This is me jumping up and down in excitement. This is me rubbing my hands with glee.
Yeah, sure, 250 Steele Street has a serious curse on it. Like a Curse of the Mummy-style curse. Abandon hope all ye who open a restaurant here. This space has swallowed more restaurants than I have chicken wings (well, almost...), but that doesn't stop Denver's brave restaurateurs from trying and trying again.
Ondo's is just going to be the newest incarnation. But the reason I'm so excited? It's gonna be a real tapas restaurant, brought to town by a couple who really know their tapas: Curt and Deicy Steinbecker, trained at the Escuela de Cocina Luis Irizar and big fans of the Spanish bar snacks and peasant grub that kicked off the whole "small plates" revolution of a few years back and fizzled when every single chef in the world tried to jump on the bandwagon.
Still, I am a man who likes a return to form, who enjoys a look back towards purity of expression. And from what I can tell, that's what Ondo's is going to be about. The Steinbeckers moved from Spain to Denver in 2008 with the intention of raising their daughter in the Mountain West and opening a restaurant that would feature the cuisine of Spain and the Basque country that they loved. And I couldn't be happier to hear it.
I was never much of a fan of small plates, having always seen the movement for what it was -- little more than an excuse for chefs and owners to make plates smaller and smaller, to offer less and less food, while still keeping their prices high. But tapas? I do love tapas. Croquettas and bacalao, pulpo and pincho and zorza...I can't wait.
There's no word yet on precisely what the Steinbeckers will be including on their menus (three boards: appetizers, hot tapas and cold tapas), but the incomplete website for the restaurant does say that it'll all be very Spanish, with recipes taken from the years the two of them spent living and traveling through Spain.
The opening is currently scheduled for fall 2009. Do you think it would be weird if I started camping out in front of the place now?
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.