Inspired by Thailand's tri-wheeled mode of transportation, Tuk Tuk Thai Bistro escorts palates on a flavorful trot through the streets of Thailand with a delicious assortment of traditional and contemporary Thai dishes. Post-breakfast, pre-dinner patrons can select from Tuk Tuk's lunch menu of true-to-roots treats, including the drunken noodles, a boisterous combination of shrimp, bell pepper, onion, basil, and fresh rice noodles ($8.85) that is sure to delight the senses while embarrassing reserved relatives at food family reunions. The Tuk Tuk dinner menu contains many traditional tributes to Thai cooking and offers contemporary recipes such as the purple eggplant, a sultry serving of lightly battered eggplant escorted by assorted mussels, shrimp, scallops, calamari, and bell peppers, all doused in Tuk Tuk's basil-flourished house sauce ($14). No matter the time of day, flavor-craving customers can chow down on a fresh selection of sushi, featuring the Godzilla roll ($10), a monstrous amalgamation of salmon, tuna, red spanner, yellowtail, and green onion struggling to break free from a miso dressing drizzle and the weight of societal expectations.
• For $10, you get $20 worth of Asian cuisine during lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. • For $20, you get $40 worth of Asian cuisine during dinner from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. Diners who redeem their Groupon Thursday, Friday, or Saturday after 8:30 p.m. receive complimentary edamame and sake.
In order to consistently impress guests, the chefs at Hana Matsuri work closely with fish markets to procure the freshest seafood for their sashimi, nigiri, and maki creations. Once their grocery baskets are filled, they head to the kitchen to start rolling rice around interesting ingredient combinations such as the Hamachi Orange roll's mix of spicy shredded yellowtail, orange wedges, masago, jalapeño, and mango sauce. Beyond the sushi bar, the chefs create an array of hotter Japanese dishes—including steaming udon soups and teriyaki meats—for lunch and dinner.
At Ooka Sushi, the chefs satisfy practically any Asian-cuisine craving, not just those for artfully prepared and presented sushi and sashimi. They also slow cook broccoli and bell peppers in a thick Thai peanut curry, marinate duck meat in Chinese fire spices and fry it to a golden crisp, and deep fry shrimp in tempura batter.
Nearing the three-decade mark since opening its first store, Kokoro cooks up quick and tasty Japanese meals using fresh, never-processed ingredients, including Colorado-grown co-op vegetables whenever possible. Many of those meals feature a secret teriyaki sauce, such as the Kokoro Bowl—a fusion of juicy beef, teriyaki chicken, and veggies—which reigns as the restaurant's most popular bowl. Kokoro—whose loose translation is “heart” and points to the staff’s passion—also provides a drive-thru option, extending the same courteous, full-service experience even for the demanding task of accommodating the governor’s motorcade.
Carved straight-backed chairs and hanging crimson lanterns cultivate a traditional Chinese vibe inside Golden Shanghai's spacious dining room. Nearby, a wall with strings of firecrackers and golden Buddha statues creates an exotic backdrop for family dinners or faked vacation photos. In keeping with the traditional décor theme, chefs plate MSG-free Chinese classics such as crispy duck and spicy Hunan beef as well as more adventurous specialties from a separate authentic-Chinese menu.
Elsewhere, however, the kitchen defies standard categories, bringing together the disparate cuisines of Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam for eclectic feasts. Tender morsels of Thai satay chicken share table space with Japanese sushi and udon, and chefs also stir up bowls of Vietnamese noodle soup. As they chomp their way through the tastes of the East, visitors can toast another year of not renewing their passport with glasses of tropical cocktails or frosty, thirst-quenching beers.