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Lack of Denver Chowhound postings

Just moved to Denver from Austin, where I got into Chowhound. This is a big city, with tons of dining and imbibing options - surprised there isn't more activity on the board. Recommendations for best authentic little Mexican place? And best Thai restaurant? How about the best french fries in town?

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  1. The Denver posting is a little slow. I agree. Here are my choices for your questions:

    Best authentic Mexican: El Tacos de Mexico
    Best Thai: Chada Thai
    Best French Fries: Bistro Vendome (the truffle oil probably has something to do with it)

    What have you found that you really liked since moving into town?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Megiac

      sorry, no truffle oil on the fries at Bistro Vendome. That is gastrique you are tasting.

      I would second Claire's call for a separate board for Denver/Boulder.

      1. re: Megiac

        Yeah, I agree. I have not been on here (especially not posting at all until last night) for very long, but the denver "foodie" scene as a whole seems to be lacking. Working in many of the 'nicer' places in denver, it seems as eating out at nice restaurants with good food in denver is reserved for those who are out for special occasions, and not to be there for the food (but at the same time, the food culture DOES seem to be growing here.) I guess what I'm trying to say is, yes chowhound bigwigs, give us our own space, and allow our food culture to grow in Denver!

        P.S. - Haven't heard from Laslow recently, but he has seemed nothing like a sketchball here in Colorado, I recieved three (or more?) job offers from him "at the new restaurant he was working on." Each in a different location (denver, evergreen, boulder, etc..) but I'd love to see him find a spot in denver that suits him so we can taste some of that lovely food he's so capable of producing here at home.

        1. re: foodite25

          Who's Laslow?

          As I've said numerous times now (even on this thread), coming from Boston, I'm not disappointed in the food scene at all. It's exciting to be somewhere where you're not fighting against the establishment yet, since the establishment is still defining itself—maybe, hopefully, in antiestablishmentarian ways.

          1. re: tatamagouche

            Eric Laslow -- had his own award-winning restaurants in Portland, OR. Came to CO. Was with Corridor 44 (Denver), then Restaurant 4580 (Boulder) and then (maybe) at Iron Mountain Winery (Denver). Still or now ????.

        2. re: Megiac

          I know this thread is a little old, but just have to interject... We checked out El Tacos de Mexico the other night. I prefer Tacos y Salsas (the one on Federal and Missippi) for tacos, hands down. Not sure how authentic taco-truck style tacos are, though....? I don't think the store was open when Megiac posted this back in December, though.

          1. re: luckylily

            Hmm. I haven't been to T y S, but I think ETDM is really pretty hardcore.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              I had the tacos and the smothered breakfast burrito at ETDM. Neither good. Plus, they put sauces on my tacos that weren't really that great. I thought the tacos at Rancho Libirio were better than ETDM (same price and same size).

              Go try Tacos y Salsa. The al pastor is amazing! The salsa bar is a huge plus, because I eat my tacos with all the fixings. I get to choose the sauces I put on, if any. Some of them don't need sauce. And, for the same price, they're bigger than the ones at ETDM, too.

              1. re: luckylily

                I promise to try T y S, though I love ETDM's salsa and green chile...different strokes.

                Which reminds me, has anyone been to Maricela's, the gorditas stand on 38th and Federal?

            2. re: luckylily

              I've only been to Tacos y Salsas and El Taco de Mexico once(only because I'm not from Denver), but based on that limited experience, I think Tacos y Salsas' tacos are better than El Taco de Mexico's, too. The assortment of salsas is a plus. ETDM does some things better though--my wife's chile rellenos from Tacos y Salsas was pretty bad. I'd rank the tacos at the places I've been most recently in Denver like this:

              1. Tacos y Salsas
              2. Los Carboncitos(huaraches rather than tacos)
              3. El Taco de Mexico
              4. Tacos Jalisco
              5. Taqueria Patzcuaro
              6. El Coyotito

          2. I have lived in Austin and Denver, where there are actually certain similarities (front range vs hill country to the west, huge range of dining options, horrible traffic flow, etc). When I noted that Austin has 1.6 million metro population and has it's own board, and Denver has 2.6 million and no board, I issued a challenge to Denver to get busy enough to earn one.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              Honestly, I had trouble finding where Denver posting were when I first came on here. I don't consider Denver in the Southwest...

              Anyway, best authentic Mexican, IMHO: Tacos y Salsas

              1. re: Veggo

                I tend to agree. Having lived in Denver, and dining well during that time, I often get confused, even when DEN is mentioned in the subject.

                I think that the SW board needs to split AZ, LV and DEN into their own boards. I've stated such many times, but the CH mods shush me, when I mention this.

                Now, gone for 10 years, many of my favs. in DEN are probably long gone, and have been replaced with new eateries. Still, I try to follow the DEN threads (if I can remember that I live in PHX now!), as we do travel back to Colorado with some frequency.

                Back when (1980's), there were only a few fine-dining establishments in Denver. That scene changed, while we were there. I still have very fond memories of some of the restaurants from those days. I still place Tante Louise near the top of the "contemporary French" list, regardless of whether we're talking Paris, San Francisco, NYC, or even London.

                Denver has the potential for being a great food city. I followed several chefs, in days gone by, and respected their visions and their fare. I'm certain that new chefs have filled these positions, but there is not the chatter, that I would have anticipated.

                With an upcoming trip in August, I'm watching, and hoping that there will be a few "must-dines," that are not my old standbys. Note that they are bad, or not worth my dining $, but I've done them already, and just hope for a few more new spots.

                To "kick-start" the Denver dining theme, I'll post, asking for recs. for new spots, prior to my trip back.

                I would hate to think that the mini-chains, Ruth's, Palm, Morton's, et al, are the best there now.


                PS, we ARE speaking of Denver, Colorado, right?

                [Edit] Best Mexican WAS La Cueva, on Colfax, Aurora (next to Fox Theater), but that was then, and this is now...

              2. Welcome to Denver. We live in both Mexico and Denver (near 6th and Colorado). Most of my suggestions are east side or southeast.
                Good family Mexican restaurant: Cocinas de Marcos - Iliff and Quebec (fresh, hot chips and good salsa, tacos are half crispy, half chewy)
                Mexican where the Mexican consulate staff eats: El Coyotito #3 - Leetsdale between Dahlia and Forest. Try the mariscos and the torta adobado. Really good guac.
                French fries: Steubens on 17th, I think
                French fries: Snapping Dog on Colfax at Adams, I think. Really good dogs.
                French fries: SMASH burger on Colorado Blvd at Mississippi.
                My favorite little Chicago-style Italian: Nonna's on Leetsdale near Monaco. Stuffed mushroom app is almost a meal if you can keep others out of your food. DH loves the spaghetti and meatballs. Pizza Israel is thin crust and filled with high quality ingredients. Can get crowded and slow on Friday or Saturday.

                17 Replies
                1. re: Pampatz

                  I second the vote for El Coyotito #3. It's close to home. Surprisingly, the ceviche is quite good.

                  I couple places that come to mind in the same general area:
                  Basil Doc's Pizza (now a small chain). I went to college in Connecticut, and this is very authentic Connecticut pizza (search for Sally's or Pepe's for more info). Try the clam pizza; it's great.

                  I like Table 6 (Corona and 6th).

                  I also like Ocean in Cherry Creek. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but it has fantastic and innovative seafood.

                  Having grown up in Chicago, I can attest that Mustard's Last Stand is a pretty authentic Chicago-style hot dog joint.

                  1. re: Awal

                    No kidding, New Haven style pizza here in Denver?
                    So Ocean's pretty good? I really have been happily surprised by the quality/range of the seafood restaurants here.

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      Proto's also has clam pizzas (white & red) on Friday nights.
                      Talented Chef Troy Guard is no longer associated with Ocean and I'm not sure who took over the reins.

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        Nancy Proto grew up in New Haven. She's modernized the Pepe's/Sally's type of pie and also trendified the ambiance (there are now several locations in the area). Virgilio, who owns namesake Virgilio's in Lakewood, used to work at Pepe's and his pies are closer to classic New Haven style. With lunch-counter/takeout/few tables informality, it also feels more classic New England than modern Rockies.

                          1. re: rlm

                            You're right, of course. I wonder why Nancy popped into my head.....

                        1. re: tatamagouche

                          Just have to say I finally made it Ocean & was borderline appalled (I ended up writing 2 long rants about on my blog: http://denveater.typepad.com/ ). Awal, if you're still around, can I ask a) why you were skeptical at first & b) why you stopped being? Do you recall the dishes you had? I'm wondering what I might have missed.

                          Although per rlm's post below, what I may have missed was the chef himself. Has he cropped up elsewhere?

                          1. re: tatamagouche

                            I may be behind the times, but last I knew, Troy Guard had opened up Nine75 on Ninth(?) and Lincoln. Later another location up north (westminister?). You can also still taste several of his signature dishes on the menu at Zengo still (wonton tuna tacos, Angry Tuna Roll, Miso Black Cod, etc..)

                            1. re: foodite25

                              He was -- but no longer is -- with the Sullivan Restaurant Group (Ocean, Nine75 and Oscar's).

                              1. re: ClaireWalter

                                Ah, he was the guy behind nine75--guess I sort of knew that in the back of my mind. I kind of like the food there, hate the decor. Are those Keith Richards portraits supposed to be edgy?

                                Good morning, Claire! We're up early.

                        2. re: Awal

                          I do not know Chicago "dogs," but my Chicago friends swear by Mustard's, so I would (second-hand) second your rec.


                        3. re: Pampatz

                          Thanks for this post. We will be in Denver next week, and my boyfriend, who is from Phoenix is jonesing for authentic Mexican while we are back in the Southwest (we are in Florida). Sounds like dinner Saturday night at El Coyotito #3 (while we have a car) and at least one trip to Tacos y Salsas if we can get there without a car from downtown.

                          1. re: ldkelley

                            Being a Denver transplant to PHX, I still vouch for La Cueva, Colfax, Aurora, as a great Mexican restaurant. So far, nothing that I have found in PHX is close. Now, there are spots, that we have not been to there (PHX), but of all, at which we have dined, La Cueva tops the best, including El Bravo in Sunny Slope.

                            I still have old clients from DEN, who e-mail me with rememberences of "Tamal Day" (Wednesday) at La Cueva, when I'd host a half-dozen of them for lunch. Always the Tamal Special plus a cheese enchillada. We'd always get the mole (not on the menu, but Mrs. Nunez would make an exception) to smother the tamal. Next to a very few Tex-Mex spots, near the border, this was as good as it gets.


                            La Cueva
                            9742 E Colfax Ave, Aurora, CO 80010

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              The one Mexican place he took me to in PHX several times was Los Dos Molinos. We went to the Mesa one several times and the Phoenix location once. The food was incredible.


                              I am not sure we will get by Aurora but I will definately put it on the list.

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                I've been to La Cueva and I don't think it's that good. Down Colfax going west is El Real de Minas and it's authentic, family owned and VERY tasty.

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Wow, never even heard of it...thanks for the tip.

                                2. re: ldkelley

                                  I wanted to report back that we tried both Tacos y Salsas and El Colotito #3 while we were in Denver. We liked them both very much, but Tacos y Salsas was the hands-down winner. The carnitas were incredible, the carne asada melting. Excellent.

                              2. Bocadita--I know whereof you speak, having moved here from Boston, which has a very busy board, in August. There seem to be a few very regular posters (all of whom have responded to this thread), but not many; those few seem to know their stuff, however, and I've much appreciated their insight.
                                A couple of them/us also have blogs you can find out about by clicking on our profiles. Well, OK, I just started mine, but it exists and I hope it'll be useful/fun.

                                Still, nothing can replace the wealth of opinions one is able to glean here, which brings me to my own request: I'm beginning to miss Portuguese food. Is there any to be found around here?

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                  The closest Denver came to have a Portuguese restaurant, to my knowledge, was the glamorous, fabulous but ultimately short-lived Adega across the street from Union Station. It was really a contemporary fine-dining temple, Portuguese mostly in name -- reportedly meaning "above-ground wine cellar." The chef, Bryan Moscatello, was named Colorado's third Food & Wine Best Chef of the Year. Then, the parnternship fizzled and the restaurant folded. But I'm reminiscing.

                                  Tatamagouche, I'll check your new blog.

                                  1. re: ClaireWalter

                                    And I'll continue to check yours (and link to it when I get to that part!).
                                    Ah well, one can't have everything everywhere.

                                  2. re: tatamagouche

                                    tatamagouche, I know its just been a few months since you left Boston, but don't yet pronounce Denver to be a cultural wasteland. Judge its beauty more in the solitude of its natural silent splendor than by the cackles you overhear in the dipping grill.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Oh, I don't think it's a wasteland at all! To the contrary, right now I think Denver's dining scene is a lot more dynamic than Boston's, which of late has been dominated by the same old 7 or 8 big-name chefs opening the same old high-end new-wave steakhouses.
                                      All I'm saying is that the Southwest board doesn't have the Boston board's cast of insatiable thousands, undoubtedly for the geographical reasons mentioned above.

                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        Hello to those of you who are also new to Denver. I moved here a few months ago from Portland, OR which is big into Chowhound. I'm glad to see some new posts for Denver--thanks! I haven't loved the food here yet, but I will try some of your recs and share my thoughts.

                                        1. re: BellaFunk

                                          Bella Funk - As an ex-Portlandian (Portlander???), you might be interested that Eric Laslow is here now -- or at least has been. He has cooked at four different places that I know of in just a few months. Nothing seems to have clicked. I hope that he lands somewhere for a longer period so that CHs can try what I understand is really good food. But then, he might have pulled up stakes from CO completely and gone elsewhere.

                                  3. Actually, they could just change it to Mountain States & Southwest and that might work, at least as a temporary solution.

                                    For Mexican: Tacos Jalisco on 38th, Los Carbonacitas on 38th and Tejon.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: johndicker

                                      I can't believe you are still complaining about the lack of posts on the denvernboards... hello!!! foodies know foodies and eat with people who love food... tell you friends and those you meet in restaurants to chow... be the solution, don't just whine about our problem, please!!

                                      1. re: foodissexy

                                        I had to smile. While this thread has picked up a lot of traffic, largely not on the complaint side at all, "Bocadita," who started it, has never p;
                                        osted another message either on this board or any other as far as I can till since that first one. Perhaps s/he was abducted by aliens.

                                    2. I'm brand new here, but I have a favorite authentic Mexican place to throw into the mix. It is Tacqueria Patzcuaro in the Highlands, on 32nd Ave. just east of Clay. I go there at least once a month. The tacos carbon are my favorite thing to order. It is a very simple place, but the staff is friendly, and the food is great.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Denver08

                                        Denver08, I was inspired by your post to try Tacqueria Patzcuaro again at lunch today. We had been there a couple of years ago and were not impressed. Lunch today was much better. DH had the carnitas that were juicy and fall apart tender. They aren't as good as the carnitas we get in Michoacan because the cooking method is different. I had the Enchiladas Rojas that were much better than any enchilada that I've had in Patzcuaro.
                                        Wait staff was very friendly and efficient. The owner, Francisco, came out to meet us when my Frank told the server that we live in Patzcuaro most of the year.
                                        Thanks for the reminder about this restaurant.

                                        1. re: Pampatz

                                          I'm glad you liked it better this time. I've been going there for about two years regularly. I have tried Tacos Jalisco since it is also in our neighborhood and it just doesn't measure up for me.

                                      2. I'm new to Chowhound and I don't this suggestion qualifies as haute cuisine, but for some of the best fried chicken you'll find on this side of the Mississippi, I'd recommend The White Fence Farm (http://www.whitefencefarm.com/denver/...) in Lakewood. It's a large (and I do mean LARGE - it seats in the hundreds at a time), family-style restaurant on a farm-like setting. It's very much a family-oriented place, so it's a little bit kitchy. But the food is marvelous.

                                        I make it a point to go whenever I come home for the holidays.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: heycorey

                                          Hey, Heycorey - There has been a recent thread about Southern/soul food, esp hushpuppies, in Denver. If that "qualifies" as Chow-ish, so does the fried chicken at White Fence Farm. All good food is not haute cuisine, and all haute cuisine is not always really good.

                                          1. re: heycorey

                                            Ah, the thing of wonderful memories. I haven't been able to bring myself to go back to White Fence Farm since I moved back here. My memories of the place include my beloved grandparents who took us there every time we'd come to visit when I was a child. I remember long waits, wondering through the general store, admiring porcelain dolls (one of which I got for Christmas that year), eating fried chicken or (gasp!) liver and onions which I like.

                                            Maybe one of these days I'll head back over there for old time's sake. Good to hear the chicken is good as well.

                                            1. re: RobynS

                                              My BF lives for fried chicken. You guys all think it's worth the trip to check it out?
                                              Sounds like a cute place.

                                            2. re: heycorey

                                              Oh, I've heard about White Fence Farm in the distant past (like 10 years ago?). I had no idea it was still around. Maybe I'll drag my fella there this weekend.

                                              We haven't been to Casa Bonita yet, either.

                                              1. re: Kitt

                                                It is very much around, and I'm sure it was good back then, but unless you want to dump your kid there to play with the animals, I wouldn't go there for fried chicken. The chicken meat has no flavor, although you do get a lot for your money, I still can't see it as justifiable. I would recommend Steuben's in downtown, I wouldn't say it's the greatest, but it's much better than WFF.

                                                1. re: Kitt

                                                  Skip Casa Bonita. The food is so disgusting that it is inedible. Cheese Whiz queso, greasy, stale chips. No substitutions or changes to the food. Take it or leave it. Plus the whole place smells like clorine.

                                                  White Fence Farm, however, is a gem. Food is not fancy, just good. Well prepared and plentiful. Terrific wait staff. The only negative was the desserts. My sour cream cherry pie wasn't worth the calories. Dinner for 4 adults with a carafe of wine and a couple of desserts was about $80.00 last month.

                                                  1. re: Kitt

                                                    only go to casa bonita for the spectacle (better if you have, say a six year old who would think the cliff divers are cool)... but dear god not the food. and if you think you can drown out the bad food with liquor, think again.. the margaritas are deplorable and the beer served at a tepid temperature... the only thing edible is the sopapillas, but then again you don't get those until after dinner when you are starving and drunk from drinking beer, trying to get the taste of the food out of your mouth. so yeah, about then little bits of fried dough with honey taste pretty darn good.