Prawn in sixty seconds: Singapore Grill (see review above) isn't the only place in town where you can suck out the heads of shrimp. First came the Isle of Singapore (2022 South University Boulevard), a small eatery that's won several Best of Denver awards over the past few years. Tucked away in a strip mall by the University of Denver, Isle of Singapore features dishes from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia; the restaurant has a loyal cadre of fans who swear by its inexpensive, flavorful fare. But I also love the fabulous smoothies, which are very helpful in cutting the Isle's culinary heat and even include a version made from the stinky fruit called durian.
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You won't be able to suck down any more of those great happy-hour crabcakes at Zenith (815 17th Street). After attempting to resurrect his legendary first restaurant (Zenith debuted in the Tivoli in 1987), restaurateur Kevin Taylor has closed the incarnation that had reclaimed the swell 17th Street space temporarily occupied by Brasserie Z. I'd predicted the fall of Zenith after chef Sean Yontz left last March -- he wound up at Tamayo (1400 Larimer Street) -- but wasn't happy to do so, since no one had applauded the return of Taylor's Southwestern-inspired New American fare more loudly than I. Taylor, who's been traveling a lot in the Mediterranean lately, will introduce a new concept, called Nicoise, in the space later this month. Look for a big by-the-glass wine list and a large tapas menu, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $5 per item.
Also gone is the second location of Star of India (1 Broadway), whose first spot (3102 South Parker Road in Aurora), which has earned a few Best of awards for its Indian food, is still going strong. And a Bocaza Mexican Grill outlet has also left 1 Broadway; employees at the other three locations -- 1699 South Colorado Boulevard, 1740 East 17th Avenue and 8101 East Belleview Avenue -- assure me they're doing fine. Farther south on Broadway is another casualty, the tiny Banyan Market (1645 South Broadway), a cute little deli and coffee shop that just never took off.
The metro area now has two ChopHouses, though. Last week the Boulder ChopHouse Tavern (921 Walnut Street, Boulder) opened to rave reviews, particularly regarding the atmosphere, said to be swankier than the one at the original Denver ChopHouse & Brewery (1735 19th Street), which is pretty swanky itself. Also up in Boulder, chef Seamus Feeley, most recently of Citrus (1701 Wynkoop Street), will open Mateo (1837 Pearl Street) on October 12. To get his creative juices flowing, Feeley had taken a trip to France -- where he'd been thinking about moving his family -- and wound up enjoying an extended stay there courtesy of the terrorist attack. But the world situation also convinced Feeley to stay in Colorado, where he's put together a menu that includes creative takes on provincial Southern French foods.
Meanwhile, Citrus's new chef, former Tante Louise sous chef Bruce Zalk, has introduced a new menu that's all updated fusion, listing such intriguing dishes as Brie soup with fennel croutons, and roasted duck with anise-honey glaze.