The Shead family has a lot of history in the barbecue biz, but when you get right down to it, all that matters is the meat. And with that as the sole defining characteristic of good 'cue, we can confidently say that these folks know how to whip up a batch of small ends that'll have you begging for more once you've licked your fingers clean. The flavor is a cross between a thin Carolina tidewater sauce and a muscular KC-style mop, and the slow-smoked ribs are tender but solid -- none of that fall-off-the-bone baby food that some joints inexplicably brag about. The service is brisk, the dining room spare, and while you sometimes have to wait for your order to get it done right, it's worth it.
Delivery drivers are the most forgiving of God's creatures. They bring us vital suste-

nance without comment or criticism, then leave as quickly as they come. They see us at our worst -- at those moments when we're too drunk, too lazy, too miserable or too whatever to face the outside world. And the outside world would be a much more difficult thing to face without the occasional order of Chinese BBQ ribs from Szechuan Express. Far from the dinky, dried-out dog biscuits that come with most pu-pu platters, these are huge, meaty and drenched in ridiculous amounts of sticky-sweet sauce. A single order is easily a pound and a half of ribs, and a double is enough to make your standard Styro-

foam takeout box bulge. Save some for the next morning, when the ribs are even better cold. Barbecue: It's what's for breakfast.


Delivery drivers are the most forgiving of God's creatures. They bring us vital suste-

nance without comment or criticism, then leave as quickly as they come. They see us at our worst -- at those moments when we're too drunk, too lazy, too miserable or too whatever to face the outside world. And the outside world would be a much more difficult thing to face without the occasional order of Chinese BBQ ribs from Szechuan Express. Far from the dinky, dried-out dog biscuits that come with most pu-pu platters, these are huge, meaty and drenched in ridiculous amounts of sticky-sweet sauce. A single order is easily a pound and a half of ribs, and a double is enough to make your standard Styro-

foam takeout box bulge. Save some for the next morning, when the ribs are even better cold. Barbecue: It's what's for breakfast.

This town is full of celebrated burgers, but none are as worthy as the burgers served at the Stout Pub, a great neighborhood tavern that took over the space that had been the

Punch Bowl. Even a plain burger's great, but we drool over the Stout Hearty burger, your basic double stack of meat on a toasted roll with a combination of American, Swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, bleu and provolone cheeses, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bacon, guacamole, Italian sauce and chopped jalapeños. This beefy beast has the heft of a small dog, and its arrival at your table should be accompanied by a drumroll. The burger's so plump and juicy that it leaves you wondering: Is the burger named after the pub, or is the pub named after the burger?

This town is full of celebrated burgers, but none are as worthy as the burgers served at the Stout Pub, a great neighborhood tavern that took over the space that had been the

Punch Bowl. Even a plain burger's great, but we drool over the Stout Hearty burger, your basic double stack of meat on a toasted roll with a combination of American, Swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, bleu and provolone cheeses, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bacon, guacamole, Italian sauce and chopped jalapeos. This beefy beast has the heft of a small dog, and its arrival at your table should be accompanied by a drumroll. The burger's so plump and juicy that it leaves you wondering: Is the burger named after the pub, or is the pub named after the burger?

There's a lot of talk these days about the hamburgers in Manhattan out-pricing each other, but why hop a plane to taste the Big Apple's beef when we've got a perfectly elegant version right here in Denver -- and for less than $10? The Kobe beef burger at Opal -- which uses shoulder-cut American Wagyu rather than the purebred, pampered Japanese Kobe -- is served blood-warm, with only red-leaf lettuce on the soft roll to accompany the rich, fatty, roundly flavored meat. No matter how you cut it, it's the juiciest thing we've encountered between two buns.


Opal Restaurant & Lounge
There's a lot of talk these days about the hamburgers in Manhattan out-pricing each other, but why hop a plane to taste the Big Apple's beef when we've got a perfectly elegant version right here in Denver -- and for less than $10? The Kobe beef burger at Opal -- which uses shoulder-cut American Wagyu rather than the purebred, pampered Japanese Kobe -- is served blood-warm, with only red-leaf lettuce on the soft roll to accompany the rich, fatty, roundly flavored meat. No matter how you cut it, it's the juiciest thing we've encountered between two buns.
Ted Turner will be remembered for CNN, colorizing movies and the Tomahawk Chop -- but the bison burgers served at Ted's Montana Grill are his true bid for immortality. Big, juicy patties of ground bison (not buffalo) are cooked to your specs (and better specify them rare or medium rare -- this is bison, not E.coli-ridden beef), then served on soft buns with an assortment of sides and condiments. Wash your bison burger down with beer, wine (no hard liquor at Ted's) or Coke -- served in two six-ounce glass bottles. For an added dose of flavor, try the Ted's in Larimer Square, where the turn-of-the-century setting actually dates from the turn of the last century.
Ted's Montana Grill
Ted Turner will be remembered for CNN, colorizing movies and the Tomahawk Chop -- but the bison burgers served at Ted's Montana Grill are his true bid for immortality. Big, juicy patties of ground bison (not buffalo) are cooked to your specs (and better specify them rare or medium rare -- this is bison, not E.coli-ridden beef), then served on soft buns with an assortment of sides and condiments. Wash your bison burger down with beer, wine (no hard liquor at Ted's) or Coke -- served in two six-ounce glass bottles. For an added dose of flavor, try the Ted's in Larimer Square, where the turn-of-the-century setting actually dates from the turn of the last century.

Best Way to Fit as Many Meats as Possible Between Two Buns

Crown Burger

Go on. You know you want to. Forget the squawking of your self-righteous vegetarian ex-girlfriend, forget your waistline, screw PETA and just order the Royal Burger at Crown Burger. One chopped-beef patty, lettuce, tomato and "special sauce" -- that's good for a start. But add roast beef, ham, pastrami and bacon, and now we're really talking. This burger is a true carnivore's dream, wrapped up nice and neat in waxed paper for the bargain price of $4.25.


Best Of Denver®

Best Of