100 Favorite Dishes: Charred Tahini Cauliflower at Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
No. 69 Charred Tahini Cauliflower at Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs2148 Larimer Street 720-746-9355
Jim Pettinger, the "Biker Jim" behind two restaurants, a cart and a food truck, didn't get to where he is by serving vegetables. He didn't impress celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain with a salad. He did it with sausages made with such game meats as duck, reindeer, rattlesnake and boar, all topped with a squiggle of cream cheese and Coca-Cola-caramelized onions. So when it comes to plain old cauliflower, Pettinger applies the same logic as he does with the rest of the menu, serving something that tastes so good you don't care whether it's yak or one of the most boring and ubiquitous vegetables around.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
Steamed or boiled, cauliflower is the bane of many a child's existence. Roasted, it becomes at least pleasant and palatable to adults. At Biker Jim's, the white florets get blistered and blackened over the same grill that gives the dogs their boost of flavor.
Jim Pettinger outside his restaurant in the Ballpark neighborhood.
The florets are then tossed in a creamy, nutty tahini sauce that marries the charbroiled flavor with the natural bitterness of the cauliflower. At one time the menu description read "stolen from Udi's...don't tell them," but the dish is a Biker Jim's classic now and can stand on its own merits. And in case you just can't get enough veggies, it comes with a simple salad drizzled with house-made, roasted tomato vinaigrette. Not bad for a joint that has garnered national attention for all things meaty.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're already loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next nine months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co. No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium No 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale No 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.