Friday, March 16, 2012

Denver Restaurant Week

Who knows how long I had lived here before I found this small little treasure. If I remember correctly my first experience with Denver Restaurant Week was back in 2008. A co-worker and I went to North. Then last year my friend Jill and I went to a few different restaurants, and this years I experienced four.

This 2 week event lets you explore Denver and all of the fantastic food it as to offer for just $52.80 per couple. The restaurants come out with pre-set menu’s usually with 3 or 4 courses, giving you a few options for each course. So no, not a full menu to chose from, but some highlights to give you a feel for the restaurant and flavor.

The first place Chris and I went to was Rodizio Grill. This was set up as a double date through one of Chris’ co-workers. Needless to say this type of restaurant isn’t my top pick. I’m not much of a red meat-eater and this place is pretty much all red meat. I’m also not a fan of eating fast. I like to eat slow. Like super slow. Enjoy my meal, enjoy the flavor of the food in my mouth. This place comes with an all you can eat salad bar that includes some starches for your meat. Then with a flip of a coin type thing on your table you get bombarded with people coming up to your table giving you a serving of whatever meat is on their carving board. You get a lot of food very quickly, and it’s a lot to keep up with.
Overall, yes the food was good. But the rush of food coming onto my plate just wasn’t a big highlight for me.
Would I go back?: No, April. Yes, Chris.

The second place was The Coral Room in Highlands. This specific neighborhood in Denver is so cute! I’m really looking forward to showing Chris this area when the weather is warmer and you can enjoy walking outside. This restaurant was my pick. Chris and I took my friend Michelle when she was in town a few weeks ago. Very nice restaurant, and excellent meal! A place like this is what 5280 week is all about. I can remember exactly what I had. When we arrived it was still happy hour, so in addition to our first course we got some additional appetizers to share. Classic fried calamari and coconut tempura white prawns. Both of these had different sauces that accommodated the food beautifully. So delicious! For my main entrĂ©e I had the trout. So tasty, and just the right portion. Dessert was bread pudding with cranberries! Seriously so good.
Would I go back?: Yes, April. Yes, Chris.

Third was Cru – A Wine Bar. My friend Julie and I selected this place on Larimer Square to enjoy after a hard day’s work. I picked this place because I knew Chris wouldn’t like it. This place was just ok. Super small restaurant, a great wine list (obviously), but food was just eh. Nothing really stood out. In fact I can’t even tell you what I had, and I experienced this place after dining at The Coral Room. So that right there should tell you something.
Would I go back?: No, April. No, Julie.

Last was The Palm Steakhouse. This place is a chain although not like Applebee’s. It’s a nice steakhouse right downtown, and was Chris’ pick. My man is your classic meat and potato’s type of man. So a classic steakhouse is right up his alley. Especially if you can get a nice cut of meat for somewhat cheap. Sadly, this place didn’t live up to our expectations. I myself am always on the lookout for a great steakhouse just for the sole purpose of having someplace nice to bring my dad when my parents come visit. My dad is extremely picky with his restaurants and the food and overall atmosphere have to be just right for him to enjoy his dining experience. So I was hoping to enjoy this place, and hoping that the atmosphere would be one that my dad appreciates, but knowing my dad, I know he wouldn’t have liked this place. The restaurant itself is huge, and holds a lot of people. I myself felt right on top of the other two couples that were seated next to us, and the staff is just everywhere. I think their service was too good. A ton of wait staff all around just waiting to fill your water glass after you just take one sip. It was annoying. And the food? Again just ok. Chris had steak, just ok. I had the ravioli, which I did enjoy, but nothing so extravagant that I just can’t go to the Olive Garden. I think for the price it was worth it, and we are both glad that we didn’t go when the only option would have been to eat off of the full regularly priced menu. Neither one of us had a drink, so we had a somewhat decent 3 course meal for a little more sixty bucks. But had it not been restaurant week, the price probably would have been almost double, and most definitely not worth it.
Would I go back?: No, April. No, Chris.
Honorable mention goes to Cafe Colore. I've always wanted to try this cute little Italian place I see across the street from Larimer Square. My friend Sarah and I dined here last Saturday and it was so delicious and flavorful that I can't wait to go back. 5280 was sadly over, so we made our selections from the everyday menu. I myself wasn't that hungry, but still managed to eat quite a bit! We started off with the calamari. This was a little bit different, as it was not fried calamari. I would say maybe it was sauteed or possibly grilled? But it was tossed with banana peppers, linguine pasta, and a lemon butter sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. For my main course I had a side arugula salad with a peach balsamic dressing, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, and the tomato bisque soup. Are you hunger yet?, I know I am! Arugula is easily my top lettuce of choice, and a peach balsamic dressing?! Delicious! Simple flavors, but paired together it's a party in your mouth. I realize I'm get a bit cheesy about this food stuff, but wow it was seriously great. Then came dessert. Sarah and I shared the tiramisu. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts. All I can say is that this dessert was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. Home made with melted white chocolate and fresh strawberries. Wonderful.

Would I go back?: Yes, April. Yes, Sarah.

So that’s this year’s 5280 in a nutshell. I’ve heard some amazing feedback about a steakhouse down south that I plan to take Chris to next month (sshhh it’s a surprise, so don’t tell him) and I can’t wait to give it a try.
Why 5280? If you are unfamiliar with the significance of this number, let me enlighten you. 5280 feet is exactly a mile long, and where Denver sits above sea-level. Hence “The Mile High City”. And so the smart PR folks who originally thought of having Denver Restaurant Week thought it would be clever to have the price point be $52.80 per couple for your meal.

For me, this is one of the huge perks of living in a big city. Having events like this, trying new restaurants, and getting to experience different food. I absolutely love going out to eat, and trying places I’ve never been. Thankfully Denver never has a shortage of good food, or new restaurants for me to try!


reflections said...

If you find yourself by the zoo go eat at Stella's! It is across the street and down from National Jewish and has the most delicious food, Alorah and I fell in love with it!!!

Emily Foley said...

I thought Rodizio's were only in UT? My family loves Rodizio, I love their garlic mashed potatoes. Mmmm.

Peg said...

I love Restaurant week! We got home from vacation in the middle of this awesome event so we only went to one place but it was so good! We went to The Keg downtown - It's near Coors Field - it was fabulous - Super good apps, the steaks and side dishes were amazing and the desserts were so yummy. We also love Rodizio's and last year we went to Maggiano's and its super good too!

sarahlove said...

I eat slowly too. I'm usually the last person at a table and sometimes it makes me feel bad for others having to wait. New Zealand is perfect for people like us! Every meal takes forever to be served because the culture focuses on the social aspect of dining. Not good if you go hungry! I've been finding good places to eat by looking on the Urban Spoon app. Cooking at home is so much more fun!