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Jan 9, 2008 06:19 PM

New Places to try in Boulder/Denver & surrounding areas

Okay, so we are getting pretty bored with the dining scene in Boulder and are wondering if we might be missing something? Are there any tucked away, speshie places we maybe haven't discovered yet? Any ideas would be appreciated!!

We also haven't dined much in Denver and want to start going there more regularly. We have tried Fruition, Mizuna, and a few other little places...what are your must tries, favs, and don't misses?

Are there any good places to try in the surrounding towns like Louisville and Broomfield? We have yet to explore these areas except for NY Pizza which is pretty tasty!! I think I heard there was a good Thai restaurant that recently moved close by...


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  1. Well, what's new to you might be old to me since you didn't give any point of reference to your time frame. Or a list of the places you've tried and with whcih you are bored. Here's some suggestions:

    Pupusas Sabor Hispano on north Broadway.
    Restaurant 4580 just a little past Pupusas.
    Organic Orbit also in the same area.
    Scotch Corner at Broadway & Walnut. They have threatened to offer haggis but I haven't seen it on the menu.
    Tu Lien in Louisville. My favorite Vietnamese in the area.
    Carelli's at 30th & Baseline. Southern Italian comfort food with great atmosphere.
    Marcel's Chocolate Room in Louisville. Her truffles make a great meal.
    Westfalen Hof in Coal Creek Canyon. Authentic German except for the dearth of pork dishes. A crime! But excellent German beer on tap.

    5 Replies
    1. re: dogbreath

      I've only lived here for about 6 months, but think I have tried a majority of the restaurants in Boulder - so that might be too long to list.

      On your list, I have tried Pupusas, 4580, and Aji, and Carelli's. Thanks for the suggestions, you hit the nail on the head with the remote locations and unique restaurant choices.

      How is Organic Orbit? I've heard mixed reviews.

      I'm excited to try Tu Lien & we are always up for some good German beer!!

      1. re: lavendula

        Been to Organic Orbit once. Good, didn't knock my socks off. Nothing so unique that would compel me to return.

        1. re: dogbreath

          In Boulder,
          I haven't been to Organic Orbit yet but a friend and I are going there for lunch soon (next week, perhaps).
          Kava for sushi, one of these days

          IIn Denver,
          Via, because of James Mazzio.
          Osteria Marco, probably within the next few weeks.
          Black Pearl, because "tatamagouche" recommends it so highly.
          An Indian restaurant on Sheridan (I think) in Westminster or Thornton; I don't know the name, but several of my husband's Indian colleagues have told him that it is good and authentic-- and he has the details.

          1. re: ClaireWalter

            Claire, You're always such a great source of info! I didn't realize that James Mazzio was "back" and chef at Via. This place now jumps to the absolute top of my go-to list. I still believe that 15 Degrees was one of the finest places to ever inhabit Boulder.

            I'll be interested in reading your impression of Organic Orbit. The place got some hype in the Camera but I was not blown over by it. Don't get me wrong, our dinners were good but nothing really unique.

            1. re: dogbreath

              James Mazzio is a peripatetic sort, so I'm hoping he stays for a while!

    2. We live outside of Boulder and have given some local restaurants a try, these are a few pleasers that have left us pleasantly satisfied:
      Bloom @ Flatirons Broomfield- we weren't impressed with their initially opening years ago, but have returned recently and been very happy with our meals.
      Magnolia Steak& Seafood- Lafayette- They share a space with Sushi Mara, so you can also order off the sushi menu. It really is a little gem!
      Khow Thai- Broomfield -sit down version of the boulder take out location.
      Huckleberry-Louisville - we mainly dine for breakfast there.

      13 Replies
      1. re: eatplaylove

        Some people like SoBo Bistro in the Table Mesa Shopping Center (Broadway side). Meg Tilton reviewed it in the Friday section of this week's CAMERA, noting that it is expensive.

        Somebody just told me about a new Indian or Nepalese (I think) restaraunt on Table Mesa Road, east of Broadway and just west of US 36 (and also west of where the McDonald's was). The shopping center is on the south side of Table Mesa, set back from the road. The person who told me wasn't really specific about directions and didn't remember the exact name, but I suppose if you just drive around the little commercial building, you'll find it.

        Not new but 20 years old is the 14th Street Bar & Grill on the Pearl Street Mall. We went there y'day for a late lunch to celebrate an ailing friend's birthday -- perhaps his last. I hadn't been there for years, and I'd forgotten how pleasant it is. No knock-out food, but good and consistent. Reasonable prices too.

        I also have not yet been to Bimbamboo on Pearl, east of the Mall. I wasnt to say somewhere around 16th Street. Multi-Asian menu (some pho, some Thai, some other) that actually looked quite interesting.

        1. re: ClaireWalter

          Claire, there's a new Nepalese restaurant on Table Mesa in the space originally occupied by Rudi's many year's ago. Since then, that space has seen several restaurants come and go. The owners of this Nepalese place are the former manager and the former chef from Narayan's in the Meadows.

          Actually, does not bode well. Although I thought that the food at Narayan's was OK, the service and management was horrific. I ordered take-out several times and each order was either wrong or missing something. Actually, wherever I take out food these days, I make a point of checking it item by item. Narayan's was absolutley the worst at being accurate. Since I live in the mountains, there's no quick run back to the restaurant for a fix. My last time and I mean my LAST time there, I was in a rush and didn't do my usual check. Got home and they had *forgotten* to include the naan. I was not happy, called and let them know and that was my last association with them. Since the same inept people now own the new place, I doubt that I'll try it.

          Just had a dynamite dinner again at Brasserie 1010. I used to think that Kelly Kingford made the absolute best bouillabaise but the current chef is better! New things on the menu, too. Mobbed on Thursday night but worth the wait.

          1. re: dogbreath

            Dogbreath - I'm sure that's the same place that my friend recommended. Narayan's was around so many years ago (and so many meals ago) that I can barely remember it -- other than "small."

            Speaking of Kelly Kingford, have you any idea where she went after 4580?

            1. re: ClaireWalter

              The Chinese/Vietnamese Cheers, in the Diagonal Plaza, that struggling shopping strip at 28th and Iris, is now serving Indian food. I thought that's where the Narayan's folks went next, but perhaps I am thinking of the owners, not the chef.

              1. re: ClaireWalter

                Claire, I seem to recall reading that Kelly Kingsford eventually landed at Radda Trattoria but I can't vouch for that. Quite honestly, since Matthew Jansen's over the top arrogant remarks about Boulder food in last year's New York Times article, I can't bring myself to eat at either of his restaurants. That's just the way I am!

                1. re: dogbreath

                  If you want to find restaurants to dine in where the owners and exec chefs all have massive self-esteem problems, then you will have a hard time finding a place to eat. :) In the NYT article, Matthew said, "Boulder's restaurant scene is night and day different from 10 years ago" and "You could ski or mountain bike, but you had to cook at home." His quotes sounded worse because they came right after the journalist's opening paragraph that included statements about how Boulderites used to have to eat lentil mush.

                  I'm not sure how his quotes are over-the-top. I think dining in Boulder IS different from how it was 10 years ago. The quote about cooking at home may sound a little disrespectful to veteran chefs when taken out of context, yes, but have you chatted with him to find out if this media representation based on two sound bites is reality? I've met people who were nothing like the way they came across in the press, and I've grown to like people who gave me an initial bad first impression.

                  It's not like he said, "I taught that amateur John Platt how to cook 30 years ago!" or "The Monettes have a secret Two Buck Chuck collection in the cellar of the Flagstaff House!" That would be my idea of over-the-top quotes.

                  1. re: rlm

                    Actually it was Matthew Jansen who made the statement about Boulderites eating lentil mush. Something about how there were no decent restaurants until the influx of east and west coast urbanites. And he graciously saved us with his arrival and the opening of Mateo. He seemed to forget about John Platt, John Bizzarro, Mark Monette, James Mazzio, etc. etc. Having been in Boulder since 1968 I've seen great changes but I remember eating pretty damn well even before Mateo.

                    1. re: dogbreath

                      No, it was not Matthew Jansen who made that statement. The article is still online here:
                      The line about "mush like overcooked lentils" and the article's premise of how the "influx of urbanites" from NY and CA have modified the dining scene is from journalist Michelle Auerbach, a chef herself who has lived in Boulder for the last 11 years. For the record, Matthew grew up in Boulder, worked at Laudisio, and graduated from CU. And the owners of the other restaurants in the article (Frasca and The Kitchen) are not from NY or CA originally either. Hugo Matheson of The Kitchen is from England, Bobby Stuckey of Frasca is from Arizona and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca is Canadian (and his first gig was in the "glamorous coastal city" of St. Louis).

              2. re: dogbreath

                We ate at Brasserie once back in the summer. The food was awful and the service was worse. Is it worth trying again?

                1. re: lavendula

                  I love French food and wine, but I have never been a huge fan of Brasserie 1010 (although the croque madame for brunch is fine indeed). I had a bad coq au vin there once that put me off of the place (although this was when K.K. was still the chef so it's been a while). I see that they're serving Long Family Farms pork belly now alongside their duckie (and a myriad of sins can be forgiven over piggy and duck confit from where I stand). I'm just a little skittish about giving them another whirl unless someone can give very pointed recommendations as to what to order and why.

                  1. re: rlm

                    We have had good experiences and mediocre ones at Brasserie 1010, but the last couple of times I've felt as if I've discovered the secret: go for brunch and order the Hideaway Salad: romaine leaves, bacon, toast, a couple of wedges of crisp potato, a couple of fat anchovies (not the salted kind you mince into your caesar dressing), parmesan, all topped with a fried egg. All that for six bucks. They have great croissants there, too. And it was great twice in a row. (I must add that everyone else had varying luck with their dishes.)

                    1. re: vanillagrrl

                      The sad thing is that we find we have to have these "tricks" & "secrets" with so many restaurants - good for lunch or brunch only, only order this or that - a consistent restaurant is so hard to find these days.

                2. re: dogbreath

                  Has anyone tried the Nepalese restaurant? What is it called?

            2. After reading these replies and recs - I would go with SoBo. Its not as expensive as The Kitchen or the likes... but better... it is worth the money in the sense of quality. The food is amazing, the wine list is eclectic & I think the most expensive bottle I saw was in the low $80s with several ones offered in the 20-30 range. I love Aji but it offers only one style of food, Radda is over-rated in my mind, try something new is my advice ...

              2 Replies
              1. re: vafeed

                I am going to try Sobo, thanks :)

                We ate a Bimbamboo a couple of times. The food is actually really good. I recc. the Moroccan Tomato Soup and the bread plate. Be prepared for a looong wait though - the service is super slow and frantic at the same time - yikes!

                1. re: vafeed

                  Tried SoBo tonight. Superb. Service was top notch, everything was delicious. They have 2 vegetarian options that are not listed on the menu, just to let the secret out on that one. I had the vegan dish - a curried bunch of root veggies over quinoa. It was very good. Not amazing, but tasty and well executed. The beet salad with feta was more stimulating and an excellent starter. Pheasant special was the best my BF had every had. Nice! So happy to have a new place in Boulder. Keep the reccs coming PLEASE!

                2. Has anyone tried Rioja in Denver? I hear good things.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lavendula

                    Rioja is one of the top places in Denver. One of their hands-down best starters for dinner is the fresh bacon (cardamom spiced pork belly, madras curry scented fresh garbanzo bean puree) appetizer. I love how you can get small or large portions of any of the pastas (so you can sample a couple if you have a hard time deciding). I worship the artichoke tortelloni and saffron fettuccine. Both of those pastas typically also appear on the weekend brunch menu, and the lamb burgers and breakfast burritos and rioja benedicts are excellent then as well.

                    1. re: lavendula

                      I work downtown Denver and try to visit Rioja at least once a month for lunch. Its consistent and the service is top notch. I don't have a favorite item, because everything becomes my new favorite the minute I try it.

                    2. Have you made a trip (or two) to Longmont? We are actually starting to get some very nice restaurants here! A few of my favorites:

                      Two Dog Diner - Very upscale diner food. I had scrambled eggs with venison sausage one morning. I think they are now open all day, but breakfast and lunch for sure. Its in Prospect.

                      SugarBeet - New American, dinner only. High quality, local ingredients, seasonal menu. They have a strange location, but have done a great job with the atmosphere. Its a small, cosy, romantic place. Reservations are an absolute must!

                      Sushi Hana - I'm not a sushi fan myself so I've only had the cooked items. Shrimp Tempura, Pork Tonkatsu, Miso soup, all delicious! They have also done a nice job with the interior, though the exterior still looks a lot like Long John Silvers.

                      Terroir - Brand new, similar to SugarBeet (local, seasonal ingredients), but I think the food is a little more inventive. Sadly the atmosphere isn't great (reminds me of a bowling alley) but the food is terrific. I had fresh pasta with duck confit that was to die for.

                      Snow Mountain Creamery - Great ice cream. I think this is better then Glacier.

                      I'm sure there are others but those are my current favorites. There is also Mumtaz in Lafayette - greek "fast" food. They have an awesome, keep the vampires away, garlic sauce. They are only open until 6pm.
                      In Louisville Empire just opened. I haven't been there yet, but it looks like a good bet.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: frisbeesage

                        I've been to the Two Dog Diner -- and yes, "upscale diner food" is a good way to describe it. Or, as my husband calls it, "yuppified diner food." I view that as a compliment. :-)

                        Ditto on Sugarbeet. When we were there a couple of months ago, they were getting ready to expanded into adjacent space, so they do have a following.

                        When it's eat-outdoors weather again, Matini's Bistro at Terry and Sixth is really pleasant. I've only been there once for a group event, so didn't get a chance to order fr the menu, but I liked the ambience. Big old Victorian on a large lot w/ old trees.