Yo, Philadelphians know that most "Philly-style" steaks are crap. Gourmet steaks loaded with fancy veggies served on a toasted baguette may be what we'd like to think they're eating in the City of Brotherly Love, but they're not. They're devouring crumbly grilled meat, American or Provolone cheese, and maybe some fried onions or peppers piled high on a soft, chewy roll. And at Taste of Philly, which is owned by some Pennsylvania transplants, they know that. Their uncomplicated steaks and cheese ring true with diners from the Delaware Valley. In Philly, a cheesesteak rivalry still rages between Pat's and Geno's. But in Denver, Taste of Philly takes the prize.


Yo, Philadelphians know that most "Philly-style" steaks are crap. Gourmet steaks loaded with fancy veggies served on a toasted baguette may be what we'd like to think they're eating in the City of Brotherly Love, but they're not. They're devouring crumbly grilled meat, American or Provolone cheese, and maybe some fried onions or peppers piled high on a soft, chewy roll. And at Taste of Philly, which is owned by some Pennsylvania transplants, they know that. Their uncomplicated steaks and cheese ring true with diners from the Delaware Valley. In Philly, a cheesesteak rivalry still rages between Pat's and Geno's. But in Denver, Taste of Philly takes the prize.
Prepare to meat your maker. In some circles, a dinner at Morton's of Chicago is considered a reasonable sacrifice to the gods, a way to thank them for your good luck. Drop a few hundred clams on a chunk crabmeat cocktail, on a perfectly cooked Porterhouse steak, on a potato bigger than your head, on a chocolate soufflé -- you're crediting your karma account at the same time you're downing some very good food. Morton's gives testimony to the power of a great steak, and the downtown restaurant is our favorite place to worship. From the cozy bar (get there early and enjoy a few gratis steak sandwiches) to the plush booths deep in the back of the intimate dining room, from the morgue cart-presentation of the menu offerings to the last sweep of the crumb catcher, a meal at Morton's is the gift that keeps on giving.
Morton's the Steakhouse
Courtesy of Morton's
Prepare to meat your maker. In some circles, a dinner at Morton's of Chicago is considered a reasonable sacrifice to the gods, a way to thank them for your good luck. Drop a few hundred clams on a chunk crabmeat cocktail, on a perfectly cooked Porterhouse steak, on a potato bigger than your head, on a chocolate soufflé -- you're crediting your karma account at the same time you're downing some very good food. Morton's gives testimony to the power of a great steak, and the downtown restaurant is our favorite place to worship. From the cozy bar (get there early and enjoy a few gratis steak sandwiches) to the plush booths deep in the back of the intimate dining room, from the morgue cart-presentation of the menu offerings to the last sweep of the crumb catcher, a meal at Morton's is the gift that keeps on giving.
Although the obliging staffers are happy to serve you anything off Sullivan's menu in the clubby, boxing-themed bar, there's plenty to chew on in the bar menu alone. The cheeseburger, steak sandwich and blackened New York strip are particularly worthy of your attention: big, big portions of quality meat, cooked as requested, served with the ideal spud sides, and just the thing to munch as you listen to a jazz combo or dish the dirt with your companions.


Although the obliging staffers are happy to serve you anything off Sullivan's menu in the clubby, boxing-themed bar, there's plenty to chew on in the bar menu alone. The cheeseburger, steak sandwich and blackened New York strip are particularly worthy of your attention: big, big portions of quality meat, cooked as requested, served with the ideal spud sides, and just the thing to munch as you listen to a jazz combo or dish the dirt with your companions.
Sometimes simple is best. Sometimes getting right to the point is better than a whole lot of fancy-pants messing around. And when you're talking about seafood, this is almost always the case. At Lola, Dave Query and Jamey Fader (both also associated with Jax, a longtime Best of Denver fave) have taken this wisdom to heart and come up with a coastal Mexico-themed restaurant where sea critters are the stars. Tender salmon mopped with a barbecue sauce that enhances but never overpowers the fresh, delicate flavor of the fish; rock shrimp ceviche kicked up with candy-sweet mango; a rustic Spanish estofada, a deeply but gently seasoned stew in which the huge shrimp and a half-lobster split like a biology illustration take center stage -- these are just a few of the straightforward and rough-edged dishes that draw huge crowds to Lola. It's nothing fancy -- not artsy or overly gussied up, just good food that speaks for itself.


Jax Fish House
Jax Fish House
Sometimes simple is best. Sometimes getting right to the point is better than a whole lot of fancy-pants messing around. And when you're talking about seafood, this is almost always the case. At Lola, Dave Query and Jamey Fader (both also associated with Jax, a longtime Best of Denver fave) have taken this wisdom to heart and come up with a coastal Mexico-themed restaurant where sea critters are the stars. Tender salmon mopped with a barbecue sauce that enhances but never overpowers the fresh, delicate flavor of the fish; rock shrimp ceviche kicked up with candy-sweet mango; a rustic Spanish estofada, a deeply but gently seasoned stew in which the huge shrimp and a half-lobster split like a biology illustration take center stage -- these are just a few of the straightforward and rough-edged dishes that draw huge crowds to Lola. It's nothing fancy -- not artsy or overly gussied up, just good food that speaks for itself.
"Running a successful fish house is like juggling ice cubes on a hot day," says Jax chef/owner Dave Query in the preface to the new Jax Fish House Book of Fish. And while he might be right -- doing fresh fish properly in a state that doesn't even border a state that borders an ocean -- can be rough, Query and co-author Jill Zeh Richter give away a lot of the house secrets in this comprehensive guide to all things tasty and aquatic. In addition to roughly a hundred recipes (which include saucing directions and plating hints for the Martha Stewart in all of us) culled from Jax menus past and present, the Book of Fish is also a treasure chest of food history, lore and terminology. For example, who knew that before industrialization of the area around the Caspian Sea, sturgeon used to live up to 200 years -- and that now all caviar must be processed through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species? Or that many species of grouper undergo sex-reversal in middle age, producing sperm when they're young and eggs when they get older? For food nerds, this is all pretty cool stuff. And for those who don't particularly care about the sexual peculiarities of their dinner and just want to know how to cook it, the recipes are simple, straightforward, brightly illustrated and accompanied by directions for making dozens of sides and sauces.


"Running a successful fish house is like juggling ice cubes on a hot day," says Jax chef/owner Dave Query in the preface to the new Jax Fish House Book of Fish. And while he might be right -- doing fresh fish properly in a state that doesn't even border a state that borders an ocean -- can be rough, Query and co-author Jill Zeh Richter give away a lot of the house secrets in this comprehensive guide to all things tasty and aquatic. In addition to roughly a hundred recipes (which include saucing directions and plating hints for the Martha Stewart in all of us) culled from Jax menus past and present, the Book of Fish is also a treasure chest of food history, lore and terminology. For example, who knew that before industrialization of the area around the Caspian Sea, sturgeon used to live up to 200 years -- and that now all caviar must be processed through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species? Or that many species of grouper undergo sex-reversal in middle age, producing sperm when they're young and eggs when they get older? For food nerds, this is all pretty cool stuff. And for those who don't particularly care about the sexual peculiarities of their dinner and just want to know how to cook it, the recipes are simple, straightforward, brightly illustrated and accompanied by directions for making dozens of sides and sauces.

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