Cafe Society

Green Chile Smackdown, Round 2: Elway's vs. My Big Fat Greek Cafe

Even though green chile is not a traditional Mexican dish, it's a traditional dish at Mexican restaurants north of the border. It changes as it travels, thickening and becoming more hearty as it travels up towards the Canadian border. The Colorado version is thick and gooey, stuffed with pork chunks. And it is so popular, it's even becoming a traditional side in some unusual places.

We already put two local versions head to head last week. This week, we're going again, with green chile from My Big Fat Greek Cafe, at 560 South Broadway, which came highly recommended by Lori Midson (that's the one on the right of the picture, by the way), and the green chile from Elway's in Cherry Creek, which came highly recommended by Patty Calhoun (and is on the left of the picture).

Let the smackdown begin:

To me, neither of these entries really warranted the name "green chile" -- mostly because neither of them really seemed to have the unique combination of fruity sweetness and heat that is the hallmark of the humble chile pod. Both had a little kick of heat, but neither could bring the sweetness.

Further, while the version from My Big Fat Greek Cafe looked and smelled a bit more like the traditionally gloppy and lava-like Colorado verde, it was way over-spiced with black pepper. Also, it tasted a little bit like eating a green chile pudding, or perhaps an arrowroot slurry -- not the most appetizing thing in the world. And the sample from Tyler Wiard's kitchen over at Elway's? It had neither the texture, the flavor composition or the smell of anything even resembling green chile.

Which isn't to say Wiard's wasn't good, because it was. It was just different. In form, Wiard's chile reminded me almost of an East Coast chili-with-an-i -- a mess of sauce and ground meat that, to my mind, would've been excellent on a sloppy bar burger and is apparently used to sauce the house's chicken fried steak burritos (which just sound all the more excellent with this chile included).

So this week's smackdown is an easy one: Elway's takes it in a walk.