Jay Fox's Dining Guide
Welcome back, legislators, Part II
“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” — Gloria Steinem
HERE’S PART II of my favorites in the area near the Capitol or a short shuttle ride away.
Green Fine Salad Company
What do I say about a salad joint? Check out their menu on line and you decide. They offer a wide variety in different sizes, including Caesar salads — one with beef tenderloin in it. I’d go for that.
Jimmy John’s Subs
I luv the things. First one I ever saw was in is in Lincoln, Neb., right on the main drag. It shared a building with a Subway. You could walk in the JJ and out the Subway. There were two customers in the Subway and 40 in the JJ. The bread is superb (tho short lived), the quality of the meats is first class and they use real Hellmann’s mayo. Or maybe they just like having giant jars of Hellmann’s mayo for kicks and use some junk stuff, I don’t really know. What else can a dude want? I get the plain slims sangies, for about a buck less than one with all the guk, cuz I don’t eat the guk. A tuna sangie for about $3.50 is a steal. You can get double meat on most any sangie for a buck or so extra. Prices vary at different locations in different cities. You can also buy the bread after it’s a few hours old for a huge discount. Just remember to ask them to cut your sangie, cuz they don’t like to do that for some reason. There’s about a dozen in metro Denver. Like the sign sez, “Your mom wants you to eat at Jimmy John’s!”
Joey’s New York Pizza
Here comes yet another “New York” pizzeria. All it means is that it has a thin crust. Since I really don’t like pizza, you have to judge their quality. They have the usual pizza, strombolis, salads, heroes and, of course, the required New York cheesecake. The menu doesn’t say homemade, but the Denver Post reported that it is. Stop in and check ’em out. They offer free delivery, and the Capitol should be well within the delivery area.
Not exactly a dining emporium, but a unique addition to the neighborhood. Housed in what useta be The Quorum is a boutique of unusual offerings. First, it is a retail outlet for Belevedere Chocolates, home of the finest Belgian chocolates you can find. If you haven’t sampled true Belgian chocolate, you haven’t lived. They also offer Rockwood Fine Candies (brittle candy, hard candy, candied popcorn, caramels, toffee and ribbon candy). Aside from that, they serve fine coffees and teas and have a place to sit and sip and enjoy the hectic world going by. The shop sells distinctive Colorado-made gifts including Colorado Mountain Jams. Stop in and stay awhile. I could have a meal of chocolate instead of a bugger, couldn’t you?
Las Delicias I
It musta been about ought four when Roberto Torres opened the first Las Delicias in metro Denver. Over the years, a few have opened and closed, but this store goes on and on. Nothing fancy, just good, fresh Mexican fare with good service by people who care. Known for their variety of combinations.
This is “the affordable French restaurant,” where the grub is truly exquisite. Desserts are 2-die-4. Sunday brunch is killer. If you like mussels, this is The Place. The French bread — maaavelous. G takes ‘Lil Emma, age 8, when I’m outta town. They feast on mussels, Caesar salad with extra anchovies for Emma, and lotsa bread. Now we take Harper B, age 6. She devours a bucket of mussels without sharing. Nor does she share her chocolate mousse. G has to get her own mussels. I get the leftovers. I’ve known owner Robert Tournier for almost 40 years, and he still puts out the best, most affordable food anywhere.
During the holidays, the menu is expanded to include lots of fresh game, steaks and salads. Last year I had goose. That was the first time I got the goose. Audrey’s goose used to get me… right in the tush. Hate them mean things. Oh, now I’ll hear from the don’t-kill-the-goose people, if there is such a thing. You gotta check out the gorgeous cakes on their Web site. Anything chocolate is like manna from heaven.
Luca d’ Italia
This Italian trattoria serves unusual dishes not found elsewhere in Denver. Fresh seafood, game and meats showcase regional cuisine. If you’ve dined at Mizuna (just around the corner), you’ll see it in the menu, ’cuz the same folks run that great eatery. The menu is always changing, using the freshest of local ingredients. This may be the finest Italian eatery in the West. Sorry, dinner only.
McCormick’s Fish House and more
Great seafood as well as steaks, pasta and a munchie list that goes on for days. The Front Room is a gas; main dining room is gourmet at its best. Service is top-notch. If it swims, it’s on the menu. They now have a second eatery in the Denver Tech Center. But the funnest thing here is the huge happy hour menu offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily and again at 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday thru Thursday, and 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s a three-tiered menu with prices at $1.95, $3.95 and $4.95. You gotta go. There’s nothing like it in town.
Some say the Best Restaurant in Town. Dinner only, no group larger than six. Great grub and service. It’s quite intimate. Menu changes monthly. Service is The Best. The menu is Continental. Known for Chef Bonanno’s mac and cheese. If you ain’t tried it, don’t even think about giggling. It’s right around the corner from the Best Italian eatery in town, Luca d’Italia. Another of Denver’s Top Ten.
If you have trouble finding this basement eatery, you ain’t the only one. But keep looking. Owner chef Frank Bonanno brings you his third great restaurant, but this one actually serves lunch. You can’t do that at Mizuna or Luca d’Italia, his other great eateries. Housed in the former Del Mar Crab House, you’ll find this deliteful Italian trattoria. The menu is simple but quite unusual. Most notable are the pizzas, followed by Panini sangies, house-cured meats, antipasti and house-crafted cheeses. The wine list is elegant and enormous. The ambiance is casual.
Paradise Bakery & Café
There are several units in the metro area serving upscale sangies and the finest bakery products around. The downtown store serves breakfast from 6:30 a.m. till 9:30 a.m., and is open until 5 p.m. during the week and most all day Saturday. The menu includes fresh sangies, soups & specialty pastas, garden salads and baked goodies, all made from scratch. Everything from sheet-sized cakes to cookies to the best brownies in town comes out of these ovens daily. Certain products are baked only at some of the stores. Most of you know I’m a tunadict, and their albacore tuna sangie is super. I hate restaurants that put pickles or relish in the tuna. The good stuff is made with real mayo, celery, maybe some onion’s ok. Otherwise don’t mess with it. This store is at the corner of 16th and Curtis Street, so hop on the free bus and get a bag of brownies, or maybe a giant carrot cake. With your tuna sangie, of course.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
The food is fabulous and service damn near. Every meal should start with a wrap and some ribs. I crave the chicken wraps, but all are yummy. After the ribs, after the wrap, I get zee duck, often a double order. The room is gorgeous. Invite me.
The Westin Hotel houses the world-famous Palm Restaurant, known for huge prime steaks and monstrous lobsters, serving both lunch and dinner. I luv the place. The lunch menu offers good steaks and (most of the time) a damn good bugger. You can order off the dinner menu at any time (dinner prices, of course). The service is the best thing about the place. The NY strip steak salad at lunch is still the deal. Don’t waste your $ ordering dessert. Eat bread instead. IF your picture ain’t on the wall, you’re nobody. Don’t fret. I’m a nobody too.
Zee best in fast Mexican fare at lo-o-oh prices, super-size burritos with you selecting the fresh ingredients: chicken, steak, rice, beans and other goodies. They’re national, but the grub’s still great. I don’t like that other place.
Panera Bread Company
The line goes all day long. Great breads, yummy sangies, unbelievable desserts, and the prices are perty dang reasonable. The tuna sangies are super. Now if they had a place to park, I’d eat there.
This is the place to see and be seen and have damn good food at the same time. If you ain’t been for breakfast, you ain’t important. Convenient, free, covered parking, great food and service, and sapient prices. Lunch and dinner are great also. Muh FOC (Favorite Omaha Cousin) sez they have the best open-face turkey sangie in the world. Buggers are great when cooked on the flat-grill.
A perty set of rooms house super grub served by a well-trained staff. Good buggers, great sangies, good soups and salads. Even desserts are yummy. Lotsa legislators lunch here. Many return after their workday is done. They do a terrific prime rib special now and then.
When Rioja opened a little over four years ago, they opened to packed crowds for lunch and dinner. They’re still packing ’em in. Chef partner Jennifer Jasinsky serves the finest Mediterranean fare. The operative words are “fresh” and “unique.” General Manager partner Beth Gruitch-Verucchi makes it all happen at the front of the house. Beautiful surroundings, first-rate service and fab food. Why eat anywhere else? Except maybe across the street at their new French eatery, Bistro Vendome. I still haven’t tried the lamb bugger at lunch cuz there’s always something unique on the menu. It’s all good. This is certainly one of Denver’s Top Ten.
Rock Bottom Brewery
I’m not into brewpubs, but this place knocks my socks off. Not only is it a great people-watching spot, but also the quality of the grub and the service are super. The spicy spinach cheese dip is yummy; the blackened salmon Caesar salad is fantastic. Desserts include Triple Chocolate Stout Cheesecake, which has my attention.
Rocky Mountain Diner
The history is captivating but it’s the food that will bring you back. Buffalo meat loaf, pot roast and other fare make this an extraordinary eatery, but the huge array of fine bourbons and humongous desserts make it extra special. Prices are modest; service is adept and friendly. Great for late dinner.
There are four locations, so you gotta be near one of the great Kenny Sonoda’s. If you’re into sushi, this is one of the best. Lunch and dinner every day. Happy hour during the week. Cool Web site. Try the chicken yakitori. Oh yeah, that’s not sushi. Howsabout some teriyaki chicken? Or a garlic steak? Or a chicken cutlet?
This 7-year old eatery is still serving fab Mexican fare, but not what you’d expect. This is the good stuff. Gourmet fare. Great grub. The guacamole dip is 2-die-4. They do your favorite dish with flavors that will astound you. Maybe even scare you. This is one of those places you let the waiter order for you.
An elegant eatery located directly across from the Brown Palace Hotel. Stop in for meatloaf or a sliced steak sangie, fine pasta, popular Maryland crab cakes or just a salad. There’s always something new and exciting on the menu. Today it’s chicken *21* hash, $11; and Canadian Walleye, $16. Plan to wait for a table. The green chile, more like a stew, is UN-believable!
Wazee Supper Club
I’m not a pizza fan, but this ain’t no ordinary pizza. Not only do they pile on toppings (don’t even think about more than three), but the pizza itself is delish. Served on high trays with legs soes you don’t have to move your swig out of the way. I usually have one of their terrific sangies and pick over the pizza my dining companion couldn’t finish. Like a Grilled Chicken Jack Ranch sangie? Yo!
Wondrous brisket sangies, delish baked beans and a great homemade cheesecake is all man (or woman) needs to sustain life forever. It’s all right here. Louis is The Man! A search on the internet will bring up several sites, one of which will have the menu.
If I left out one of your favs, either I didn’t hear about it, I didn’t like it or it’s outside the area I intended to include. Drop me a line and tell me what you like or didn’t like and I may even answer you.