Jay Fox's Dining Guide
BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN
“Playwrights are like men who have been dining for a month in an Indian restaurant. After eating curry night after night, they deny the existence of asparagus.” — Peter Ustinov
I’VE NOT BEEN HIDING. I’ve been eating a lot but suffering from something called writer’s block. But dining trips to Chicago, New York and Boston in the past several months have wakened the writer’s side of my brain and I’m now on a roll.
I hate banquet servers. Recently at the Denver Four Seasons Hotel (1111 14th Street, 303-389-3000; www.fourseasons.com/Denver) banquet, four different servers attempted to fill my self-sweetened ice tea and I had to stop each in mid-pour. That is until server #5, who didn’t bother to ask, grabbed my half-full glass and filled it, thus making it undrinkable. Why do they do that? I hate banquet servers.
Hadn’t been to Mickey’s Top Sirloin (6 East 70th Ave., Denver, 303-428-3090; www.denversteakhouse.net) since the new building (built on the same lot as the old one) opened almost nine years ago. The postal service even changed the address. The new place is really cool if you’re into an old time cowboy hangout. And, best of all, you no longer have to walk up the long, tedious flight of stairs.
But it’s still the same good food and super service as it has been for about 50 years.
The over-ambitious lunch menu includes an assortment of Italian and Mexican fare as well as steaks, chicken and seafood; altho it’s the steaks and burgers I go there for. While the hand-cut filets are not on the lunch menu, if you ask, Mickey will probably cut you one. There are no better filets in Denver. The signature top sirloin tends to be tough- as in too chewy for my taste. Check out them burgers.
This day Jumart Joe, the Javelin thrower and I came for lunch. Tracy, our server, was an old friend of Joe’s and made several recommendations. We started with an order of quesadillas and a side of house-made meataballs. Our quesadillas were ok good, but the meataballs were fantastic.
My half-pound burger came a perfect medium-rare with the bun separate so it didn’t absorb all the juices and show up soggy. Few places are smart enuf to serve it like that. It was very good, tho not seasoned. The accompanying mustard-based pot salad was too mustardy for me. The Vollmer’s chocolate mousse cake was super yummy. Joe had a cabbage burger thingy that his mama loves, but it wasn’t his fav.
Mickey was wandering the place, supervising the entire operation. I really wanted one of his hand-cut filets that I still savor the taste of from nine years ago. G will like this place and maybe our two eldest granddaughters will also cuz they have calamari on the menu.
The funnest part was seeing Ray Valente, Sr., the venerable owner of Valente’s Italian Restaurant that sadly closed several years ago. Ray was there with a half dozen of his old buddies He wasn’t moving very fast, but seemed in reasonably good health for a man of 135. I overheard him commenting that his razor repair shop closed. So did mine. Seems like we both patronized the same repair shop.
G and I finally made our way to Buenos Aires Pizzeria And Lots More (1319 22nd St, 303-296-6710) www.bapizza.com. My, oh my. We were pleasantly surprised. I had been reading about this place just east of Coors Field for some time. I was intrigued by the fact that this “taste of Argentina” served, pizza and pasta and tapas and empanadas and sangies and salads and gelato. That’s a lot of “ands.” There weren’t tons of tapas and sangies, but enuf to try new things. Most everything, including the amazing breads, is made in house. I think the diet Pepsi was the only item not made in house. Service was terrific as was every dish we tried.
We returned a few weeks later with our favorite daughter, Camille and our eldest granddaughter, Emma, who has not found a food she doesn’t like. ‘Ceptin tomatoes. We sampled a variety of sangies and empanadas, including muh personal fav, tomato and tuna empanada. Yo! We also shared a large pizza, and the maavelous flan. The pizza could have been cooked some more but was mighty tasty. I really don’t like pizza.
On both visits there was a group of 12 or more occupying the center of the room, which almost fills this small restaurant. Fortunately we called ahead for reservs. All the other tables were full and there were folks outside waiting.
Parking is very restricted during the 11 ½ months that now comprises baseball season cuz it’s only two blocks to Coors (pronounced Kerr’s) Field. There’s a parking lot across the street and lots of street parking available when the Rockies are away from home. But I would always call for reservs.
Nice to have Jay back on the culinary cuisine beat. You can send him tidbits at email@example.com.