Friday, February 02, 2007

New No. 52

Because of a Spam-Block issue, this submission didn't appear until now. Ed.

Fabulous Cocktails, Brilliant Menus, Delectable Eats, Cozy Spots —that's what MacKenzie's is all about.

MacKenzie's Chop House Restaurant
719 635 3536
128 S. Tejon St. Colorado Springs

How it rates out of 5 X's
Food Quality XXXX
Service X½
Comfort/Ambiance XXXX
Parking X
Website XXX
Overall rating 2.7 of a 5
Price range $$ ½

My initial sense entering Mackenzie's—I must be back in sweet home Chicago. I recalled the rich, warm dining rooms Downtown; I conjured images of the late, Mayor Daley swaggering in.

My first introduction to MacKenzie's was during summer of 2005. I met a blind date at a tavern up the street, and after a beer, we decided to take the next step—dinner. We walked to a handsome, historic building on South Tejon and descended to the sub level.

Unknowing of their repute for fabulous cocktails, we sipped Cosmopolitans, ($8). I affirm them the best I have yet to taste; a perfect mix of Ketel Citroen Vodka with precise additions of cranberry and lime juices.

Since that "first date" at MacKenzie's we continue to drop in for just appetizers, multi course dinners, and light Sunday suppers. It is also a pleasurable lunch spot.

Consistently the proficient kitchen assembles fresh, high quality ingredients, and presents it vividly. The extensive menu is brilliant and well formed. Executive Chef, Espiridion "Pete" Moreno, and his associates, design a weekly "fresh sheet". Their "specials" are innovative culinary creations worth investigation. Traditional meat lovers craving aged steaks, chops, and poultry favorites will void disappointment.

I advocate sharing appetizers to taste a variety of unique starters. I fancy the Prince Edward Island Mussels sautéed in an aromatic bouillabaisse, (10.95). The lightly fried Calamari comes with an incredible marinara that incorporates roasted red pepper coulis and fresh basil, which I could easily consume with a spoon, ( 9.95). Carpaccio is velvety, paper-thin slices of beef tenderloin drizzled with garlic infused olive oil and complimented with rosemary crostini, capers, onions, elephant garlic, and Montrachet crouton, (9.95). Crab Cakes are flavorful; however, I found them crumbling as they fought the fork, ( 12.95).

You will find seven delectable salads to select as a starter, or entree. The classic Caesar is just that, an ideal classic, (4.95). I go for the Bleu Wedge; a generous, chunk of iceberg topped with aged bleu cheese and tangy dressing, ( 5.95). The Spinach Salad is very good; however, I prefer one a tavern up the street offers, (7.95).

I relish the Cioppino, a balanced, full-bodied roasted red-pepper/tomato broth that respectively worships the Alaskan king crab, jumbo sea scallops, shrimp, and mussels, ( 22.95). Basil-Poblano Tortellini sounds risky, but I encourage you to cherish the tender pasta filled with cheese and mushrooms, and dressed with an extraordinary cream sauce of roasted poblano chilies and basil.

MacKenzie's presents a variety of superior cuts of beef to prepare exactly the way you like it. Go ahead and enjoy the aromatic Center Cut Pork Chops topped with smoked Gouda and caramelized onions, ( 15.95/19.95). Alternatively, try the savory Rack of Lamb, (cooked medium rare), with a raspberry-chipotle demi-glace, (22.95/29.95).

Assuming you enjoy dessert, I propose the light and airy Tiramisu, ($7). Chocolate Cake for Two with fudge icing and chocolate chips served a la mode is marvelous, ($10).

Select seating in cozy spots to suit your mood or occasion. Large, private booths fill the dining room; tables for 6-8, and booths envelop a rocky fireplace; tables and booths frame the sleek bar; the patio houses 15 tables; and private dining rooms are available.

My gripes are unreliable service and obnoxious, loud Swing music. I object to a hostess delivering and plopping my plate on the table, as she attempts to beat a 50-yard dash record. I object to the bartender serving tables in the dining room, only to neglect the duty when his bar business develops. I object to a waitress tethering her wild mane at the counter as she proclaims she's hung over. I object to the absence of a manager to observe blunders and assist promptly.

I protested my disappointments and skipped MacKenzie's for two months; however, I soon began to crave the exceptional food and cocktails. Judging from my last two experiences, the dining and bar service has greatly improved. My most recent visit was 13 January 2007.

Next week's review… Authentic Mexican in Colorado Springs.

Lunch: Mon-Fri
Dinner: Nightly
Payment: AE, Visa, MasterCard, No Checks
Reservations: Highly recommended
Full Bar: with extensive wine & martini lists
Private Dining: 3 private rooms for 10-60
Drink Specials: 4-7 pm Mon-Fri, Sunday 1/2 price Martinis & "Wine Lovers Wednesday"
Patio Dining: weather permitting
Sunday Brunch: Easter & Mother's Day
Holiday Dinners: Thanksgiving & Christmas Eve


Post a Comment

<< Home