Monday, January 22, 2007

Dining critic candidate No. 20


Rich in décor and Spanish flavor

Tapas have become quite fashionable recently. Originally, a small plate of Spanish delicacies, placed atop your drink, to keep the elements out, today has become a trendy way to repackage standard appetizers. But, chopping an appetizer in half, tossing it on a small plate does not a tapas make.

The 9th Door brings authenticity to historic lower downtown Denver. Walking through the heavy drapes you are met with sensuous shades of red and gold, and what I would call Spanish jazz (fabulous). We pass a fun lounge area with a bed draped in red linen as a center piece, and head to a richly upholstered long bench, with tables running along side.

Feeling warmed by the surroundings, I was pleased to get the happy hour menu (4:30-6:30pm) offering deals on Spanish cocktails, wine and select tapas. While my husband goes for his regular dirty martini, I eye two large glass canisters, on the bar, filled with the sweet flavors of wine, citrus and brandy; one white and one red and opt for their white sangria ($4), which is light and refreshing.

The lively menu is divided into hot and cold tapas, ranging from $3 for the marinated Spanish olives and toasted almonds to $12 for a beef filet with wine redux and a blue cheese sauce. Traditional Spanish and Mediterranean flavors of roasted peppers, veggies, cured meats and the finest of cheeses are presented with style.

As a woman who would take cheese over chocolate any day, I start with the fried goat cheese balls ($4). A light crunch, with the warm salty goat cheese finished nicely with a spicy/sweet honey. Definitely full flavored, but a must share, given its richness.

The Charchitaria ($8), a plate of thinly sliced cured Spanish meats had us keeping score, as to who got the last slice. The spicy marinara mussels ($5), while perfectly cooked where a little bland, and lacked the heat I was looking for; which reminded me, for the less adventurous eater, tapas are a wonderful way to try new flavors without having to commit to a large entrée.

I was a bit surprised by the Flan Limon ($5), having been used to the light eggy crème caramel, theirs is thicker than the Crème Brulee ($6), but none the less delicious. The 9th Door, scores with its’ sexy ambiance, great service and full flavored Spanish bites.

The 9th Door 1808 Blake Street, 303 292-2229,


Anonymous Submission Reviewer said...

Good review of location and atmosphere, but the food descriptions, albeit good, were overwhelmed in the article. The first priority of the review should be the food. Pricing covered well, but hours not listed.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

FYI. "submission reviewer" is not associated with the Gazette.

10:17 AM  

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