I fell in love with Cracovia this week.Then, a few days later, I fell in love all over again with the schnitzel and potato pancakes and green chile at Hospoda. So is it that I'm some kind of restaurant slut, going all head over heels for any joint that catches my eye? Or do I just have a weakness for the heavy-handed Eastern European flavors that both these places excel at capturing?
Personally, I think I'm just a grub slut. But the lure of Eastern European food is undeniable. For more restaurants that do interesting things with potatoes, potatoes, potatoes and ham, keep reading.
1) Cafe Berlin, 323 14th Street. Smoked pork chops with apples, a half-dozen different kinds of schnitzel, potato pancakes and beer -- all served in a downtown restaurant with a beer-hall vibe.
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2) Sobo 151, 151 South Broadway. Yeah, it's mostly a karaoke and hockey bar, but look past the chicken wings and check out the end of the menu for a small but impressive list of sauerkraut soup, bratwurst and authentic Czeckoslovakian dinners.
3) Westfalen Hof, 32138 Highway 72, Golden. This restaurant is a museum of kitsch, an Austro-German wonderland of Old World knickknackery. Eating here is like mainlining shlock, like dining inside a cuckoo clock -- one that smells faintly of beer and boiled cabbage and echoes with oompah music drifting down from hidden speakers. But damn if Westfalen Hof doesn't serve some of the finest koeniginpastetchen and bunter salatteller you're going to find this side of Kapfenberg.
4) Golden Europe, 6620 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada. You're darn Teuton! Golden Europe offeres the greatest hits of German-Hungarian-Polish-Czechoslovakian cuisine.
5) Red Square Euro Bistro, 1512 Larimer Street. A little bit west of Eastern Europe, but still in the same ballpark. Red Square specializes in traditional Russian food mixed with a hit of Euro moderne. Think pelmeni and stroganoff on one side, paprika-braised Wagyu vol-au-vent on the other.