No. 41: Shredded Bison at Tocabe American Indian Eatery
Part of the fun of fast-casual dining is that the setup often allows customers to mix and match ingredients to customize meals to their liking. Tocabe's menu offers a variety of proteins that can be heaped onto light and fluffy fry bread to make an Indian taco or onto tortilla chips for Medicine Wheal nachos. At the flagship eatery in the Berkeley neighborhood, you can also order stuffed fry bread, an empanada-like configuration that makes for great carry-out. And now that Tocabe has a second location in Greenwood Village, there's also grilled bannock bread (at that location only), which comes in somewhere between a thick flour tortilla, an over-sized pita and an extra-floppy pizza crust.
But no matter which style we choose, our favorite "hunter" selection is the shredded bison. The meat is slow-cooked until it's falling apart but with enough texture to keep it from seeming mushy. Each bite is also exceptionally juicy and bursting with flavor. Notes of cumin and chile ground the bison in the Southwestern tradition, while the intensity of the bison flavor magnified by slow braising makes it a meat lover's marvel.
And like the best fast-casual joints, Tocabe offers a number of toppings with which to adorn your bison, but we recommend restraint: A little chile verde to brighten the dish and some hominy salsa for added texture are all that's needed, above and beyond the base of Tocabe's creamy stewed beans. Of the three choices (pinto, black or chili beans), we recommend the pinto to go with the bison so as not to overwhelm the flavor of the shredded meat. If you find yourself in the south Denver suburbs, the bannock bread is worth the trip and is grilled to order so that it's steamy, fresh and imbued with smoky flavor from fire. But we get it; that fry bread is almost impossible to pass up too.
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In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're been loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city before the issue hits the streets on March 26. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta
No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant
No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class
No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch
No. 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa
No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's
No.94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle
No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus
No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar
No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria
No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co.
No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo
No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den
No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City
No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia
No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top
No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall
No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico
No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine
No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana
No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria
No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee
No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's
No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie
No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde
No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones
No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe
No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn
No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium
No. 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale
No. 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill
No. 69: Tahini Cauliflower from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
No. 68: The Ham and Cheese Tartita from Maria Empanada
No. 67: Ronnie's Favorite from Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli
No. 66: Shoo-fly Pie from the Long i Pie Shop
No. 65: Czech Potato Pancakes at Sobo 151
No. 64: Fried Chicken at the Post Brewing Co.
No. 63: Braised Brisket Sandwich at Masterpiece Delicatessen
No. 62: The Scotch Egg from Argyll Whisky Beer
No. 61: Butternut Squash Ravioli at DiFranco's
No. 60: Sesame Balls at Vinh Xuong Bakery
No. 59: Curry Puffs at Suvipa Thai Food
No. 58: Diavola Pizza at Pizzeria Locale
No. 57: Chorizo Breakfast Stew at DJ's 9th Avenue Cafe
No. 56: The Rare Beast Sandwich at Salt & Grinder
No. 55: 48-Hour Short Ribs at Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery
No. 54: Marrow Bone Brulee at Mercantile Dining & Provision
No. 53: Prawns and Pork Belly at Blackbelly Market
No. 52: Belgian Waffles from Waffle Up
No. 51: Nashville Hot Chicken at Lou's Food Bar
No. 50: Breakfast Burrito from Chickee's Lil Kitchen
No. 49: Monkfish and Romanesco at TAG
No. 48: Cabeza Tacos at Taqueria El Trompito
No. 47: Pupusas Revueltas at Pupuseria San Salvador
No. 46: Sesame Pockets at Golden Plate II
No. 45: Tuna Mousse at Cart-Driver
No. 44: Tavern Tots at the Highland Tavern
No. 43: Carne Asada Fries at North County
No. 42: Pho at Wonderbowl