Best Mexican Dish in a Non-Mexican Restaurant

Parlour Bar and Grill

Now that the flavors of Old Mexico have made their indelible mark on the tastes of American gourmands, it's no surprise that south-of-the-border influences keep showing up in the darnedest places -- resulting in some pretty damned bad dishes. But the Parlour cooked up a winner with its blue-corn-tortilla shrimp enchiladas served with salsa verde, chile-lime cream, Monterey Jack cheese and chunky mango salsa.


Best Mexican Dish in a Non-Mexican Restaurant

Parlour Bar and Grill

Now that the flavors of Old Mexico have made their indelible mark on the tastes of American gourmands, it's no surprise that south-of-the-border influences keep showing up in the darnedest places -- resulting in some pretty damned bad dishes. But the Parlour cooked up a winner with its blue-corn-tortilla shrimp enchiladas served with salsa verde, chile-lime cream, Monterey Jack cheese and chunky mango salsa.
As good as any you'd find in New Mexico -- and better than most -- the green chile at Jack-n-Grill is a work of commendable simplicity. Green chiles from Socorro are melded with salt, pepper, tomatoes, garlic and cubed pork to create the perfect topper for any of the restaurant's entrees. If you've been raised on the gloppy, gravy-like chile you find at most of Denver's Mexican restaurants, New Mexico's version is a real switch. But your tastebuds will quickly adjust -- and once you've had Jack's, you'll never go back.


As good as any you'd find in New Mexico -- and better than most -- the green chile at Jack-n-Grill is a work of commendable simplicity. Green chiles from Socorro are melded with salt, pepper, tomatoes, garlic and cubed pork to create the perfect topper for any of the restaurant's entrees. If you've been raised on the gloppy, gravy-like chile you find at most of Denver's Mexican restaurants, New Mexico's version is a real switch. But your tastebuds will quickly adjust -- and once you've had Jack's, you'll never go back.
Ah, Benny's, how do we love thee? From your sprawling expanse of dining rooms to your potent margaritas to your gringo-friendly menu, it's no wonder you pack 'em in from morning to night. Straddling the fence between the old-world Mexican of Chihuahua and the modern culinary horrors of Taco Bell and squeeze-bottle salsa, you stand firm, giving legions of hungry Denverites Mexican food with the Rocky Mountain twist they crave. In particular, we love you for your green chile. There's nothing better for burning off a low-grade hangover than a plate of thick, almost stew-like verde with its big chunks of chewy pork and hotter-than-hell afterburn. Give us a couple of tortillas, maybe a side of chewy chicharrones, and we're ready to face the worst the world has to throw at us. We love ya, Benny's. Don't ever change.


Ah, Benny's, how do we love thee? From your sprawling expanse of dining rooms to your potent margaritas to your gringo-friendly menu, it's no wonder you pack 'em in from morning to night. Straddling the fence between the old-world Mexican of Chihuahua and the modern culinary horrors of Taco Bell and squeeze-bottle salsa, you stand firm, giving legions of hungry Denverites Mexican food with the Rocky Mountain twist they crave. In particular, we love you for your green chile. There's nothing better for burning off a low-grade hangover than a plate of thick, almost stew-like verde with its big chunks of chewy pork and hotter-than-hell afterburn. Give us a couple of tortillas, maybe a side of chewy chicharrones, and we're ready to face the worst the world has to throw at us. We love ya, Benny's. Don't ever change.
For decades, El Taco de México has been the place to go in Denver for a real taste of Old Mexico. It's a gathering place for the Spanish-speaking community, an after-church destination for big bowls of menudo, a hot spot for wasted musicians looking for some quick grub after the gig, and a jumping lunch joint that attracts a generous cross-section of Denver diners. The big menu, which runs the whole length of the long counter, details offerings as tame as tacos al carbón and chicken fajitas, but also offers some peasant classics like the aforementioned menudo (an excellent version, thick and spicy and served with a half-dozen sides in tiny three-footed bowls), and tacos made with cheek meat and brains. The small army of deadly serious ladies working in the big, open kitchen pound out hundreds of hot, solid meals a day using spice mixes, recipes, mops and marinades straight out of an abuelita's playbook. This stuff puts the Mark Millers and Bobby Flays of the world to shame, and it's as close as you're gonna get to authentic Mexican cuisine without crossing international borders.
El Taco De Mexico
Courtesy El Taco de Mexico Facebook
For decades, El Taco de México has been the place to go in Denver for a real taste of Old Mexico. It's a gathering place for the Spanish-speaking community, an after-church destination for big bowls of menudo, a hot spot for wasted musicians looking for some quick grub after the gig, and a jumping lunch joint that attracts a generous cross-section of Denver diners. The big menu, which runs the whole length of the long counter, details offerings as tame as tacos al carbón and chicken fajitas, but also offers some peasant classics like the aforementioned menudo (an excellent version, thick and spicy and served with a half-dozen sides in tiny three-footed bowls), and tacos made with cheek meat and brains. The small army of deadly serious ladies working in the big, open kitchen pound out hundreds of hot, solid meals a day using spice mixes, recipes, mops and marinades straight out of an abuelita's playbook. This stuff puts the Mark Millers and Bobby Flays of the world to shame, and it's as close as you're gonna get to authentic Mexican cuisine without crossing international borders.
Mmm...botanas. If there's any better bar food than tapas, it's botanas -- the little bites and appetizers served with firewater all over Mexico proper. At Tamayo -- Richard Sandoval's upscale Larimer Square homage to the Mexican Riviera of his youth -- you can sample the flavors of Acapulco and beyond for free during the hora feliz (happy hour) that runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and then, emboldened by a couple of sharp nips at the fancy-pants margarita menu, dive deeper into this rich culinary territory with dinner. Tamayo is only expensive when compared with other Mexican restaurants in town, but with entrees running in the twenty-dollar range, some people tend to get spooked. Rather than pay two bucks for a squishy enchilada all glopped up with Cheez Whiz somewhere else, though, we'd rather save up our nickels and dimes for tacos de camarón, with shrimp sautéed in achiote paste and a black-bean puree, or the costilla de cordero -- rack of lamb, marinated in adobo and huitlacoche (a corn fungus that tastes much better than it sounds), then roasted and served with wild-mushroom risotto and sweet potatoes. Tamayo also does a wicked mahi-mahi ceviche, offers a three-course prix fixe lunch menu in under sixty minutes for $16.95, and puts out beautiful plates that would have done the late Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo (after whom both the Denver and Palm Beach locations were named) proud.


Tamayo
Matt Ritscher
Mmm...botanas. If there's any better bar food than tapas, it's botanas -- the little bites and appetizers served with firewater all over Mexico proper. At Tamayo -- Richard Sandoval's upscale Larimer Square homage to the Mexican Riviera of his youth -- you can sample the flavors of Acapulco and beyond for free during the hora feliz (happy hour) that runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and then, emboldened by a couple of sharp nips at the fancy-pants margarita menu, dive deeper into this rich culinary territory with dinner. Tamayo is only expensive when compared with other Mexican restaurants in town, but with entrees running in the twenty-dollar range, some people tend to get spooked. Rather than pay two bucks for a squishy enchilada all glopped up with Cheez Whiz somewhere else, though, we'd rather save up our nickels and dimes for tacos de camarón, with shrimp sautéed in achiote paste and a black-bean puree, or the costilla de cordero -- rack of lamb, marinated in adobo and huitlacoche (a corn fungus that tastes much better than it sounds), then roasted and served with wild-mushroom risotto and sweet potatoes. Tamayo also does a wicked mahi-mahi ceviche, offers a three-course prix fixe lunch menu in under sixty minutes for $16.95, and puts out beautiful plates that would have done the late Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo (after whom both the Denver and Palm Beach locations were named) proud.

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