Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snowbound repasts

Just got word that the Concept Restaurants - The Ritz Grill, MacKenzie’s Chop House, and Jose Muldoon’s - will open for lunch at 11 a.m. today.

Let me know if you've heard of other places braving the weather to feed us snowbound workers.

Or, as always, please leave your comments about recent visits to local restaurants and you could win our weekly movie-pass drawing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ultimate Buffet

I'm wondering if I should send our critic Tom Karpel to review this place.

Ultimate Buffet, near the Super Target at Powers and Carefree, claims to be the largest buffet in town, and in a town brimming with Golden Corrals and 200-item Chinese buffets, that's quite a claim.

I went there last weekend for lunch with my kids and was impressed by the variety.

This is owned by a relative of the Empire Asian Buffet at Vickers and Academy, and you'll notice plenty of similarities: Lots of Chinese entrees and dim sum, a pretty spread of sushi. But this place also is loaded with American food.

Most of the American choices should be be ignored. The potatoes taste reconstituted. The meatloaf is soggy and bland. The pizza tastes like cardboard with cheese and sauce.

But the steak is OK, and the shrimp and beef skewers are good.

Still, my favorite is the sushi, which tasted fresh and flavorful.

Prices are about in line with other buffet places: $6.95 for adults (less for kids and seniors) for lunch, $10.99 for dinner.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Metro is still hot

I worried about how The Metropolitain, the sophisticated urban restaurant with the subway-like entrance on Bijou near Tejon Street, would weather the change in ownership and the loss of new chef Brent Beavers.

But my worries were unfounded. I went there Tuesday night for an office party, and they had an outstanding spread of food: pate, hummus, juicy and tasty buffalo prime rib, delectible king crab claws ...

The Metro still has those great martinis (go for the Ruby which is grapefruit-flavored or the pomegranate,) but new owners Kimball and Sabrina Bayles are much more into wines, so you'll notice a vast improvement in the wine list.

We sampled two small-vineyard Napa Valley reds: Molly Dooker and Panacea.... . Phenomenal.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Your reviews

Come on, people. You never call. You never write. ... OK, I'm sounding like my mother. But, hey, I'm even offering a bribe here. Two free movie passes just for posting your comments. Every week I'll give away a pair. And if you look at how little traffic we're getting, you gotta figure your chances are good.

Philly tip

In the November 24th issue of the GO! I was reading the article by Tom Karpel. I can not remember what restaurant he was reviewing {although I think it was Father Guido's } but I do remember he had tried their cheesesteak sandwich. What stuck in my mind was was he had put in parenthesis that he preferred his with provalone cheese. Guess what? That is how I make mine. I have been told by many people that I have the best steak sub in the city. So, I invite you, Tom Karpel and anyone else who would like to try it to come on over and give it a try. I don't think you will be disappointed. I have a little restaurant on the east side called Jer-Bear's Pizza, Subs and more. I am located at 1825 Peterson Rd. in the Cimarron Hills shopping center. I opened on June 1st and have had a ton of positive response on my sandwiches, pizza, pasta and wings. So come on by and try a steak sub or anything else on the menu. You will enjoy it!
Thank You,
Jer- Bear
You can see the full menu at

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Comfort food

The more crazy things get before the holidays, the more we find ourselves eating out.

Lately, I've had some good meals at The Stagecoach, The Mason Jar and Chopsticks Asian Bistro.

The Stagecoach: The move to make this more family-friendly, less upscale, means this is a place for mid-range comfort food. The prime rib is OK, but not exceptional. The fish 'n chips are good, and so is the roast pork. This is the kind of place we'd take the inlaws from Iowa, who always want to stop at the Black Eyed Pea.

The Mason Jar: I like the recent remodel to be less country kitch, more Colorado lodge. Like the Stagecoach, this isn't fancy. It's a place to go when you don't feel like cooking. The stuffed pepper soup and the vegetable soups were nice and homey, and the fried shrimp was good. Avoid the prime rib. Comparing it to shoe leather is an insult to shoe leather.

Chopsticks Asian Bistro: I love this place and the vivacious owner. I usually stick to the basil shrimp here. But I tried the sauteed triple, with shrimp, beef and chicken. ... a wonderful choice, with a rich, slightly spicy sauce. Also really enjoy the green tea ice cream. Soothing and subtle.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Farewell to Dewey's

The Westsiders have wondered what happened to Dewey's American Grill on Garden of the Gods. It is closed all of a sudden. Any ideas? Are they closed in Denver also?
My wife and I believe the best restaurant in the area is The Blue Star. Always great food, especially in the bar area where it is very
reasonable. We'll keep reading!
Jim McKenna

Dear Jim,
Dewey's had plenty of big-screen TVs and the food was OK (I liked the fish 'n' chips), but in this town, if your sports bar isn't called Old Chicago, you're going to struggle. Dewey's closed here, but locations are still open in Littleton and Highlands Ranch.
And I agree with you about Blue Star. I've been a fan since it opened on the West Side.

YOU BE THE CRITIC.... readers ... please click on the comment button and send me your comments and questions about local restaurants.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jose and Concept Restaurants

I just got some interesting news in an email from Luke Travins, manager of Concept Restaurants about Jose Muldoon's and other Concept places:

"We have a great new management team (as of October 2006) so I believe the overall food and service have seriously improved. I’m a tex-mex guy so enchiladas and combo pates are my thing. The mean green chili is fantastic, and the Topolobampo is great. My wife always eats the mango salad. ... Business is up and we are going to do a comprehensive remodel in March 07. More to come on that. It will be a big year for me and Concept with a Jose’s remodel, 20 year anniversary at the Ritz, and Ten years at MacKenzie’s."

If anybody has tried Jose's lately, let me know about your expriences.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

One of the best meals ever!

It was one of those nights when everything came together.

My wife and two sons took me out for a birthday dinner at Plate World Cuisine, the new restaurant by the folks who do Walter's Bistro, and we had the best meals we'd ever had in Colorado Springs.

My wife looked stunning. The kids didn't fight (a miracle!). The setting couldn't have been more elegant and romantic. And the food ... well, it's hard to talk about without my eyes glazing over and my stomach rumbling.

Plate, which is at that shopping center at Briar Village Point that also houses the new Salsa Brava, had only been open two weeks, and this birthday visit was my second time there.

My wife and I had been there during the try-out opening weekend and were blown away.

But the second time was even better. Chef Ryan Blanchard has divided his menu into various countries and regions: Spain, Latin America, France, Italy, Japan, and he has a section he calls New American.

We sampled our way around the world, starting with the politically incorrect French fois gras -- seared and crunchy on the outside, creamy like butter on the inside, and oh, so rich. The miso steak salad was scrumptous as well.

For mains, I went with the Lazy Man Style Lobster, topped with a delicious New England-style cream sauce and served on a bed of mashed potatoes. It was the best lobster I've had in this town.

My wife had the scallops and kobe beef. Perfect.

And the kids shared a plate of paella. They loved it.

We finished up with creme brule (complementary, when they heard it was my birthday) and the dessert sushi, a gorgeous and creative dish served with chocolate chop sticks.

One of the delights of Walter's Bistro has always been visiting with owner Walter Iser. Walter wasn't there this night. But the service was nevertheless outstanding.

Our primary server was Alice, an exhuberant Kate Hudson lookalike, who kept the kids engaged the whole night. (Maybe that's why they didn't fight.) Eli, our oldest, is 14. He asked Alice.

"So, if the food is from all over the world, what about the sodas?"

She didn't miss a beat, and talked about the Coke from Singapore and the Sprite from Spain ... and each time she served a beverage, she referrenced another country. It was fun.

My wife and I had a couple of glasses of house merlot and cab savs ... and were soon in a state of serious culinary bliss.

The bill for the four of us ... and we had little restraint ... was about $200. A couple being more frugal could easily get out of Plate for $75.

Now, here's the frustrating part: Walter and Ryan are struggling to fill their dining room, while nearby chains are handing out the vibrating pagers. What's wrong with this picture?

Please let me know about your favorite ... and least favorite ... local dining experiences.