Jay Fox's Dining Guide

Now is the time for all good men and women to eat

“There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will” — Robert Frost

IT’S DENVER RESTAURANT WEEK. Actually, it’s two full weeks this year, from February 25 thru March 9. Participating restaurants will offer a multi-course dinner for the fixed price of $52.80 for two, or $26.40 for one (not including tax or gratuity). I think last count there were about 375 restaurants participating, including the Who’s Who in metro Denver dining. It’s a good time to give your spouse a break from cooking your dinner.
Go to www.denverrestaurantweek.com and pick a restaurant. You can choose by cuisine, neighborhood, or alphabetically. All the restaurants, in addition to a special menu for the event, will also offer their regular menu at regular prices. If one member in your group wants to order off the regular menu and the others off the Denver Restaurant Week menu, that’s fine.

G and I have gone every year even tho it’s “tax season.” You can try a restaurant that you consider too expensive, soes you can get a feel for their food and service. Or you can take advantage of a bargain at your favorite eatery. But you gotta go at least once.

OTHER STUFF. New York City’s famed Tavern On The Green is no more. The deficit-operating eatery will most likely be gutted and down-sized but nothing is set in concrete.

Donald “The Toup” Trump is looking to reopen Tavern, which had been a Central Park icon for 75 years before closing on New Year’s Day in 2010. Trump’s company already has reached an agreement with the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, a union which represents about 400 of the Tavern’s former employees, to operate the restaurant.

Trump still has to make a deal with the city of New York. He sed he would invest up to $20 million to remodel the eatery, noting that at its prime it grossed $38 million in one year. The city is looking for a casual restaurant to replace Tavern, so there ain’t gonna be no $38 million a year revenue. Personally, I think the city ought to forget Trump and sell burgers and hot dogs and be done with it. Last time G and I were there about five years ago, the food was boring and service sucked.

Don’t ever order french fries from Outback Steakhouse to go. They are guaranteed to arrive at your destination soggy and lukewarm. I found out the other day that even when the “take away” lady brings them out to your car, they are already soggy and luke-warm. Must be they just don’t care cuz they sat under the warmer for days.

While I raise havoc at Outback, waddaya think of that dude with the horrid Australian accent on the phone and in all their ads? I really don’t have an opinion.

While I’m on a roll here, when’s the last time that you saw the general manager working the floor? I have a thing about restaurant managers. They don’t belong in their office doing paperwork during meal time. They belong overseeing the kitchen and walking the floor of the dining room when its meal time, glad-handing customers and making sure those problems don’t arise or dealing with the problems that do arise. Cuz every restaurant will have a bad day now and then. The question is, what does the staff do when something does go wrong? And a manager sitting on his butt grinding out paperwork during meal time isn’t doing his or her job.

Landry’s Sad ‘n’ Bad Seafood has taken over Morton’s of Chicago steakhouses. They had previously taken over Simm’s Landing and renamed it Simm’s Steakhouse. They still serve over-priced seafood at their various other eateries. In Denver they operate the restaurant at the Aquarium, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Willie G’s, Bubba Gump’s, the Chart House in Genesee, Salt Grass Steak House in Parker and Landry’s Seafood in Centennial. That’s a lot of bad restaurants for one company to operate and still make money. The Morton’s store on Belleview has been closed.

I’ve gotten mega calls about Steak ‘n Shake, the Indianapolis-based franchisor who recently came to town. I have non-fond memories of a store in Columbia, Missouri in August, 1993. Son Secundo and I were driving back from Philadelphia and points east in the Buick Park Avenue I had just purchased. This was shortly after vast floods had ravaged the Midwest. The McDonald’s off I-70 in St. Louis was underwater as were most of Missouri and other states along our route. The farmlands along I-70 in central Missouri were just drying out. We stopped for a burger and a shake. Worst burger ever. I would liken it to a dried-out, two-day old McDonald’s burger that the cook forgot to take off the grill. I don’t remember the shake. Even Secundo wouldn’t finish his burger. I’m really not excited to relive that moment in history.

I’m told that there are lines out the door at the new store. Y’all remember Krispy Kreme? History shall repeat. Enuf sed.

Cya.

Jay Fox, our culinary commentator, can be reached at jay@jayfoxcpa.com. Send him your suggestions as to where to eat. And where not to.