Chow from DIA to Colorado Springs
Hello hounds - here's my query.
I have one meal to eat in the Denver area this Saturday afternoon or evening, as I drive through it from Denver Airport back to Colorado Springs. I have it on good authority (ie the Chowhound archives) that there is nothing good to eat around Denver International Airport - perhaps that there is nothing AT ALL to eat around Denver International Airport, except what is to be found in the airport itself. But what is there that's good when you get away from the airport - in the eastern and southern suburbs? If it's right on the way between DIA and COS itself, that's ideal, but I'll happily drive a few extra minutes out of the way for something good. Preferably a place with a parking lot, though; after having gone through the ordeal that is flying these days, I don't want to have to parallel park downtown. Likewise, I don't want a place that's packed - I'll probably be getting out of the airport relatively early (around 4:30-5 or so) so late Sat evening crowds won't be a problem, but I'd like to be able to get served reasonably quickly when I do get there.
So what kind of food am I looking for? Well, first of all, I am an old-school chowhound, as opposed to a foodie: please, NO nouvelle fusion bistros, fine Tuscan trattorias, or places that serve ahi tuna carpaccio with a wasabi reduction served on the bottom. It's not about the price so much; I just tend to find myself indifferent to foodie food and atmosphere. My pulse races when I see a place serving the cuisine of a country whose food I've never eaten before (say Bhutanese, South African, Costa Rican, Moldovan), a restaurant run by immigrants for immigrants serving their own spicy regional cuisine and not toning it down for the farangs/gwailos/white folks (especially Jamaican, Ethiopian, Cambodian, Venezuelan, Burmese), or just a nice little dive serving really fine local food (painfully hot and crispy Buffalo wings, extra-smoky Texas barbecue, burgers where you can taste the charcoal grilling, crisp and snappy fries with the skin on). I adore Thai food but am very picky about it, having lived in Bangkok - if it's a Thai place I want somewhere serving real hot yam pla duk foo or khao soi or somtam, not just the usual bleak barrage of pad thai and peanut sauce and "volcano chicken." Similarly, I'll enjoy an Indian place that serves chaat and bhelpuri with Bollywood films blaring in the background, but nothing with white tablecloths or Ravi Shankar. And in all cases, when it comes to spice (including but not limited to chile heat), the more the better. Though I'm not especially keen on getting anything Mexican, because that's well provided for in COS.
So, fellow hounds, can you make my one meal in Denver a happy and yummy one? I imagine I will be flying through DIA (and maybe even visiting Denver itself) again before I leave COS, so hopefully I'll be able to use the extra recommendations for future meals. Many thanks in advance.
Sorry that I missed this post, and it is probably too late to help you, but two great little spots, not too far off of I-225 come to mind in Aurora, and a third a bit farther off of the Interstate, in "old Aurora."
First: Kenny Sonoda's sushi bar is well worth the stop. I always liked his Aurora shop, better than downtown. Looks like he has one farther down I-25, but I've never been. Besides great sushi, I love Kenny's tempura calamari appetizer, and usually got two of these, to share with wife, in exchange some of her sushi. If the Groth Napa Sauvignon Blanc is still on the limited wine list - get it. It was a real bargain and paired well with both the tempura and the sushi.
Next, in the same "general" neighborhood is New Orient, which is a Vietnamese/Pacific Rim restaurant. It's a bit more "sit-dwon," than most pure Vietnamese restaurants. The Sesame Honey Halibut was always great.
Last, and a bit off the highway, is La Cueva, a family-run Mexican restaurant, next to the Fox Theater on Colfax, in old Aurora. Great handmade tortillas and wonderful tamales. If they like you, you can order the tamales smothered in mole, though it is not on the menu. You may have to sweet talk the server a bit, and she might need to get permission from Senora Nuñez to serve it.
The first two are just slight detours from I-225, before it runs into I-25, while La Cueva is a few miles down Colfax, then back to I-225.
3108 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO 80014
9623 E County Line Rd, Englewood, CO 80112
New Orient Restaurant
10203 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80247