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Is China Jade one of the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the country?

For the record, I'll eat just about anything, including a tarantula (which I did in the presence of my editor). I have no issues with trying, at least once, bits and pieces from an animal's stomach compartments or abdominal cavities -- of which omasum is a part -- but the person I was with wasn't so sure. So we went back and forth -- how bad could it be? -- and eventually skipped it, which I'm now regretting because I dig freaky goods and if that photo (the one you can't stop staring at) is any indication of what the kitchen at China Jade was planning to put on my plate, then I totally missed out.

And that's the beauty of this place. The Chinese menu -- "cuminum cyminum" lamb (brilliant, by the way), pickled cabbage with pork intestines, Szechuan-style eel, housemade wontons puddled in chile oil, Shanghai-style smoked fish and Tianjin-style lo mein (equally brilliant) -- is unbelievably cool. And if you talk to the people eating here -- most of them Chinese -- they'll swear on their fortune cookies that this is the best Chinese restaurant in Denver. Better than JJ Chinese at 2500 West Alameda Avenue and better than Chopsticks, the Chinese spot at 2990 West Mississippi Avenue. That's saying a lot.

But I'm thinking that these people might be onto something because while I was deciphering the menu, I overheard someone mention that China Jade was a nominee in some contest. Actually, it's a big deal competition, one that determines the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the country.

Chinese Restaurant News launched the first awards competition in 2004 in New York. "After five years," states the website, "the annual awards competition has gained recognition and authority by American consumers; at the same time, the Top 100 awards have become a standard and goal for all restaurateurs to work towards."

The competition is open to all Asian-themed restaurants in the United States. To cast your vote for China Jade, or any of the more than 2,000 restaurants currently up for consideration, visit www.top100chineserestaurants.com/vote/list.asp.


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