For fresh, vegetarian- and vegan-friendly Japanese food at a super-affordable price, Taki's always fills the bill. Located at 241 East Colfax Avenue along a seedy strip, Taki's has been feeding the masses for over fifteen yearsand has been a mainstay stop for my husband and his friends since high school, back when it was located across the street and known as Golden Tempura Bowl.
I've been frequenting Taki's since I moved to Denver six years ago, and while I still have two favorite dishes -- the tofu and yakisoba and the vegetable gyoza -- I've tried enough of their vegetarian options to know that you really can't go wrong, and the fact that they always supplement each dish with a nice sprinkling of seasonally appropriate vegetables means that no two entrees ever come out exactly the same.
While I love Taki's tofu and vegetable yakisoba, drenched in sweet yakisoba sauce and stir-fried up to perfection, sometimes the combo of fried noodles and fried vegetable tempura is a little heavy, so on a recent trip for lunch, I ordered up the vegetarian gyoza platter with brown rice ($5.78). Six good-sized steamed gyoza, filled with ginger-laced vegetables and served with a salty dipping sauce came with a generous portion of rice and steamed tofu and vegetables. I sometimes find the veggies and tofu dry on their own, so I often get a side of the teriyaki sauce. Add a dash of sriracha and the plate is just about perfect for my taste. On this trip, I was treated to a spoonful of a curry-like stew on the side, and my fresh veggies included edamame, cucumbers and a black bean and corn relish.
On cold days, or when I'm feeling under the weather, I often turn to Taki's miso ginger soup. For only $2.58, you can get a sixteen-ounce bowl of protein-rich broth with chunks of steamed tofu, infused with ginger that is spicy enough to open up those nasal passages and calm the winter-weary soul.
Taki's is an order-at-the-counter establishment, and while the dining room has undergone significant updating in the last few years, it still retains a little of its former faded glory, common with so many of the eateries along this stretch of Colfax. They do a brisk takeout business and offer free delivery within a certain area.
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This isn't really a spot you'd take anyone you're trying to impress, but for quick, consistently good veg-friendly food, it's still one of my favorites. It doesn't hurt that they offer beer and sake, either, and a giant Kirin will only set you back five bucks.