When Denver Westword critic Jason Sheehan visited Cracovia Restaurant and Bar, his summation of the meal ended up sounding less like a restaurant review and more like an Alice in Wonderland?style memoir dripping with passion and faux nostalgia. At one point, he recalled a desire to tackle a waiter who had walked by with a plate of cabbage rolls, so that he could "grab the golabki with [his] teeth and drink the tomato-mushroom gravy straight from the tureen." Later in the meal, he and his wife felt so connected to the food, they almost felt Polish themselves: "If our mothers had been Polish ? this would've been what we ate growing up, " Jason said, "This tastes like home cooking in the best possible way, tastes of time and care and experience and love."
Love is probably the key word here: it's not surprising that Jason and his wife were so enamored with their meal, considering Cracovia is a labor of love for husband-wife team Lester and Marie Rodzen. They named the restaurant after a Krakow hotel where they honeymooned more than a quarter-century ago, and they pour this affection for their home country into each of the from-scratch Polish dishes they create, which is part of the reason they were named ?Best German/Eastern European Restaurant Denver 2014? by Denver Westword. The aforementioned golabki?cabbage rolls stuffed with pork and rice?is one of the Rodzens' signature dishes, as are the homemade kielbasa and pierogi stuffed with meat, cabbage, cheese, or blueberries, all purchased at local farmers markets. In the spirit of its romantic inspiration, Cracovia is a perfect date-night restaurant?every Friday and Saturday night, live singers croon as couples make their way to the dining room's dance floor or three-legged racing area.
Every sushi fan has a fantasy roll—a picture-perfect masterpiece that's comprised of a flawless melange of traditional and inventive ingredients. The chefs at Sushi Yume are no exception. For their fantasy roll, they delicately wrap shrimp tempura, avocado, and tobiko in crisp sesame soy paper before drizzling it with sweet-and-salty eel sauce. The fantasy roll is just one of the menu's 30-plus specialties, whose fixings range from the Rocky Mountain roll's cream cheese tempura to the Hawaiian roll's dusting of wasabi pea powder.
While sushi chefs handcraft their orders, Sushi Yume's other cooks whip up Japanese staples such as scallop teriyaki and grilled eggplant doused in miso sauce. The culinary teams combine their efforts for lunch and dinnertime bento boxes, which pair mains and sushi selections with a California roll. Handcrafted cocktails complement feasts, as does a selection of Japanese beers, sodas, and hot or cold sakes.
The year was 1967, and Stella Cordova was working in a restaurant called Chubby's Burger Drive In. One day, the owner made approached her with a curious offer?would she like to buy the place? Stella said yes, and today she keeps locals well-fed by managing the eatery she once worked in. Since then, The Original Chubby's has changed locations, altered its name, and sprouted a second spot in the arts district?now in the hands of Stella's grandson Julian. This time, though, the menu's fare features a Mexican twist. Stella's own favorite is the green chile-topped Mexican burger served with a side of cheese fries, but dozens of burgers, tacos, and burritos fly across the counter at Chubby's until midnight.
Since 1982, tourists, professionals, and neighbors have sat side-by-side for breakfast and lunch at the Delectable Egg. Sprinkled around the metro-Denver area, the award-winning morning-and-midday stop continues to dish out fresh food crafted from regional and locally grown ingredients. Anchoring the menu is the Denver omelette, which, just like the Rockies, is filled with ham, peppers, cheese, and farm-fresh eggs. Another popular choice is the California Benedict, which brings together avocado, spinach, and a toasted English muffin beneath a layer of hollandaise sauce. Later in the day, the Delectable Egg switches gears to satisfy lunchtime cravings with burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
Landry's, Inc. operates more than 40 restaurant brands with only two main goals: good food and good memories. Thankfully, each of their venues has a signature element that's hard to forget, whether the Oceanaire's fresh seafood?flown in daily?or Rainforest Cafe's animatronic wildlife that's almost as realistic as the Amazon's wind-up monkeys. Steak and seafood spots feature prominently on the list of Landry's locations, including Morton's The Steakhouse, Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse, and McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks. But there are standouts in other genres, too, such as the Italian trattoria known as Grotto.
Brazil?s flag hangs proudly under the front counter at Little Brazil. The flag??vibrant green, yellow, and blue??reveals the eatery?s menu: flavorful and authentic Brazilian food. Chefs simmer pots full of black beans, smoked sausage, pork sirloin, bacon, and Brazilian dried beef. They blanket chicken cutlets in a sauce crafted from cream, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and mustard. The chefs? sweet and savory pastries??with such fillings as chicken and Brazilian cream cheese, or cinnamon and banana??are deep-fried or shellacked at patrons? request.