comments on my Denver research please
This hound from Toronto will be heading down to Denver in a couple of weeks time. Will be there from Thursday to Monday. We'll be in the Civic Centre Park area. May or may not have a car. I've been scanning the board for a few weeks now and came up with a list of places that we would like to check out:
Famous Dave's, Brother's BBQ, Sam Taylor's or M&D's for bbq
Lola, El Taco de Mexico or Taqueria Patzcuaro for mexican
Cherry Cricket, Steubens or My Brother's Bar for burgers
Racine's, Lucile's, Sam's #3, Snooze or Breakfast King for breakfast
Buckhorn Exchange for steak & game
Tom's Home Cookin' for fried chicken
If the local Denver hounds can take a look of my list and let me know your comments and recs, this Torontoian would greatly appreciate it!
As a proud former denverite I'd be happy to give you my thoughts...
First, I must warn you, I'm a vegetarian so I'm not so good on the BBQ question, but I really am not sure why you'd go to Famous Dave's unless you like chains. Also, for burgers, I am not the best, but Steuben's has a great atmosphere. The foods good, and the patio is especially fun. The parking lot is small but there is usually street parking. If you like modern vietnamese I'd suggest P17 up the street at 17th and Franklin.
Snooze is a must for breakfast. If you go on a weekend morning expect to wait (outside usually), but the food is well worth it, and their breakfast cocktails are phenom. Lola is probably your best bet for mexican. Okay, not on your list, but I would have to say that if you are staying by cap hill and have been drinking you should probably go to Benny Blanco's-it's a hole in the wall pizza place, but cheap, and incredibly good. They are at 13th and Washington I think. Also, Nine75 isn't too far of a hike from where you'll be located so I'd suggest going there for happy hour (it's at 975 Lincoln)-the drinks are strong and tastyyy. Not bad small plates specials either if they haven't changed the menu (including sliders which are supposed to be great).
Not sure if that helps-hopefully!
Mexican (traditional, not gourmet) - Tacos y Salsas (El Taco was my old fav but TyS is my new one!). It's not walkable from there though.
Burger - I had a green chile burger at Steuben's recently and wasn't that impressed - across the street at Hamburger Mary's they're better (it's a primarily gay hangout but don't worry about that!). Cherry Cricket burgers are always raved about but it's more divey.
Brekkie - Lucille's and Snooze are both fantastic but very different
Fried Chicken - Tom's is good in the daytime but they're only open for lunch and not sure they have it every day. Steuben's was rated top 3 in Denver last year I think - it's really good!
Enjoy, and be sure to come back and let us know where you went and what you thought!
Thanks for all the tips, I'm back from spending 5 lovely days in Denver. Here's a recap of my chow adventures:
Thursday night we went to Steubens. I had the fried chicken which was well cooked, juicy and moist. I liked the crispiness of the coating but found it very bland. I would prefer it with a bit more seasoning and spice. The biscuit was nice and flaky, gravy was good and the fries were done just the way I liked them, crispy and lightly salted. I would go back and try other things on the menu.
Friday morning we dropped by Sam's #3 for breakfast, actually I think we were there closer to lunch. It was very very busy. After a 20 minute wait, we were seated in the back room where the bar was. It was a dark dingy room, it didn't have any ambiance of the front room unfortunately. I had the corn beef hash and eggs which were decent and a side of mini-cakes (which were definitely not mini! much too big). They were overcooked, dense and too chewy for my liking. My friend found his corned beef burrito just average. Would not return here.
That evening we went to Buckhorn Exchange for dinner. I loved the room. So kitchy and ornate with all those heads staring down at me. Definitely not a place I would bring a vegetarian! I started with the alligator tail appetizer. It was my first time having alligator so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I can't say I'm a fan, I found it very dry, chewy and tasteless. It felt overcooked and the seafood sauce that came with it didn't help the blandness of the dish at all. I sampled my friend's fried artichoke appetizer and found them bland also. The taste of artichoke felt lost in the batter. The walnuts and mandarin oranges in the garden salad was a nice touch as well as the freshly baked bread. My rare buffalo prime rib was fantastic though, I loved how it melted in your mouth with just a hint of sweetness. It was delicious.
Saturday morning we trekked down to Lucille's for lunch. I had the shrimp po'boy, it was delicious. Just the right balance of spice in the fried shrimp seasoning, kick from the wasabi and a refresh coolness from the cucumber slices. The cajun fries were very good also. I sampled my friend's biscuit and really enjoyed it with their strawberry jam. I would definitely come back to this place when I'm in Denver next.
That night we walked to MDs for dinner. We wandered through some interesting neighbourhoods on the 4 mile walk there. My pork ribs were decent but a bit on the fatty side. I would have preferred more flavour than what came from the medium sauce only. I found the cornbread too wet for my liking. The baked beans were okay, bordering on the mushy side and the yams were just flavourless. The service was fantastic, our waiter was very entertaining and efficient. I would return for the hospitality and maybe to try their fish, they look really good at the table beside us.
On Sunday we decided to check out the Cinco de Mayo festivities at the Civic Centre park. I sampled a collection of tacos from SP Mexican Food Catering. The marinated pork one was too dry and overcooked, the pulled pork one was moist and the steak one was decent. The tortillas were undercooked and could have used a few more minutes on the grill. It was fair since I didn't have high expectations.
That night we checked out Brothers BBQ to compare. I loved the smell of smoke as soon as you walk in the door. The pork ribs were very good, nicely charred with good flavour from the rub. My favourite sauce was the sweet one. The pork shoulder was good and made better with the bbq sauce. The fries were too generic for my liking and the baked beans were good, not too mushy. I would like to go back and try their beef ribs next time to see how they compare.
On Monday, we stopped by the Delectable Egg for breakfast. I had the blueberry pancakes which were fluffy and not overcooked but they were somewhat flavorless. Even the blueberry sauce that came with it was bland. I stopped at the Market to pick up a chocolate chip muffin for the plane ride home. It looked beautiful but was dry inside. Too much cocoa and not enough chocolate flavour. I probably should have picked up a brisket sandwich from the street corner on 16th, it smelled fantastic when we walked by. Oh well, another reason to come back and sample what we missed!