Cafe Brazil- 44th and Lowell.
This is one of those cases where I'm almost afraid to post because it already can be a little tight here, but hey, it's great and I have to share.
I just love this place. I was a little warned off by some negative reviews on cityyelpadvisor, but it's walking distance from our house, so on "date night", I picked this. Do make a reservation, as it's a small place, and they are highly encouraged. That said, I made the reservation for a Friday night at about noon that same day.
So, we arrive, and are quickly seated and offered the drinks menus (cocktails and a limited wine list- all south american if I recall correctly). They have a number of younger runners/bussers that keep your water and the little salsa dishes filled- I'm sorry that i don't recall the names (of the salsa or the runners), but one was spicy and thin pepper sauce (malaqueta pepper), the other a diced onion/yellow and orange bell pepper salsa that were great when mixed..... Drinks order taken, then in a few minutes we are brought the food menu.
I was a little concerned when I asked for the Mojito to have "less sugar/syrup", and was told they were pre-made.... but it was very good, and not too sweet.
We ordered the Calamari appetizer, and I know, fried Calamari is so *done*, but when it's good, it's a fun dish to share. This was very good, but all rings and no bodies. It comes with a warm herbed tomato sauce, that I expected to be like a marinara, but was thinner, and very flavorful, but mostly I dipped into the malaqueta pepper sauce (and was happily brought more).
I ordered the Cazuela Columbiana, recommended by Westword as a "top 100" dish (number 83, fyi). Description from the menu: A rich marriage of jumbo prawns and chicken breast, simmered in a spicy herbed tomato broth, with hints of coconut milk, cayenne pepper, grilled onion and gorgonzola, garnished with green onion, cucumber and Italian Parsley. Served Colombian stew style over rice.
I did get some Thai-feel there from the peppers + coconut, and it was wonderful. Prawns perfectly cooked, and the sauce was divine. I didn't detect the gorgonzola per se, but there was such a richness to the broth that I could believe it was there as a supporting player.
I was hoping that they would have the Lamb Rack (westword's # 8 fave) for the Mr., but no- actually I don't believe there was a red meat dish on the menu... He ordered the Grouper Special, that was crisp-fried on the outside, like a thin thin shell, served with rice and collards and some spicy pepper mix.
We ended up taking half of our main courses home for lunch the next day, and both held up well.
The service was attentive and relaxed at the same time, very comfortable. And, but the time we left, the place was full. They've added a bar next door which has happy hour, this will be added to the rotation soon.
4408 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80211