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Lunch in Denver?

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Some friends are taking me to lunch tomorrow to celebrate my birthday and I can't for the life of me think of where I'd like to go. So far the suggestions are:

Le Central (eat there often enough that it doesn't excite me)
Sushi Sasa (we're going to LA this weekend and I'd rather have sushi there)
Rioja (probably my #1 choice on this list)
Stella (never been)

I kind of want to try something new, but I can't think of places that serve lunch.
I work in the Baker area, so anything in the downtown area works.
Thanks!

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  1. Jeez. If it were my birthday I'd opt for Pint's Pub, a tasting lunch of about 6 single malt Scotch Whiskys (out of their selection of about 250) and have one of their wimpy's. But then again, I'm weird like that.

    And, you can't find a selection of whiskys like this in L.A. or almost anywhere else for that matter, including the Chinnery Bar in the Mandarin in Hong Kong.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PitLab

      The OP mentioned work so I'm guessing he/she may not be able to partake in a liquid lunch (although Pint's does have an impressive selection).

      It's hard to go wrong with Rioja, I agree. Have you been to Osteria Marco or TAG nearby on Larimer? They are both open for lunch too.

      1. re: rlm

        Work has never stopped me from the aforementioned liquid lunch at Pint's. I find myself to be much more productive afterwards. Must be a generational thing. :)

    2. We decided to eat at TAG today, thanks for the recommendation!
      We had the Kobe Beef Sliders which were just okay. There was only a tiny amount of aioli and caramelized shallots which was disappointing since that basically made the dish. The Duck Fat Fries were delicious, they had salt and sugar sprinkled on them and were hot and crisp and tasty.
      Next we tried the Fish Tacos and they were our favorite item. I know it's kind of random to like those the best but they were amazingly flavorful. The fish was perfectly seasoned and cooked and the roasted corn salsa on top with the cotija cheese was awesome.
      Lastly we had the Seafood Potstickers w/ chili butter... they were good, nothing spectacular. The chili butter wasn't spicy at all but had good flavor.
      I tried their homemade ginger ale and it was tasty as well; fresh ginger and lime is always a winning combo. We didn't have dessert (we chose to go next door to the Market), but overall the meal was great and the space is really nice as well.

      13 Replies
      1. re: ijack

        Thanks for sharing your impressions and Happy Birthday! Did you have anything good for dessert at The Market? (I would've slinked over for some beignets at Rioja myself...)

        1. re: rlm

          We split a cream puff... they didn't have any spring fling cake, which is my favorite dessert ever!

          1. re: ijack

            How is The Market in general? Everything always looks so...junky, often in a bad way, but sometimes in a good one. Be curious, given all they sell daily, to know what the kitchen looks like.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              Rioja is so over-rated. Osteria Marco is by far the best lunch in that area. If you're around Wash Park go to Fisher Clark. It may feel weird paying $15 for a freaking sandwich but it'll be worth it.

              1. re: drl1811

                Best according to you. I think Rioja is terrific. Opinion is subjective unless you have finally developed the definitive restaurant rating phrasmer. And, $15 for a sandwich is obscene, but that's just my "opinion" because you can get fantastic sandwiches at Dish Gourmet in Boulder for half that price.

                1. re: drl1811

                  Why do you think Rioja is over-rated, drl1811. On your trips there, what have you ordered that you found disappointing? I really like the two other places you mentioned so I'm just curious what you don't like about Rioja. Did you like Panzano when Chef Jennifer Jasinski was in the kitchen there?

                  1. re: drl1811

                    I think both Rioja & Osteria Marco are terrific. But, like rlm, I'd like to know more about how you arrived at your opinion of Rioja, drl1811? Hard to understand where you're coming from without some details.

                  2. re: tatamagouche

                    The Market has outrageious chocolate chip cookies.

                    1. re: PitLab

                      Meaning good? It's usually the baked goods that look decent. The salads and stuff look like 9 parts Miracle Whip to 1 part anything else.

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        Sorry. I should have said outrageously good and spelled outrageous correctly. The sandwiches and other stuff that I've tried have been nothing special. But those cookies..................

                    2. re: tatamagouche

                      I can only comment on their baked goods because I've never had a salad or sandwich there. That said, their desserts are amazing. Seriously, amazing. Their Spring Fling Cake is to die for, it's zucchini cake with a cream cheese filling and fruit and it manages to be sweet and decadent without being overly so (like you can eat a giant piece without feeling sick). I've also tried a couple different chocolate cakes that were awesome as well. It's definitely worth a visit :)