You wouldn't think a sports bar would have a sporting chance of serving the town's best fried chicken -- but Caldonia's scores with one high-flying bird. And this kitchen does more than chicken right; it's been serving up respectable, Oklahoma-style barbecue for over two decades. The fried chicken carries the flavor of the deep South -- its wet and juicy meat is covered by a crispy, crunchy shell that glows golden with just the right amount of grease. An order brings you a half-bird's worth of parts along with steamed broccoli, a fat mound of skin-on, country-style mashed potatoes smothered in peppery gravy and a sugar-kissed cornbread muffin. After downing all that, you'll need to join one of Caldonia's pick-up volleyball games -- but unlike the other players, you might want to keep most of your clothes on.
The folks at Calypso are pulling their fun Caribbean nightclub/jerk joint together on a wing and a prayer -- but what a wing! Four bucks buys ten of the flash-fried little appendages, which come plain or slicked with your choice of jerk seasonings or hot sauce, or a combination of the three. The jerk coating is our favorite, a sweet, fiery mixture that soaks into the meat -- but the hot's a hot number, too, with enough buttery richness to keep it from being all about pepper sauce. (Celery sticks and ranch or blue-cheese dressing come on the side, in case you need to cool off.) Beneath the sauce, the skin on these wings is crisp and chewy, while the meat below that is moist and flavorful. And if you're in the mood to take a flyer on something new, the "Bahamas curry tuna splash" appetizer will knock you straight to Jamaica. Chef Desmond French, a native of Kingston, makes the dip from curried tuna (not the canned kind, either), raisins, sugar and celery, and provides celery sticks and carrots for getting the mess into your mouth. Good stuff, mon.
The folks at Calypso are pulling their fun Caribbean nightclub/jerk joint together on a wing and a prayer -- but what a wing! Four bucks buys ten of the flash-fried little appendages, which come plain or slicked with your choice of jerk seasonings or hot sauce, or a combination of the three. The jerk coating is our favorite, a sweet, fiery mixture that soaks into the meat -- but the hot's a hot number, too, with enough buttery richness to keep it from being all about pepper sauce. (Celery sticks and ranch or blue-cheese dressing come on the side, in case you need to cool off.) Beneath the sauce, the skin on these wings is crisp and chewy, while the meat below that is moist and flavorful. And if you're in the mood to take a flyer on something new, the "Bahamas curry tuna splash" appetizer will knock you straight to Jamaica. Chef Desmond French, a native of Kingston, makes the dip from curried tuna (not the canned kind, either), raisins, sugar and celery, and provides celery sticks and carrots for getting the mess into your mouth. Good stuff, mon.
Little India
Westword
The elegant, aptly named Little India does many things well, including a goodies-packed $5.95 lunch buffet and the saag paneer, a sophisticated take on creamed spinach. But the tandoori Cornish game hen is really something to crow about. Each little hen is marinated in yogurt that's been infused with garlic and ginger, then placed in the clay oven for a mesquite smoking that soaks into the meat; the high heat of the tandoor proves ideal for sealing in the juices. The sky may not be falling, but your inhibitions will the second you rip through the bird's skin to get at that juicy, flavorful meat.
The elegant, aptly named Little India does many things well, including a goodies-packed $5.95 lunch buffet and the saag paneer, a sophisticated take on creamed spinach. But the tandoori Cornish game hen is really something to crow about. Each little hen is marinated in yogurt that's been infused with garlic and ginger, then placed in the clay oven for a mesquite smoking that soaks into the meat; the high heat of the tandoor proves ideal for sealing in the juices. The sky may not be falling, but your inhibitions will the second you rip through the bird's skin to get at that juicy, flavorful meat.
The Denver Dry Tea Room is just a memory, the top-floor space where for decades businessmen chewed each other up while ladies serenely lunched now a hip, $1.5 million loft. Assuming that its new owner, Rutt Bridges, doesn't plan to throw a citywide open house anytime soon, though, it's still possible to get a taste of the old place. That's because the Blue House, a quaint, weekday lunch-only spot, features the tearoom's famous chicken a la king -- a perfect puff pastry filled with chunks of chicken swimming in a rich cream sauce -- as a frequent special. Who wants to eat like a millionaire?
The Denver Dry Tea Room is just a memory, the top-floor space where for decades businessmen chewed each other up while ladies serenely lunched now a hip, $1.5 million loft. Assuming that its new owner, Rutt Bridges, doesn't plan to throw a citywide open house anytime soon, though, it's still possible to get a taste of the old place. That's because the Blue House, a quaint, weekday lunch-only spot, features the tearoom's famous chicken a la king -- a perfect puff pastry filled with chunks of chicken swimming in a rich cream sauce -- as a frequent special. Who wants to eat like a millionaire?
In the space once occupied by Pour La France! sits Seven 30 South, a revamped concept from PLF's owners that shifts the focus away from breakfast and lunch and toward a more sophisticated dining experience. Chef Kip Wotanowicz has created a menu that matches the tony new interior, one that features a number of innovative offerings. Tops on the list is the fried calamari: squid steak cut into French-fry-like strips, then lightly coated with fine breadcrumbs and fried into crunchy-edged, creamy-centered snack stix. Two sauces -- a roasted-garlic aioli and a spicy marinara -- are provided for dipping, and they're just the thing to spark the mild calamari meat. After you've sunk your teeth into these babies, you'll kiss off the competition's rubbery rings forever.

In the space once occupied by Pour La France! sits Seven 30 South, a revamped concept from PLF's owners that shifts the focus away from breakfast and lunch and toward a more sophisticated dining experience. Chef Kip Wotanowicz has created a menu that matches the tony new interior, one that features a number of innovative offerings. Tops on the list is the fried calamari: squid steak cut into French-fry-like strips, then lightly coated with fine breadcrumbs and fried into crunchy-edged, creamy-centered snack stix. Two sauces -- a roasted-garlic aioli and a spicy marinara -- are provided for dipping, and they're just the thing to spark the mild calamari meat. After you've sunk your teeth into these babies, you'll kiss off the competition's rubbery rings forever.

Oh, brother! We have no bones to pick with the O'Sullivans, who continue to turn out the best ribs in town at their Brothers BBQ. They came to Denver from England via the South, working on their barbecue along the way. For example, they took the peppery, vinegary Memphis sauce and refined it until the vinegar is nothing but a faint tartness; they enchanced the sweet Kansas City sauce with more smoke to deepen the flavor. But they haven't changed anything about the way they dry-rub and slow-smoke the St. Louis-cut ribs, because that's what makes the meat so juicy and intense, so addictive you want to tear at it until every last shred is gone. Their baked beans are the best in town, too. Extra points to the brothers for making everyone feel like barbecue pits are native to Britain -- no small feat.

Readers' choice: Brothers BBQ

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