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Willie G's definitely hits the right note with its seafood. Both the tempura-shrimp skewers and coconut-shrimp satays were well worth ordering. The tempura breading was airy and light, the coconut breading golden-brown and perfectly crisp — and the shrimp beneath both large and plump. The mussels were another hit; they tasted like organ meat and sea water, as they should, and I liked the fragrant, garlicky broth they'd been steamed in almost as much as the mussels themselves. The appetizer-sized portion was at least eight ounces and included toasted bread to suck up that wine sauce.

Another aroma wafting off the mall intruded on my appreciation of the mussels: the official state smell of marijuana smoke. You know you are truly a Denverite when you lean your head slightly to one side, inhale deeply and say, "Damn good weed" whenever someone walks by smoking a joint.

The contact high was enough to revive my appetite, so I took a look at the dessert menu and discovered yet another reason why people in other countries hate Americans: a chocolate layer cake stuffed with cheesecake. At $7.99 a slice, it was pricey, but there was no way I was passing up the chance to try the turducken of desserts. While waiting for Chaz to deliver it, I saw yet another heartwarming 16th Street Mall sight: two teenage goth kids, both sporting requisite raccoon eye makeup and Tripp bondage pants, one leading the other down the sidewalk on a leash attached to a collar.

The patio at Willie G's offers prime people-watching on the 16th Street Mall.
mark manger
The patio at Willie G's offers prime people-watching on the 16th Street Mall.

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Willie G's Seafood & Steaks

1585 Lawrence St.
Denver, CO 80202

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Downtown Denver

Details

Fried pickles $3
Spinach artichoke dip $3
Kobe beef sliders $5
Mussels in wine sauce $5
Tempura shrimp skewers $5
Coconut shrimp satay $5
Chocolate layer cake $7.99
Thyme Collins $6
Oysters (dozen) $17.99
Oysters Rockefeller $13.99

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But the cake soon demanded my full attention — both for the slice's enormous size and for its complexity. The cake, from Lakewood's Cake Bubbles, sandwiched layers of chocolate, white and red-velvet cake between layers of chocolate ganache, with thick, chocolate-decorated ganache icing and a layer of cheesecake right through the middle; the whole thing was drizzled with fudge sauce. Every bite seemed to put me closer and closer to the grave — but this would be a death I welcomed.

Compared to the laid-back patio, the dining room inside Willie G's seems like a different, much stuffier world, all dim track lighting, dark wood walls covered with impressionist-meets-art-deco paintings, and rows of tablecloth-draped tables. I sat down at one a few nights later for a light — but oyster-heavy — supper. The regular dinner menu is predictably pricier than the delicious, slumming happy-hour menu, but the raw, cold-water oysters on the half-shell were absolutely fresh Blue Point. I also tried the Oysters Rockefeller, the classic combo of broiled oysters, creamed spinach and a hint of anisette. They were well made, and my civilized indoor dinner was fine, even if I preferred the pedestrian barbarism — and much less expensive prices — of happy hour on the patio.

Well played, Mr. Fertitta. You've obviously learned how to appeal to both the classes and the masses. Happiness can be cheap, and I'm buying.

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11 comments
Jennburgers
Jennburgers

@Absolute1: Thank you, and I'm fun as all fuck to go out to eat with. First one seated--last one to get up.

Jennburgers
Jennburgers

@Yvonne: It's all good, soul sistah--I have my days, too.

Jennburgers
Jennburgers

@monopod: I read this link, and I've read up on Kobe beef in the past, so I get it. I'm thinking that these particular sliders were Wagyu at best, and ground beef at worst. After eating good-quality Wagyu beef, it's actually quite easy to tell when you aren't eating it again. But there is no origin-protected status for using the term "Kobe" in the U.S., so anyone can slap that label down--I wish more consumers knew this.

Absolute1
Absolute1

J-Woh, * Nicely done, no matter what Yvonne says, because: (1) "Kobe beef sliders with skinny fries" - Kobe and skinny in the same sentence is just funny. (2) "I ordered all of them" - I wanna party with you cowboy. (3) "large load of small plates" - as per (1) and (2) above (4) "official state smell of marijuana smoke" - should be in a tourism campaign (5) "the turducken of desserts" - evil genius. (6) "a light — but oyster-heavy — supper" - is there a better kind of heavy? * Agree with Steveo - you could be the new critic (and I read Jason's book, too). * Mean what you say, PattyC - key indeed, cuz she knows her shit, and she's damn funny.

Yvonne
Yvonne

Unfortuantly, I can't figure out if this is a review of the 16th St mall or Willie G's and I don't really want to know all about the ownership or flagship or whatever that part was about. of course, I am also in a bad mood. So maybe that has something to do with having to pick out the food parts and discard the rest of the review.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

She writes well ... ... a whole lot better than your Dope Critic. hth.

Jennburgers
Jennburgers

@Steveo65: You are sweetern' mah peeter!

Steveo65
Steveo65

Did I miss something? Is Jenn the new food critic? I have no problem with this choice. This is coming from someone who read Sheehan's book. Which I loved, by the way. Be gentle with me...

Absolute1
Absolute1

Um......did you just invite me out to eat?

steveville
steveville

I believe this review is for the 16th St Mall store because of the address Jenn gave above.

 
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