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When I asked owner John Karimy why he uses so much dill, at first he said, "In my opinion, dill is very healthy and very good with seafood." Later he told me that he uses herbs and spices according to his mood, so on any given day, a dinner at his restaurant may not be so dill-treated. (Otherwise, he might consider changing the name of his place to Ocean Dill.)
Karimy, who moved to Colorado from Florida in 1993, says he wanted to provide the area with more fresh fish--and in that he succeeds. His spot is charmingly decorated, too, in a part of town that could use some charm. But Karimy needs to keep an eye on his kitchen's consistency.
5117 S. Yosemite St.
Englewood, CO 80111
Region: Southeast Denver Suburbs
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He could take a lesson from the nearby Bourbon Street Pizzabar and Grill, which knows all about the importance of consistency--and staying power. Like Ocean Grill, this place survived the Great Fire of 1995, when an "accidental electrical fire" that neither restaurant was responsible for ruined the strip mall. After repairs, Ocean Grill stayed in its original space; Bourbon Street owners Mike and Laura Brody decided to move to a bigger space at the opposite end of the plaza. They then turned the new spot into a veritable shrine to Mardi Gras. Laura designed the colorful dining areas--complete with Mardi Gras masks and New Orleans knickknacks--and directed two guys who used to work on theater sets to complete the scene.
The Brodys also decided to enlarge the menu, adding pasta and rice dishes, sandwiches and salads to their wonderful pizzas. To verify that the pizzas are indeed still wonderful, I ordered Dracula's Nightmare ($7.50), a nine-inch pie covered with roasted garlic, sliced fresh mushrooms, chunks of spicy turkey sausage and Bourbon Street's thick, slightly sweet tomato sauce. This Nightmare combo was still dreamy.
On another visit we tried the hot spinach and artichoke dip ($3.75), a fairly standard version of the appetizer that's become popular at office parties and church picnics. More interesting were the "killer onion straws" ($2.50), thin onion and jalapeno strips breaded and deep-fried, and the "great balls of fire" ($4.95), small shrimp coated in a fiery-hot breading. These are the kind of addictive munchies that would improve attendance at office parties and church picnics.
The rest of the meal continued the winning streak. An order of Thai Shrimp 'n' Coconut on rice ($8.50) brought large shrimp slicked with a mildly spicy peanut sauce and tossed with green-pepper pieces and coconut. The River Boat jambalaya ($6.95) was a decent take on the Creole classic, with the "holy trinity" (onions, celery and green peppers) cooked down with tomatoes and turkey sausage. The sausage had given the gravylike base some depth without turning it greasy; the jambalaya's bite was more flavorful than it was powerfully hot. For the spicy shrimp po' boy ($6.25), the kitchen tucked the shrimp inside a heavy coating of Cajun breading, then stuffed them into a big, dense roll and slathered on the piquant mayo dressing.
We polished off the meal with Bourbon Street's magnificent pecan pie ($3.50), as good as ever. So the only reaction I had to the new Bourbon Street was a favorable one.
Ocean Grill, 5121 South Yosemite, Greenwood Village, 796-0611. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Bourbon Street Pizzabar & Grill, 5117 South Yosemite, Greenwood Village, 721-6150. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 4:30-10 p.m. Saturday; 4:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday.
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