Second Helpings

Drown your sorrows in a Rio Grande margarita

At the Rio Grande last week, I watched a lawyer getting fired. There was no screaming, no tears, and it was all handled with reasonable decorum, a fairly civil proceeding between two bosses and the woman being canned, with another onlooker there as backup. But all I could keep thinking was, "Jesus, how much must your job suck that they're giving you the ax at Rio Grande?"

This week, I review D'Corazon, right across the street from the Rio Grande outpost that opened in LoDo ten years ago, a link in a homegrown chain that started back in 1986 in Fort Collins. Although I'd been to D'Corazon several times over the years, dropping in whenever I felt the need for an order of tacos, I'd always thought of the Rio as a place to drink really, really big margaritas — and not to eat. It turns out my instincts were pretty keen. From the Rio's Disney-Mexican El Resorto Magnífico interior (all bold, primary colors, stylized sunset logos and stacked Jose Cuervo cases) to the long but shallow menu (six kinds of enchiladas, three kinds of queso), there was, as Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, California, "no there there." The queso del mar tasted like something off the Cinco de Mayo apps menu at a Southern California Applebee's. And an order of chicken enchiladas brought two otherwise good tortillas, loosely wrapped around a filling of cheap white-and-dark-meat chicken, bulked out with flavorless roasted chiles, a side of dull rice, some chopped lettuce and a large side of good black beans. I appreciate it that this operation seems to worship the black bean — putting it in, on or around virtually everything — because I, too, love the frijole negra and will take it and a bunch of its friends any day over a blob of lukewarm refritos.

The Rio has a few other things going for it besides those beans. Service is quick and friendly, and there's a patio perfect for the warm days ahead. Or on any day when you get fired and you need a giant goblet of margaritas with which to drown your sorrows.