By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
Q:Are you fat? From reading your reviews, I already know you're an idiot and like using bad language to make a point, but being a restaurant critic, I have to think that you're also pretty fat. That's sad.-- MaryKay
A: I follow a vigorous exercise regimen of pint-glass curls and obsessive-compulsive pacing, watch what I eat so that I don't accidentally swallow the fork, and am pretty sure that, while I sleep, my internal organs crawl out of my body and jog around the block just to keep in shape without my permission. So idiot, yes. Foul-mouthed? Absolutely. Am I going to be doing any J. Crew catalogue modeling in the near future? Not likely. But think about this: While you're sitting there in your stinking double-wide with your twelve cats, a peg leg and a mullet, scratching out your dim-witted screeds and cruising the personals for someone into mercy-fucking the crippled and dumb, I'll be out having a fine dinner in a nice suit with a pretty girl on my arm, not concerned one bit over the calories. How's that for sad?
Q: I have three days to plan a wedding reception for my daughter. Help!-- Wilford
A: With the restaurant economy the way it is, there's almost no house in town that wouldn't bend over backward for a large party and the chance to rip off a desperate father of the bride for fifty bucks a head and a cash bar. My first suggestion: Cross your fingers as you dial hotels that might have a rare vacancy. Adam's Mark, the Brown Palace, the Oxford, the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek when it opens June 1 -- any of the city's more tony addresses are more or less designed for this kind of thing. What's more, many of Denver's hotel-catering venues boast crack kitchen staffs: the crew from McCormick's cooking at the Oxford, Bryan Moscatello's guys from Table Six handling banquet service at the Marriott, and, at Adam's Mark, the kitchen behind Bravo! Ristorante, which got a 2002 Zagat award as one of the city's best restaurants (just tell them to hold the arias).
With only three days to do this, though, you may need to find a big restaurant that can handle a large party on short notice. In Larimer Square, the Capital Grille is a good bet, as are Tamayo and Bistro Vendome, both of which have side rooms that can be booked for private parties.
Now, can I kiss the bride?
Q: What kind of wine goes best with Chinese takeout? -- Tom
A:A nice, crisp, fruity white. Failing that, Boone's Farm strawberry. The formaldehyde bouquet really complements the MSG, and it makes your teeth taste like furry SweeTarts.
Leftovers:The number-one (in revenues) company in the chain game has had a few setbacks of its own. Darden Restaurants, those lovable folks who are seeding every strip mall and boulevard on the planet with new Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters, shuttered six of its Bahama Breeze locations on May 11 in a move that sent absolutely no shockwaves whatsoever through the corridors of power. Darden owns roughly 1,300 restaurants; 38 of them are (or were) Bahama Breezes. And on the day that the closures and a concurrent $22.5 million "asset impairment" were announced, Darden's stock dropped exactly one penny. Locally, the Bahama Breeze at FlatIrons got the ax, leaving a 15,000-square-foot hole in the Big Mall consumer landscape.
Goose Sorenson and Brian Klinginsmith just picked up Robert McCarthy -- late of Mel's Restaurant & Bar, and one of my favorite pâtissières in town -- to do pastry and desserts at Soleraand at their new Ivy Cafe. While he was still at Mel's, McCarthy made me my first vodka gelee and tangerine sorbet Cosmopolitan. But the time had come for him to move on, and lucky for him -- and for all us -- Solera was right there waiting for him. Finally, Nonna's Bistro is now open at 6603 Leetsdale Drive. It's family Italian served up by a real family, the Catalanos, who've been in the restaurant business since the mid-'50s. Want a taste of Chicago Italian here in Denver? Hurry over.