By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
Jax owner Dave Query has been putting in face (and kitchen) time at the month-old Lola(1469 South Pearl Street), the coastal Mexican restaurant in which he's partnered with former Jax chef Jamey Fader. With its emphasis on fresh ingredients, Lola's already changed its menu three times, has picked up fans with its extensive tequila selection, and could be open for lunch as early as this week. I'm curious to see how the mid-day menu will compare with the reasonably priced fare on the board after five.
Opal opened just two weeks ago at 100 East Ninth Avenue, in the former home of Radex, and it's now serving lunch, too. But then, Opal has three chefs to keep busy: Miki Hashimoto (of Japon), Jimmy Tajima (most recently of Nobu in Las Vegas) and Duy Pham (formerly of Tante Louise) all share the kitchen. What's that they say about too many cooks spoiling the sushi...?
Pham won raves from everyone in town for his AAA four-diamond and Mobil four-star French cooking at Tante Louise (4900 East Colfax) but left there almost four months ago for a sabbatical in his native Vietnam, according to Corky Douglass, owner and host at Tante Louise. Marlo Hix, who was a sous chef at Tante before she moved on to the Grouse Mountain Grill in Vail and the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, has taken Pham's place behind the burners and -- because of her history with this venerable French establishment -- the transition has been smooth as Normandy butter, Douglass reports.
Leftovers: Say goodbye to Tony's(2401 Blake Street), which briefly occupied the old home of the Flying Dog. Tony's was a joint that brought out the Wisconsin cheesehead in all of us and even won a Best of Denver award this past spring for its fried cheese curds. Now where am I going to get my fill of Schlitz and chips?
And don't hold your breath for Cielo, another "upscale Mexican" joint that was reportedly opening in mid-September in the old Denver Buffalo Company, at 1109 Lincoln Street. The renovation work looks nowhere near complete, and when I e-mailed owner Curt Sims (who also owns Lime, at 1424 Larimer Street) for a status report, I got this response: "We are not even close. I will decide, by the end of the week, whether we can open this year or not..."