Best upscale tamales (2000)

The Painted Bench

At the Painted Bench, chef Steve Rohs's duck tamales are such a marvel, with tender

duck meat playing off the sweetness of the corn, that you immediately wonder why someone didn't think of the combination before. But then, you also wonder why it took so long for Denver to get a restaurant as groovy as the Painted Bench. This at once divey and chic eatery boasts a mishmash of decorating styles that offer a little something for everyone. Much like the duck tamale appetizer, in fact, whose smooth, creamy tamal is paired with a relish of roasted corn and black beans and a chipotle-kissed chile sauce. Start with this appetizer, and you'll be in the swim.


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