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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 > Oysters

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.

Absolute1
Absolute1

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

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.

steveville
steveville

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

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...

 
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