Mizuna and Pim Fitt's Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai and lots of other places worth exploring. So let's get busy and support our talented independent local chefs and sommeliers and line crews and servers so they'll stay and tell their friends to move here too.


Edited by rlm (log)

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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With all due respect, Busboy, I have lived all over this country (NY, Philly, LA, San Fran) and Denver has some of the finest food around. The only thing I can't get here that I crave is basic strip-mall Italian like I grew up on, but I can get better-than-basic Italian at Cafe Jordano, SW of town, and incredible upper-end Italian at Luca D'Italia. From Star of India in Fort Collins to the Royal Peacock in Boulder down to India's in Denver, I've had amazing Indian food. I've had perfectly good Chinese food at Twin Dragon and the Imperial, and some fine Chinese dishes at not-strictly-Chinese restaurants like Moongate. Now that's American Chinese. Exceptional authentic Chinese food can be found anywhere near Alameda and Federal, where there is a substantial asian population. In fact, this city has numerous ethnic communities where you can spend very little and eat like a king, but most people don't bother to look into it. With large Russian, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, and Korean communities, this area has some of the most affordable and authentic food around. Some of the best chefs in the country are here right now, people who trained with Ducasse and Keller and Paladin. What it doesn't have is snobbery and the nerve to charge a small fortune and insist on a dress code. If you want that, look elsewhere. The people here like to put the emphasis on quality of life and quality of food. And while that might put them under the radar as far as national recognition goes, it is not lost on the thousands of diners in the region, mostly transplants from "fancier" cities, who do know good food from guano.

That being said, Frasca and L'Atelier in Boulder, Z Cuisine, Sushi Sasa, Sushi Den (from the Japanese seafood markets to Denver- overnight- 6 days a week), Cafe Star, Duo, 975, Deluxe, Zengo (but not Tamayo), Mizuna and Luca D'Italia are all fine establishments. And please don't tell people to order Colorado green chile. It's an abomination in comparison to New Mexico's. Oh yeah, I lived in Albuquerque, too.

Now if I ever hear you comparing us to a AAA ball club again I'm gonna track you down and kick you in the nuts.

With love,

Maybelline

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Hey -- I'm always in for a good food fight, and I hope and believe Denver is serving better food than since I lived there. But when I see places like Mel's, Le Central, Vespa, and The Palace Arms on top lists, it makes me think that the progress is, at best, incremental. The thought that Denver can be mentioned in the same breath as New York or San Francisco as a dining destination is ludicrous.

That being said, I am strong with Denver for Mexican, Vietnamese and --though here in DC we probably have the best of it in the country -- Ethiopian, and I said so. I think Potager is a treasure and I think Barolo is a fine restaurant.

It's not snobbery to expect the food to live up to its hype - though it is snobbery to dismiss Colorado's green chili because it doesn't comport with your New Mexico memories -- and eating in blue jeans doesn't necessarily make the food taste better.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Hey, I never said anything against Colorado's chili. Chili they do just fine. It's the chile that needs some work.

Look, I'm not saying Potager isn't a good restaurant. But you have to take into consideration the fact that there are different chefs in town these days. They're pedigreed chefs opening up neighborhood restaurants with food to rival the best in the country. The stodgy standbys of yesteryear are being nudged out. Tante Louise being a prime example. Now you've got these great younger chefs having fun with the food and really blowing people away. Michael Long at Opus, John Daly at Cuba Libre, Wayne Conwell (trained by Morimoto) at Sushi Sasa, Chris Douglas (trained by Laurent Gras at Fifth Floor in San Fran) at Tula. These guys know that $300 tasting menus aren't going to fly out here. They're just doing it, with lower pricepoints and in a more casual setting. And you know what? It might not taste better in jeans, but there is an advantage to more casual dining. Because you don't have to take out a second mortgage to eat it, you can come back. Often. The chefs know that and they keep it fresh. And it is because the diners here can afford to eat out often that they know good from bad. The food is good. They don't need to wrap it up in bows. And we don't need to wrap ourselves up like mannequins at Barney's to appreciate the experience of eating it.

Quality of life, man. That's what it's all about out here. And that includes the joy of eating. :wink:

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