Five restaurant concepts I'd love to see in Denver

Five restaurant concepts I'd love to see in Denver
Nopalito

I did some traveling this summer, and I used each trip as an opportunity to eat my way through a city. Frequently, I'd note, with smug superiority, that we do certain things just as well -- or better -- in Denver. But there were also moments when I was gullet-deep in some delicious morsel and I couldn't help but wonder, why, exactly, don't we have this in Denver?

I love what's going on right now in the Denver restaurant scene, and I'd never suggest that what it needs is to rip off New York's delis or pizza or San Franciso's sourdough. But if you're contemplating opening something up any time soon in the Mile High City, here are five concepts worth considering:

Burmese tea leaf salad.
Burmese tea leaf salad.

5. A Burmese restaurant It took me about three bites of tea leaf salad at San Francisco's Burma Superstar to fall in love with Burmese cuisine, which had previously been completely foreign to me. And after samusa soup, curry noodles and pumpkin pork stew, I was totally hooked. Hey, I'd even take a little Burmese influence on a menu at this point. (By the way, while we're at this, I've noted before that a spot serving Lao food would be rad, too.)

4. A Czech restaurant and beer hall It's a simple concept: Czech beer on draft and a menu to go with it, served at long tables in a casual atmosphere. Why? Because beer halls are fun, and schnitzels, dumplings and kolaches are delicious. I'd also take a Czech-like menu with local Czech-like beers, or a little more Central and Eastern European food in general in Denver. You know, to balance out the Western part of the continent, which is well represented.

A sexy, sexy gordita at Nopalito in San Francisco.
A sexy, sexy gordita at Nopalito in San Francisco.

3. A place that serves a sexed-up gordita I haven't had many dishes in my life that made me turn around and immediately initiate a second order, but I ate a gordita this summer that had me calling for my server before I'd even finished the last bite. It was no traditional gordita, either -- it was a sexed-up version, with two corn tortilla rounds sandwiching a peppery and voluptuous beef filling plus queso fresco, beans and a tuft of cabbage. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten in my life, but I couldn't help thinking that there's got to be a Denver chef who could do it even better.



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