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Best Mex on 38th? (DEN)

I know it's quite the row; any recs? We checked out that new bistro Intrigue and were quite charmed (post on blog, link in profile), but I felt a little guilty what with so many promising-looking Mexican places around there. I know Jalisco has gotten some raves here—is it sitdown or counter service? What else? Not counting Little Anita's—I know people like it but I'd rather start with mom-and-pops.

Also, does anyone do sour-cream chicken enchiladas like you find in NM or is that not so much a Denver thing?

E.g., from Charlie's Front Door in ABQ:


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  1. P.S.—I'm also wondering about El Tejado on So. Broadway; some friends want to go for Sunday brunch. I'm thinking I can expect to have fun but I shouldn't get too excited. Am I about right? Totally wrong?

    Thanks again!

    2 Replies
    1. re: tatamagouche

      I've never had brunch there, but have had lunch several times. Good, not great, green chile. I like their crispy rellenos and the carnitas are also very good. I don't know why, but there have been Denver police officers dining there every time I have visited. Curious to see if that holds true for brunch.

      1. re: tatamagouche

        I've always enjoyed El Tejado. The green chile is good but not the best. I do like the refried bean. My favorite is the pork roast smothered with green chile. Also the snapper or trout is very good. Sunday's they have a mariachi band which can be fun and loud or just annoying, depending on how you're feeling.

      2. We like Tacos Jalisco, especially for breakfast. It is a dine-in restaurant with limited parking. We usually end up parking on the street.
        We are going to be on that side of town tomorrow and I think that we will try El Tejado. Let you know what we think.
        Also you might want to try El Paraiso on Harlan St. just south of I-70. The entrees served on little grills at the table are really good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Pampatz

          Ah, thanks, do report back re El Tejado!

          1. re: tatamagouche

            Absolutely second the recommendation for El Paraiso (4690 Harlan St.). Their parrilladas and molcajetes are life-changing.

            1. re: gastronaughty

              Wow, now that I Google it, that place sounds terrific. Thanks guys!

        2. TTMG- Being a former resident of Highlands we got to know quite a few spots with mixed results in that area but keep in mind my data is 2-3 years old now in most respects.

          Places to love:
          *The Original Chubbys- greasy and good institution for take out
          *Tacos Jalisco- I know it's blasphemous to say so but I prefer this place to
          Tacos de Mexico although it's really really busy and that can be a huge headache. It's sit down.
          *Los Carboncitos- homemade tortillas (huaraches) are fabulous
          *Jack and Grill on Federal is a keeper
          *Playa de Oro is a true gem too- Michoacan (sp?) styled food. great place for breakfast.
          *Rosa Linda on 33rd for posole and menudo
          *La Casita on 44th/Lowell for good chile and tamales
          *Taqueria Patzcuaro- data VERY old here but I loved it ~8 years ago ("why
          didn't you go back"?) I don't have a good answer other than the fact that I
          LOVE Jalisco.

          Places to avoid:
          *Julia's Blackbird on 32nd- I know a ton of folks love it and the food can be good and decidedly original in Denver where most Mexican menus are carbon copies of every other menu but I find the place irritating as the food is frequently bland, over priced and the service is consistently clueless and/or rude. I get the feeling the place is in love with itself.
          *Las Palmas on Federal (although they make a great brick-red salsa with a nice bite)
          *El Padrino on Federal near I-70. Wildly inconsistent. Multiple visits as I
          lived less than a block from here.
          *Luna's- unpleasant experiences!

          As far as your question about pseudo-suizas like you showed at Charlies.. I know of nobody serving something like that but I want to thank you for making me insanely crave something I can't have. You b@st!rd. I shorted out a keyboard drooling on it looking at that picture. I've had Enchilada suizas but they are delicate and basically a cheese fondue sauce on top of chicken/spinach enchiladas. This dish at Charlie's looks like suiza's just-got-out-of-prison tatooed cousin. I can just taste the mingling of chile and sour cream. good lord! gimmme!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: e_bone

            Got it! Thanks so much for this!
            I'm on my way to NM and Charlie's this weekend, but I'm hitting Jalisco next week!

          2. Tried El Tejado for lunch the other day. At noon the parking lot was full. Service was quick and efficient. The decor was that of an inexpensive family owned Mexican restaurant.

            Chips were made on premises but were not hot. Salsa was bright red, cold and spicy. Two of us ate two baskets of chips and three bowls of salsa.
            I had a combo plate-Tex-Mex tamal, cheese enchilada, crispy chili relleno with mild green chili sauce and a refried bean tostada. Everything except the tostada was very good. Tostada was just so-so.

            DH had a really excellent meal - Tacos de Papas. Three freshly fried corn tortillas filled with seasoned pan-fried potatoes, a half-round slice of onion, tomato and Cotija cheese. Then the tacos were covered with a watery tomato sauce. In Mexico this sauce is commonly used on torta for a dish called torta ahumada. Messy, but terrific.

            The menu had a breakfast section that looked really good. Some of the menu items were typical to most Mexican restaurants but there were a few that were Colima-style. One in particular, that I didn't try, was Enchiladas Dulcer. They were enchiladas with a sweet dark mole sauce. Waitress said that the sauce was really very sweet.

            Overall we would rate El Tejado has a 7.5 to 8.

            RE: Sour Cream enchiladas. Haven't been to Satire Lounge on Colfax in a couple of years, but they used to have sour cream enchiladas. Satire is one of Pete K.....'s (can't spell his last name) restaurants on E. Colfax. We like all of his restaurants, but especially Satire and Gyro Place.

            Enjoy your trip to N.M. I'm headed to Houston and Austin for a long weekend. I see BBQ and shrimp in my immediate future.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pampatz

              Wow, thanks! That totally surpasses my expectations!

              Well, glad you're getting real BBQ. As I just posted on my blog, rlm & I met for some grub at Big Hoss and we were sorely disappointed in the pulled pork.

              P.S. rlm also had the andouille sausage, which didn't seem much more appealing.