“Some people like to eat octopus. Liberals, mostly.” — Russel Baker
THIS IS THE EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL “Welcome Back, Y’all” column, with muh recommendations for scarfin’ grub within walking distance, or not more than a short ride from the Capitol. All are open for lunch ’ceptin where noted otherwise. This column will be two issues ’cuz of the large number of good eateries that abound in the surrounding area. The list is alphabetical. It includes places that lobbyists oughta take ya to cuz you can’t afford them. It also includes some you can do on your own, or take your favorite restaurant critic to. If I left out one of your favorites, I probably don’t like the place. A bit of info: most eateries now have Web sites with everything from menus to reservation links. Go online and take a peek. If we could find the Web site address, it’s listed. Watch the spelling, ’cuz some names get tricky. And some Web sites are really a pain in the pooper to get in and around. Why bother?
Note that while I try to update my comments every year, menus and chefs change about as often as I change underwear, so my comments may be outta date before this gets to the copy editor. Let me know if I miss something.
1515 Market St., 303-571-0011
Gene Tang’s finest venture into dining. This one has the critics applauding. The expansive menu includes seafood, game, steaks, chicken and pasta. They also have a superb Kobe beef bugger, comes with a fabulous deep-fried potato salad. Yo, mama! Just hop the shuttle to Market and you’re there. Note that they serve lunch only Wednesday thru Friday. Dinner is quite fine dining.
3100 E. Colfax Ave., 303-355-8197
Annie’s is the quintessential neighborhood family place where friends gather for fun & great food. The retro decor and relaxed atmosphere add even more enjoyment to your meal. A moderately priced menu with all of your favorite selections makes this a perfect spot for business lunches and family dining alike. I think you can even get a bugger here. But the fish and chips are the best ever.
535 16th St., 720-932-1700
A huge menu with munchies, soups & salads, buggers and sangies. The menu features lotsa steaks, seafood and poultry. Try the chicken salad sangie. They still serve them yummy Appaloosa St. Louis style ribs. The only thing I like about St. Louis is the style of ribs named after them. Methinks it was really created in Brooklyn. Everything worthwhile was created in Brooklyn. Ceptin’ G. The kitchen is open nitely til 1 a.m.
638 E. 17th Ave., 303-861-2820
After 20 years, this San Francisco style grill STILL rocks. Grub served til 11 during the week, til midnite on weekends. Have a bugger on a soft roll with super French fries. They still do the best cioppino in town.
301 E. 7th Ave., 303-894-0788
A Mexican eatery with good food and service. The awesome shredded beef is spicy and fresh without being torched for days; the tacos al carbon and breakfast burritos are super. I’m waiting for Benny’s next restaurant to open, cuz he always has something on the drawing boards. Open til 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday, til 11 the rest of the week.
1424-H Larimer St., 303-825-3232
Operated by the very talented owners from Rioja (just across the street) this lovely eatery offers classic French cuisine. Open for dinner every nite and Saturday and Sunday brunch. The prices are very reasonable and the service is always first rate. The food? Simply superb. There are still a few folks in town who haven’t been to either restaurant. LOL. They’ll learn.
701 Grant St., 303-860-2929
It’s hell to get old, but after spending 30 minutes trying to get into Bones’ Web site — no problem linking to the other three Bonanno eateries — I gave up. Why do they have to make them so colorful that you can’t read anything, and then try and find the links? The daily-changing menu may offer such delites as roasted bone marrow. Or beef short-rib eggrolls, or an elegant noodles dish that they specialize in, maybe Ba Mee (roasted spaghetti squash, mustard greens, and horseradish mascarpone cream). Prices are modest. Anywho, this is one of four Frank Bonanno eateries and since I know everything he touches turns to gold, this one has to be fantabulous. See Mizuna and Luca d’Italia.
Brown Palace Hotel
321 17 St., 303-297-3111
With several great eateries, this is always a fun place to dine. Bring money. The Palace Arms is ultra-fine dining (dinner only) with a price tag to match. The hotel’s “main” dining room is Ellyngton’s, a great room serving breakfast and lunch daily as well as the finest Sunday brunch anywhere. More relaxed and affordable for both lunch and dinner is the Ship Tavern, with great sangies and other dishes. The prime rib’s fantastic; it’s always available in sangie form (lots cheaper) even if not on the menu. Good buggers, Great atmosphere. Churchill Bar offers lunch and dinner but mega cigars and their odors abound as well. There are three places in the world to have afternoon or “high” tea: The American Doll store (Chicago or New York), The Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. (Vancouver Island), and at the Brown Palace.
1000 Osage St., 303-534-9505
Alligator tail anyone? You can get most any game imaginable: elk, buffalo, pheasant, Rocky Mountain oysters (some real swingin’ meat), grilled duck breast and more, all served in a great room loaded with trophies. Beats the heck outta any other eatery for game grub. Still serving Gramma Fanny’s pot roast sangie for lunch. Or try one of the mighty fine buggers and some house-made soup.
1000 Grant St., 303-830-1000
This fine-dining emporium, located in one of Denver’s nicer independent hotels, is off the main road, but only a four-block walk from the Capitol. Just great eatin’. Probably the best kept dining secret in Denver. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch every day and dinner on Friday and Saturday. The lounge serves a full dinner nitely.
1450 Larimer St, 303-539-2500
Since their opening in mid-November 2003, I’ve been there probably 75 times. Usually I get someone else to buy. I usta tellya that the bugger sucked. It did. Very oniony. But either it’s been changed or I’ve mellowed, cuz the bugger of today is terrific. It’s still made with onions inside, but so so good. All the food is fantastic. Try the double cut lamb chops with the chutney thingie that is unbelievable. Service is primo. If you ain’t tried the cold-smoked lox, you ain’t lived. The sliced New York is great but the luncheon rib eye is the best steak in town. It’s our place for G and me for our anniversary. The house-made dark chocolate ice cream is a must every visit. This year I have three gift certificates, but it will do. Barely. If you’d like to send me one…
Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Café
534 E. Colfax Ave, 303-861-0347
James and Tina Pachork, owners of the Royal Hilltop (18581 E. Hampden Ave., Aurora, 303-692-7738) in Aurora for the past seven years, opened this beer garden two years ago. Yes, I missed it last year. Sorry. But if the food tastes as good as the menu presents it, I will be making up for that omission in the very near future. Loaded with great munchies (cheese croquettes anyone?), sangies (remember the Monte Cristo?); salads, mussels (in a category by themselves) and entrees (Flemish Beef Stew sounds yummy). Check ‘em out. Open til the wee hours nitely.
321 E. Colfax Ave., 303-861-0726
This popular legislative hangout is packed all day during “the session”. Soups (including The Best green chili in town) are fabulous; buggers and BLTs are yummy. They serve dinner seven nites with nitely specials. Great prime rib deal Saturday nite. Try the huge rib-eye steak sangie or the Cuban roast pork sangie. Open late. Now that smoking is banned, this is even a better spot for lunch. Ceptin’ it’s always packed.
Cook’s Fresh Market
1600 Glenarm Place, 303-893-2277
This secret jewel, albeit not really a restaurant, serves some of the finest food found anywhere. Most of their meats and deli items are not cheap, but there are great values, particularly in their selections of soups and sangies. They even have a direct sangie order FAX line (303-893-2299). In addition to some of the finest beef in the state, they make terrific sangies. The menu offers over a dozen sangies daily, plus lotsa salads and sumptuous soups and maavelous pastries, cakes and pies. Check ‘em out. As for the butcher shop, you get what you pay for.
Corner Bakery Cafe
500 16th St., 303-572-0166
1147 16th St ., 303-825-0525
Founded on a philosophy of creating a place for people to relax, at any time of day, with a casual atmosphere, fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, pastas and sweets, Corner Bakery Cafe delivers a premier bakery cafe experience in the hearts of
Denver Chop House
1735 19 St., 303-296-0800
Next to Coors Field, the joint is packed day and nite cuz the grub’s as good as the service. And it’s perty. Super munchies, fab steaks, chops and other entrees. The portobello mushroom munchie and the onion rings are super. The bugger is still terrific.
1222 Glenarm Place, 303-571-4747
Yeah, yeah, all you suckers will rake me over the coals cuz I wrote about a strip joint. So you know who goes to this place? Yuppie lawyers and old-fart businessmen. Food and service are really good. Hey, weren’t you born nekked? Friday lunch is all you can eat prime rib. Yo!
Dixons Downtown Grill
1610 16th St., 303-573-6100
A sister eatery to Racines, sans parking. Food and service are similar. I luv the place. Try the Mexican fare or one of the dozens of munchies, sangies, salads, or entrees. Leave room for dessert. Sunday brunch is still muh favorite meal here.
821 17th St., 303-293-9832
Ed Novak opened this very popular eatery about Ought 6, and has been serving fine steaks and other goodies including the bottomless shrimp bowl ever since. One problem: while the desserts are fantastic, you never have room for ‘em. Such
Green Fine Salad Company
110 16th St., 303-629-9127
1137 16th St., 303-279-0173
What do I say about a salad joint? Check out their menu online and you decide. They offer a wide variety in different sizes, including a Caesar salad — one with beef tenderloin in it. I’d go for that.
CPA Jay Fox generously sacrifices valuable tax season time in the service of keeping our hardworking legislators happily fed. Part 2 will run next week.