Meating the demand: A fixture in the Denver area for 38 years now, Emil-Lene's Sirloin House, at 16000 Smith Road in Aurora, still steaks a claim on its USDA Prime sirloins (for more on steakhouses, see Cafe, previous page). Original owner Frank Emerling died in 1990, but long before that, he'd sold the restaurant to his chef, Emil Kuchar, who a few years back sold it to his daughter and son, current owners Karen L'Anglais and Jay Lombardi. And although the place has changed meat purveyors since Frank owned the place, head chef Clyde Grable maintains that the quality remains the same. "We get the steaks here in the state," Grable says. "Everything we have is certified Prime." And eating at Emil-Lene's continues to be a good time, Grable adds. "We still have the Western theme. And the live tree is still in the middle of the dining room."
Rumor-tism: The rumor mill is running at full speed these days. First I'd heard that Barolo Grill owner Blair Taylor was selling his half of Chives American Bistro, at 1120 East Sixth Avenue. Not so, says the other Chives co-owner, general manager Brian Wood. "You know, I keep hearing that one, too," he says. "Every other week, an employee asks if somebody's selling or if the restaurant's going to be sold. Like every other restaurant in this city, Chives has a price. If somebody comes up with the right amount of money, we'll sell it. But as of right now, no one has."
It would be a bad time for the restaurant to change hands, anyway, since it's really hit its stride of late. Wood left the kitchen a year and a half ago to take over front-of-the-house operations, replacing himself with chef Patrick Markey. Chives also remodeled a bit, tweaked the menu to focus more on fine dining and expanded the already-sound wine list.
I've also been getting calls from people asking why I haven't written anything about the death of Joey "D" Donohue, who used to own deVine Cafe and then Messina's Ristorante, in the same location. "He was a great guy, and someone told me he died," one caller said. "I can't believe no one has written anything about him." Well, that's because I usually like to wait until someone is actually dead before I write about it--and Joey D doesn't qualify. "He was really, really sick for a while," says Stan Soto, manager at Napa Cafe, which took Messina's place at 2033 East Colfax. "I think that's why this thing got started. But he's very much alive, and he's doing fine."
Coffee breaks: Two java joints have come to my attention. One, Maruti Gourmet Coffee, at 12200 East Cornell Avenue in Aurora, has been around for more than a year (good news just doesn't travel that fast) and has the distinction of being the only local coffeehouse that serves Indian food--that I know of, anyway. You'll be able to afford a double latte with your samosas, since none of the food items runs more than $3.50. And in Lakewood, The Gallery Coffeehouse, at 6035 West Alameda, offers soup and sandwiches served next to an indoor waterfall. Talk about atmosphere!
Talk about no atmosphere--that's Chef's Noodle House, at 10400 East Sixth Avenue. But the food is so good it shouldn't matter. Chef/owner Billy Lam reports that business has picked up, but I'm still afraid this place won't get the attention it deserves. Can't someone offer Lam a spot that's better than an old fast-food joint at Sixth and Havana? I'd much rather revive on his beef bowl than eat another freakin' fish taco.
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