Denver Report: Bistro Vendome & Snooze breakfast; Tamayo dinner
Just back from a couple of days in lovely Colorado and, having benefited greatly from a few CH strings on places to go, I wanted to contribute back to the community.
At the urging of many on this board, we prioritized this for the first breakfast stop. Short walk from the hotel and sounded like it'd really impress on the food dimension which, after all, is what most matters, right?
Top line: the food was very good but the attitude really detracted. We showed up at around 10am on Sunday. About half of the tables outside on the patio were occupied and NONE of the tables inside were; deserted. We approached the hostess as walk-ins and the attitude she radiated couldn't have been topped by most pretentiousness of Jimmy Choo saleswomen in NY or Hong Kong. It was like the scene out of "Meet the Parents" when the airport gate agent makes Ben Stiller wait until other passenger groups are called to board before admitting him...despite the fact noone else is visible anywhere in the terminal. That's what this hostess did to us, explaining that they had "quite a few reservations and had to make sure they had enough tables." Of course, while saying this we noticed several "Walk In" slots on the computer terminal at her stand. She even maddeningly suggested we consider their "other restaurant, Rioja, just across the street which usually isn't as busy." Are you kidding me?
Thus relegated to the bar, we ordered some lattes and croissants. The barman was friendly but we were so scarred by the experience with the hostess it was hard to fully appreciate him. We sensed he wasn't a big fan of the hostess either. Croissants are sourced from a local bakery; respectable as was the coffee. After half an hour at the bar and with the restaurant still mostly empty and after witnessing another walk-in ushered right to a table, we lashed back and were finally shown to a small table. There we ordered ouefs benedict and a side of bacon. All very good but not exceptional enough to make up for the hostess. Hostess aside (bad eggs everywhere I suppose), the menu is somewhat limited but, for the most part reliable. All told, disappointing. What a difference between Vendome and a place like Kitchen in Boulder, which is great in all respects.
We were really suprised at how difficult it was to find a good spot for dinner on a Sunday night. This seemed different in Denver than what I'm used to on the coasts, where Monday is the more typical restaurant closing day. We'd wanted to try a place like 9thDoor or Barolo Grill but all closed.
Tamayo was good but surprisingly lacked imagination given it's a Sandoval restaurant (or maybe because it is? I'm not as familiar with his places.). A pork shoulder dish with corn puree was tasty and prepared to order properly. The special rib eye with shrimp (Mexican restaurant, right?) was also good but like many in restaurants across the land. Can't really say anything bad about Tamayo other than it fails to really make a mark that would drive raves or name recollection a few weeks after the fact for an out of town visitor. If you're stuck for a decent meal downtown on a Sunday night, it meets the need but probably wouldn't get my nod any other day of the week.
Much more enjoyable than Vendome for breakfast. The eggs benedict was as good if not better and we appreciated the local egg sourcing promoted on the menu. Pancakes with cherries were delicious and I always give extra credit to breakfast places that offer real maple syrup as Snooze does. A friend ordered the huevos rancheros, which were also very good. Reading up on Snooze beforehand, I was a little uncertain because the "fun" aspect was emphasized very heavily. Generally speaking, places praised for fun environments or edgy decor fall short on the important thing: the food. But not true here. Snooze delivers what is probably one of Denver's best breakfasts. Oh, very good coffee from Guatemala (replete with a nice story of how the owners source it themselves) served.
Nice report. Your thoughts and observations resonate very well with my experiences so you could very well pass for a native :-) We can't both be wrong...
Thanks for the report! Snooty staff can really ruin a meal.
At Bistro One (new place on South Broadway) the other night our server was hyper-smiley and enthusiastic almost to the point of annoyance ("Well played, my friends!"), but I decided I just needed to smother my inner cynic and be smiley right back.
I'll take perky over surly any day.
You should email them and make them aware of the lack of service. I'm sure they would like to know as there are many many other choices in Denver for breakfast and it appears they lost a potential repeat customer....the same thing happened to us at Duo. Horrible service + good food does not equal happiness.
Couldn't agree more on the service opinions. Normally I'd talk to the manager on duty before leaving when something like that happens but, probably because I was only in town for a couple of days, let it slide. Turnover rates are so high in the industry in lower paying jobs, can't imagine she'll be there very long anyway.
Thanks again to everyone who posts on this board and provided such great input we relied on whilst in town.