Aurora's restaurant scene may not be on the cutting edge of national food trends or garnering acclaim for its food "concepts" and bar "programs," but the sprawling city has long been an international zone for cuisines not common in Denver. Competition is fierce and multiple restaurants come and go in the same strip-mall locations before customers use their dollars to vote for the best. Two locations have turned over recently: the former Korean-Cajun sports bar Dancing Crab is nowK BBQ
, while the address that once housed Shead's Rib & Fish Hut (the last restaurant outpost of the family famous for M & D's Barbecue) is now home to Southern food specialistCatfish King
K BBQ is under the same ownership as Seoul BBQ (which also has a second location in Northglenn), but offers a twist on the Korean barbecue setup that lets you cook your own entree on a hotplate in the center of your table: the restaurant is also a marketplace with prominent display coolers where guests can select meats from a wide range of pre-portioned raw and marinated cuts. The interior has been toned down somewhat from the garish decor of the Dancing Crab, but there's still plenty of visual drama and multiple TVs mounted above booths and tables.
Open for less than three weeks, Catfish King serves, you guessed it, fried catfish and hushpuppies. But owner Larry "Angelo" Washington and his crew are also dishing up Southern and soul-food staples like fried whiting, barbecue pork and beef ribs (as well as chicken, briskets and links), chili burgers and a variety of desserts like cobbler and sweet potato pie. Catfish King is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Keep reading for more photos of K BBQ and Catfish King.
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Continue for photos of K BBQ.