Nine Restaurant Mash-Ups for the Adventurous Denver Diner
A Cajun-style boil with Vietnamese mussels at Vietnam Bay.
Earlier this week, we explored two restaurants on South Parker Road that served food influenced by international culinary migrations: Kin Restaurant specializes in Somali cooking with touches of Italian, while the P & Y Cafe serves Chinese noodle dishes and stir-fries that have made their way to Aurora by way of Korea. But Denver has plenty of other eateries where the fusions and collisions are a little odder, bringing disparate traditions together on gloriously goofy menus where you might find Buffalo hot wings, Nepalese dumplings or Laotian sausage all sharing space. Here are eight restaurants in the Denver area with oddball menu combos.
Lao sausage at the Asian Cajun.
1. The Asian Cajun
2400 West Alameda Avenue
Whether you're craving a Louisiana-style crawfish boil with mounds of steaming crustaceans caked with spices or a brimming basin of pho topped with fragrant Vietnamese basil, the Asian Cajun can satisfy your needs. The menu is fairly evenly distributed between straight-up Cajun dishes — like gumbo or étouffée — and Southeast Asian specialties (the lemongrass-heavy Lao sausage is a must), so you won't find any truly bizarre Creole/Vietnamese mash-ups, but you can still grab a plate of fried alligator as a starter before moving on to Korean barbecued short ribs.
Boba smoothies go with anything - even savory crepes.
2. Boba & Crepes
4085 East Mississippi Avenue
A sweet crepe snack accompanied by a fruity smoothie doesn't seem too strange, especially when considering the French influence on the culinary landscape of Vietnam, where boba teas are bountiful. But how about an Italian Supreme crepe stuffed with salami, bacon, ham and Swiss cheese chased with a red-bean milk tea? Your tongue will have jet lag after the transcontinental tastebud tour.
Bangers and mash from the English side of the menu at the British Bulldog.
3. The British Bulldog
2052 Stout Street
Neighborhood pubs with Indian food are not unusual in London, where Brits have adopted chicken tikka masala as the national dish. In Denver, though, a bar pouring a full range of Fuller's and celebrating soccer (or footie, as its Anglophile punters call it) is a rarity, even without the additional confusion of messing with standard sports-bar snacks. But the British Bulldog melds American, English and Pakistani on one menu, with bangers and mash, aloo gosht and quesadillas all living in multicultural harmony. And for fanciful fusion, check out the Punjabi wings or the Greco-Indian sandwich: a steamy pita packed with Peshawari chicken, bacon and feta cheese.
4. Cherry Creek Harbor
13740 East Quincy Avenue, Aurora
Aurora has a reputation for diverse international cuisine, but most of the time you have to hit several restaurants to get the kind of sampling you'll find under one roof at Cherry Creek Harbor. On a Friday night, live jazz sets the mood for plates from the Bayou Cafe, the supper club's Cajun/Creole half, but that saxophone solo could then segue into saag paneer or shish kabobs from Kathmandu Kitchen, the Indian/Nepalese side of the house. Either way, Cherry Creek Harbor makes for one of Aurora's oddest nights out.
Cowbobas just moved to a new spot on Federal Boulevard this year.
940 South Federal Blvd
Cheap steaks and cheeseburgers on Federal Boulevard — we must be talking about the Columbine Steakhouse, right? Well, you can't get bubble tea at the Columbine. For that kind of combo, you'll need to head a few blocks south to Cowbobas, which just relocated from a tiny spot at the corner of Federal and East Evans Avenue, where it had been serving beef and bobas for nearly a decade.
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