By Jonathan Shikes
By Alex Brown
By Cafe Society
By Samantha Alviani
By Lori Midson
By Mark Antonation
By Loren Lorenzo
By Nate Hemmert
In his November 4 column, Denver Post man-about-town (and Friday restaurant Dish-er) Bill Hustedtouted the paper's new Web dining hookup with US West and Dex, the alleged phone company's own man-about-town. That dashing Dex has been busy, what with loading the site with Post restaurant picks as well as links to the New York-based Zagatsurvey's regional info (including its take on New Saigon, reviewed this week); the new service even kicked off with a celebrity grape stomp last Thursday.
But Dex's time would have been better spent stomping out some of the loser listings that appeared on the site that same day. For starters, didn't anyone notice that La Coupole (one of eleven restaurants that turn up on a search of the "French" category) is deader than Charles de Gaulle? It shouldn't have been too hard for the Post's new partnership to figure out, since the paper ran a review of La Brasserie Café, La Coupole's replacement at 2191 Arapahoe Street, the very next day. (Post reviewer Diane Gould liked it better than we did; check out "Table for None" in our October 28 issue.) The "American" category includes Moondance, even though it disappeared from 1626 Market Street many moons ago. As for that American listing for Brasserie Z --gee, seems to us we read a few stories in the dailies covering Kevin Taylor's decision to close his trendy but disappointing (from a business standpoint) bistro at 815 17th Street and reopen it September 1 as a reincarnated Zenith.That was the big-hit restaurant that really made Taylor's reputation; its old home, at 1735 Lawrence (before then, it was located atop the Tivoli), is now occupied by Pacific Star. (And that, of course, is the Bobby Rifkinsupper club that's celebrating its first anniversary this month with $20 Shanghai lobster tail, a signature dish created by chef Sean Brasel.)
No need to delve too deeply into the other oddities of the US West site (visit it at www.denvertaste.com -- if you dare), but the Post's newly elevated vice president of "interactive media," Eric Grilly -- who happens to be the son of publisher Gerald Grilly -- might want to assign some other interactive relative to do some fast Web cleanup. For example, Dex's "Chicken" category contains a whopping one restaurant -- Woody's Wings, which may do chicken right, but isn't doing it in Denver from that address at 1450 West 104th, no matter what the listing says. As for the dueling "India" and "East Indian" categories: Clicking on the former takes you to thirteen restaurants, the latter to precisely one -- Taj Mahal, reportedly at 777 East 17th Avenue. But that link in a local Indian chain gave up the ghost months ago.
630 S. Federal Blvd.
Denver, CO 80219
Region: Southwest Denver
It's not easy keeping up with the metro area's volatile dining scene, of course. In addition to Taj Mahal, whose 17th Avenue spot must surely be the biggest black hole in town (remember the Peacock? Majorca?), recent purges from our own Cafe capsules include longtime stalwart Pour la France!, whose space at 730 South University Boulevard is now occupied by Seven 30 South. The fire's gone out at the Bangkok Grill, too, once at 4978 Leetsdale. And even the original El Taco De Mexicoon Sheridan Boulevard is shuttered -- although El Taco's second outlet, at 714 Santa Fe Drive, is better than ever.
Birth announcements: Restaurants may close, but many more keep coming. Aubergine, a regular Best of Denver award-winner at 225 East Seventh Avenue, is about to give birth to a sibling -- this one a coffeeshop whose name is still unknown. While chef/owner Sean Kellypromises that the new spot at 719 East Seventeenth Avenue will have "modest" goals and a "casual" approach, he also notes that "our aim is to please." He certainly hits the mark at Aubergine.
Also on the modest side is Goo Ga La Doo's, at 1623A California Street. The deli owned by Steveand Kristin Seelert offers sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats and fresh bread from Breadworks, along with homemade soups and salads. Then there's D.C. Deli Cafe, which opened last month at 275 South Logan. General manager Rich Priestpromises "74 sandwiches -- and that's just the start."
On the immodest side, more chain monsters are about to swallow up more of Denver's dining dollars. First and foremost will be Ed Debevic's, coming mid-month to 2000 South Colorado Boulevard: Think Gunther Toody's-style diner food, with Dick's Last Resortattitude.
Everyone's a food critic: In Washington, D.C., last week, Mayor Wellington Webblikened Denver to a jelly doughnut. Unlike so many urban areas that are empty in the center, he said, Denver's doughnut is just oozing with such goodies as a new football stadium, a new basketball-hockey arena, a new baseball stadium, a new aquarium and "new people who have moved into the city."
Make that a jelly doughnut sprinkled with mixed nuts.