The List: Minor leagues
Tocabe is giving Native American cuisine its long-overdue moment.
These weekly lists are often easy to put together. I review a Mexican restaurant, I can make a list of other Mexican restaurants I love. I write about Chinese food, I can list a half-dozen other places to get good duck.
But this week? Not so much. I've been sitting here, wracking my brain trying to come up with an appropriate list to follow this week's review of Tocabe. Other Native American restaurants? Nope; there aren't any. Other successful fast-casual operations in town? It's already been done.
But then it occurred to me: What about a list of other cuisines represented by only one or two restaurants? After all, Tocabe is flying solo, bringing the flavors of the completely overlooked Native American canon to Denver -- so there have to be other joints doing the same thing, right? Bravely going where no one has gone before (or since)?
Yes. And come to find, some of these places are pretty awesome in their own right. So without further ado, I give you The List ...
Buenos Aires Pizzeria, 1319 22nd Street. Sure, we might've lost Buenos Aires Grill, but the Carrerra family's pizzeria is still going strong, offering a strong, pure hit of the mutt cuisine of Argentina. While the bizarrely international pizzas are good, it's the empanadas that really kick some serious culinary ass.
Sherpa's Adventurer Restaurant and Bar, 825 Walnut Street, Boulder. Nepali cuisine, cooked for sherpas, by sherpas, with a pretty cool ascent-of-Everest theme filling the small house on Walnut Street where this restaurant reaches new culinary heights.
Tibet's Restaurant & Bar, 321 McCaslin Boulevard, Louisville. While Sherpa's focuses on the Nepali side of things, Tibet's handles Tibetan cuisine. Both go heavy on the stews, the momo and the weird cross-section of Indian and Chinese cookery that frames the two cuisines, but Tibet's has a vibe that I've always found incredibly peaceful. Maybe it's all the prayer flags and pictures of Tibetan lamaseries that decorate the walls. Or maybe it's that the chef here once cooked for the Dali Lama.
Old Fashioned Italian Deli, 395 West Littleton Boulevard, Littleton. Yes, Buffalonian is absolutely a valid regional cuisine. And while plenty of joints claim to cook genuine Buffalo wings and at least one does Buffalo-style pizza, there's no other place in town where you can get the true taste of Buffalo's grub you find at the Old Fashioned. It also happens to serve the best hot dogs (Buffalo-style hot dogs) in the area.
House of Kabob, 2246 South Colorado Boulevard. Persian food, plus Mountain Dew and a few brief diversions into the Lebanese canon. Still, if you're looking for a fix of lamb, fool mudammas, dolmas or doogh, House of Kabob is the place you want.
Sobo 151, 151 South Broadway. Yes, Sobo 151 is essentially a sports bar. Yes, it features karoake nights and and has pool tables and offers a bunch of early '80s stand-up video games. But Sobo 151 may also be the only spot in town where a homesick Czech can find himself a bowl of zelnacka, an apartment for rent in Prague, a kielbasa-and-eggs breakfast or a plate of kure na paprice (chicken paprikash and dumplings). Oh, and if that homesick Czech just wants a plate of mozzarella sticks or a quesadilla, Sobo 151's freakish fusion kitchen can do that, too.
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