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Sep 17, 2006 01:29 AM

Where to get the best green chili in Denver?

I just put up a web site all about green chile (peppers) and green chili (the dish) at and I'm trying to build a good page on the best restaurants for green chili. I've started with recommendations from the Denver Post and Westword, but I'd like to hear some direct recommendations.

Then I'm planning on a tasting party followed by writing reviews. Anyone interested?

The page I'm working on is

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  1. I've often been confused about green chile in the Southwest. It seems as though in SoCal and AZ, chile verde is often simply a green sauce with no meat. In Colorado, it's often chock full of pork, which makes a huge difference. A simple burrito with green sauce in some parts of the country is presented like a salsa sauce to wet the tortilla. A condiment. In other places, a burrito ordered with green chile is an entirely different meal... the tortilla, etc. is there to help mop up the meaty chunks of chile. Then you have the hearty green chile which stands alone as a meal... pretty much like a stew/soup. My fave way is the chunky pork style on a bean burrito. Or an egg burrito (for brekkies). I'm not sure, however, if it makes sense to smother a meat-based burrito in the same way, as you'd have competing flavors of meat. Maybe that's why many eateries offer the meaatless, sauce option.

    5 Replies
    1. re: tastyjon

      I am also confused. But I think you have green chili wrong for SoCal and the Southwest though I haven't had much green chili in LA or SD. I think it is just sauce in New Mexico, but at least here in Yuma, green chili always has meat - usually pork, but sometimes beef. Also here, some green chili is mostly flavored by tomatillos, but older, more local style places serve minced or coarsely ground beef with numerous mild chopped green chilies (or dried green chili powder) and actually include flecks of tomato, but no tomatillos.

      That's one reason why I usually order green chili when I go to a recently opened Mexican restaurant, so I can see what variations they present.


      1. re: tastyjon

        Jack n Grill is great for New Mexican style chili, If you have not tried Salsa's (formerly Mi Cabana) on 44th and Wadsworth Blvd, in WheatRidge, you are depriving yourself of some very tastey chili. Just a small dive but the dives in my experience are by far the best. The Green Chili plate with a Negra Modelo will do the trick just fine! Worth the visit!

        1. re: greaseylee

          Just returned from lunch at Salsa's, inspired by greaseylee's post. I hadn't been there since it was Mi Cabana. I'm a sucker for chile rellenos, so I had that instead of the green chile plate, but the chile certainly lived up to the recommendation. I wouldn't dare venture into the "Best of..." debate, but Salsa's would be a contender. A while back, the Post critic claimed that the best he had had (at the time) was Las Cazuelas on W. Mississippi. It's similar to Jack-n-Grill or Efrain's (also one of my favorites - No. 2 plate, hottest thing on the menu - you remember it for days...), unthickened with large chunks of pork and intensely flavored broth. Salsa's green chile is thick and flavorful. Definitely worth a try if you're on the west side of Denver.

        2. re: tastyjon

          Chile verde in AZ is definitely full of pork.

          1. re: tastyjon

            tastyjon, I think you are talking about green Chile salsa that has no meat, I had my first green chili verde in 1950 in Tucson, AZ. My husband hired an attorney whose wife was from Mexico and she taught me how to make it. It was a long time getting to the midwest and not sure you can find in NY yet! But it is alive and cooking in Denver and Tucson!!

          2. My fave will always be Jack N Grill.

            1. I agree. Jack N Grill. And I'm not usually a green chili fan.

              1. Jack N Grill is good, but the green chile there is second best. Efrains on 63rd and Arapahoe in Boulder has the best verde in the Denver metro. Fresh, great Anaheim and jalapeno heat with perfect chunks of pork. The verde burrito is my favorite way to have it, they have a bowl option.
                Jack N Grill chile is best over the calabasitas burrito. The tastes really shine when combined.

                Your page mentions Brewery Bar...skip it. It's a greasy version. You can get some chile verde out of a can and add some Dave's Insanity, it'd be the same thing.

                If/when you organize a tasting tour, let me know. I'd be in.


                1 Reply
                1. re: TNC

                  Ok I heard so much about Efrain's had to give it a try. I must say I was not dissapointed. For this style of Chili it is definitely up there with the best! Reminded me a bit of Brewery Bar but this stuff was amazingly hot! I will go back without a doubt. My favorite still tends to be more of a gravy style but let's face it, Greasey Lee loves Cheelay and can't get enough! Efrain's is GREAT and highly recommended!

                2. Jack-n-Grill had decent food, but on our first and only visit, we saw an owner/manager park, blocking both handicapped spaces. The company didn't even respond to a letter (they have no email that we could find).

                  We were at Jack-n-Grill's second location (on E. 40th), and saw some truly obnoxious behavior by an owner or manager.

                  We saw a guy in a big white Yukon zip right up between the two empty handicapped parking spaces, and park directly on the striped area between them. It seemed that this guy was actually somebody in charge of the restaurant, either an owner or an off-duty manager, as he spent about 30 minutes chatting with the staff, going behind the bar, etc.
                  For some reason, he left for a few minutes, came back with a couple of passengers, and parked exactly as before. Total time blocking the handicapped spaces: probably 30 minutes.

                  The striped area is used for unloading wheelchairs, etc. Parking like that, between the two marked handicapped spaces, effectively prevented their use. Furthermore, I didn't notice, but no doubt the Yukon was also blocking the ramp area in the sidewalk. So even if someone in a wheelchair managed to park and unload somewhere else, they would have had to find another ramp, just to get to the door.

                  We were disgusted by this behavior of a manager/owner who was too lazy to park 5, 10, 20 spaces away, and who didn't care about any handicapped patrons who might show up.

                  robvbrowning at yahoo dot com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RobVBrowning

                    Rob -- Just so there's no confusion about ownership/management, the Jack-n-Grill that you're referring to on E. 40th Avenue was NEVER owned by Jack Martinez, who is the sole owner of the original Jack-n-Grill on Federal.

                    And for the record, the E. 40th Avenue Jack-n-Grill closed months ago.