Sushi Uokura
When the sheer drudgery of haggling through "low, no haggle prices," test-driving and penny-pinching gets to you, take a break. The interior of Sushi Uokura is incongruously reminiscent of the most casual of beach houses, and the sushi is excellent, without an ounce of the precious pretention that's befallen so many Denver favorites. And when you've finally hammered out an automotive deal, Sushi Uokura will be happy to pour you some premium sake. By that time, you'll have earned it.
Why a Japanese country restaurant -- not to mention Zen garden, museum and complete Japanese cultural center -- is located in this industrial part of Denver is anybody's guess. What Domo's doing here, however, is very clear: Chef/owner Gaku Homma Domo's serving the town's best Japanese food -- both authentic provincial fare and sushi -- in a setting that's a marked contrast to all the sushi-chic spots in town. Walk into those places, and you feel like you're stepping into the pages of GQ; step into Domo, and you're in another country altogether: the land of the rising sun. In the summer, you're greeted by outdoor gardens where the train whistles sounds like nightingales; in the winter, glasses of sake steam from the tables. Arigato, Domo.


Domo
Why a Japanese country restaurant -- not to mention Zen garden, museum and complete Japanese cultural center -- is located in this industrial part of Denver is anybody's guess. What Domo's doing here, however, is very clear: Chef/owner Gaku Homma Domo's serving the town's best Japanese food -- both authentic provincial fare and sushi -- in a setting that's a marked contrast to all the sushi-chic spots in town. Walk into those places, and you feel like you're stepping into the pages of GQ; step into Domo, and you're in another country altogether: the land of the rising sun. In the summer, you're greeted by outdoor gardens where the train whistles sounds like nightingales; in the winter, glasses of sake steam from the tables. Arigato, Domo.
The tiny, almost unbelievably cute Moongate Asian Grill restaurant offers a culinary exploration of Asian foods. Even a package tour of the Pacific wouldn't let you try this many cuisines -- and Moongate saves you not just the time and expense, but also the malaria shots required for such a venture. Where else can you have chicken satay and panang curry, Vietnamese egg rolls and rice bowls, tempura and udon, broccoli beef and kung pao chicken -- all under one roof? More important, where will they all taste so good?


The tiny, almost unbelievably cute Moongate Asian Grill restaurant offers a culinary exploration of Asian foods. Even a package tour of the Pacific wouldn't let you try this many cuisines -- and Moongate saves you not just the time and expense, but also the malaria shots required for such a venture. Where else can you have chicken satay and panang curry, Vietnamese egg rolls and rice bowls, tempura and udon, broccoli beef and kung pao chicken -- all under one roof? More important, where will they all taste so good?
Let's face it: Americanized Chinese is, well, Americanized Chinese. But when it's done well -- and Imperial Chinese does it very well -- it's still good food. Imperial ups the ante by recommending wines to pair with the dishes, by not hiding its meats under thick batter and molasses-sweet candy glazes, and with dining-room decor that's an elegant improvement over the usual stark strip-mall walls hung with giant backlit photos of what your kung pao might look like. You won't take any big risks here -- but you really didn't expect any, did you?


Imperial Chinese Restaurant
Let's face it: Americanized Chinese is, well, Americanized Chinese. But when it's done well -- and Imperial Chinese does it very well -- it's still good food. Imperial ups the ante by recommending wines to pair with the dishes, by not hiding its meats under thick batter and molasses-sweet candy glazes, and with dining-room decor that's an elegant improvement over the usual stark strip-mall walls hung with giant backlit photos of what your kung pao might look like. You won't take any big risks here -- but you really didn't expect any, did you?
Crack open one of the elegant, foil-wrapped cookies at Little Shanghai Cafe, and what message do you find? "Confucius say you'll keep coming back to Little Shanghai, a Denver institution for almost three decades." Oops, wrong cookie: Little Shanghai would never do anything that blatant. Instead, it keeps its customers coming back by serving quality Chinese dishes, both Americanized and authentic; offering daily specials and incredibly friendly service; and ending each meal with the town's best fortune cookies -- complete with a bonus slick of white-chocolate icing on the outside that gives added emphasis to the sweet message waiting inside.


Crack open one of the elegant, foil-wrapped cookies at Little Shanghai Cafe, and what message do you find? "Confucius say you'll keep coming back to Little Shanghai, a Denver institution for almost three decades." Oops, wrong cookie: Little Shanghai would never do anything that blatant. Instead, it keeps its customers coming back by serving quality Chinese dishes, both Americanized and authentic; offering daily specials and incredibly friendly service; and ending each meal with the town's best fortune cookies -- complete with a bonus slick of white-chocolate icing on the outside that gives added emphasis to the sweet message waiting inside.
Family-style pig's-ear salad, sauces thickened with pork blood, whole baked tilapia swimming in dark, sweet soy reduction -- if you want to eat real Chinese food, your best bet is the green menu at Ocean City. If you follow the kitchen crews from other Chinese restaurants come closing time, they'll invariably head to the parking lot of Ocean City, an unassuming spot at the corner of South Federal and Mississippi. Here crabs and lobsters are pulled from the murky live tank by the door, cheap eats are offered in reduced-size portions after 9 p.m., and while neon-lit dry-erase boards list the day's specials in Cantonese and Mandarin, have no fear: The green menu is translated into English for culinary risk-takers sick to death of the bland, candy-coated crap being passed off as Chinese food out in the 'burbs.

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