Tag Archives: Highland restaurant

Tequila & Tex-Mex in Highland

Matador is congenial spot with killer drinks

P1050254Getting together on the day after Thanksgiving with Society of American Travel Writers buds who live in or visit Colorado at this time of year is something of a tradition. Rich Grant of Visit Denver can always be relied on to pick a cool place to gather. This year, This year, we met at the Matador Restaurant & Tequila Bar that opened just a few weeks ago in the heart of Highland, one of Denver’s most wonderful neighborhoods.

Tasty Tex-Mex food, a busy bar and window filled with tequila bottles are noteworthy in this congenial corner restaurant. The tequila selection is imposing, whether straight with lime or fashioned into margaritas or other cocktails. I ordered a Top Shelf Margarita, a tall, limey cocktail that packed a Rio Grande Restaurant degree of wallop, and that means strong.

Tequila bottles backlit take on the aspect of a stained glass window.

Tequila bottles backlit take on the aspect of a stained glass window.

We sat at a high-top table with a gas fire in the middle — a bit of overkill on a warm, sunny afternoon, but I’m sure fabulous on a cool winter evening. In addition to baskets of chips with piquant salsa (chipotle, I thought) , soft-shell tacos — a choice of flour or corn tortillas, hit the spot.

Steak taco, ready to be rolled.
Steak taco with meat, greens, salsa and cream, ready to be rolled.

Price check: Happy hour tacos are $5; cocktails are $6-$10.

The Matador on Urbanspoon

LoHi Steakbar for Restaurant Week

Unusual selections for Denver Restaurant Week at Highland steakery

P1010908The most common mix of courses for Denver Restaurant Week is a choice of three or four appetizers, three or four entrées and a like number of desserts for each person. LoHi Steakbar marches to its own DRW drummer offering a choice of 13 starters and two entrées per person, plus a choice of thee desserts for two people to share. I’m not sure what they do if there’s a solo diner or an odd number at the table. Six of us occupied a round table in the busy dining room, but it did seem as if the similarly sized bar area was equally busy. We all ordered from the DRW menu..

Marinated Salt & Pepper Shrimp, partically in their shells, rest atop a small field of greens.
Marinated Salt & Pepper Shrimp, partially in their shells, rest atop a small field of greens.
Black Bean Chili topped with sour cream, chopped scallions and little grilled cheese
Black Bean Chili topped with sour cream, chopped scallions and little grilled cheese “sandwich” on the.side.
House salad -- one of two on the DRW menu, the other being a Caesar.
House salad — one of two on the DRW menu, the other being a Caesar.
Five out of the six of us ordered  the SteakBar Steak Frites, a broiled flatiron steak served with frites that were supposed to be crisp but weren't, and a  choice of sauce: garlic-herb butter, béarnaise sauce, blue cheese butter or shallot steak sauce. The five chose different sauces and different degrees of doneness from blue to well-done. All but one arrived as ordered.
Five out of the six of us ordered the SteakBar Steak Frites, a broiled flatiron steak served with frites that were supposed to be crisp but weren’t, and a choice of sauce: garlic-herb butter, béarnaise sauce, blue cheese butter or shallot steak sauce. The five chose different sauces and different degrees of doneness from blue to well-done. All but one arrived as ordered.
Salmon filet served with sauteed green vegetables and squash puree.
Salmon filet served with sauteed green vegetables and squash puree.

LoHi SteakBar on Urbanspoon

Old Major is Newest Highland Eatery

New gastropub features rustic-style decor, tightly focused pork- and seafood-centric menu and keg wines

P1010905There’s a literary reference to the name Old Major, chef Justin Brunson’s latest venture in the neighboring red hot restaurant districts west of the South Platte and I-25. In Highland, Old Major, named after the featured porker in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, sports the trendy rustic look utilizing reclaimed wood and hefty furniture, has a small menu (changing every two or three months, says Brunson) and a big vision of featuring the distinctive tastes of “seafood, swine and wine.” A cool slogan, and the adjective “fine” could accurately be attached to each.

Executive chef Justin Brunson caffeine loading during Old Major's opening.
Executive chef Justin Brunson caffeine loading during Old Major’s opening.

The upscale gastropub’s buzz built instantly from a soft opening over the weekend, a couple of private parties and a mid-day media preview today. The food at Old Major is both robust and sophisticated, but what also really impressed me is the restaurant’s ground-breaking policies in the food service biz. There are no runners or bussers (those who bring the food-laden dishes also take the dirty ones away). In fact, there are just two levels of servers, a word that general manager Jonathan Greschler says actually isn’t used. because it implies a class system that is eschewed.

Along the same egalitarian line, Brunson says they’ve hired cooks who might become chefs and waitstaff who might become restaurant owners. Additionally, to help staff on the road financial stability should they want to take out a loan or a mortgage, tips are added to each person’s paycheck rather than distributed nightly in cash. Real admirable policy which Greschler calls revolutionary in the restaurant industry. In other words, policy copycats welcomed.

Spacious gleaming kitchen, open to view. Other kitchen
Spacious gleaming kitchen, open to view. Other kitchen “amenities” include a wood-assisted pizza oven, meat-curing room, butchering area, smoker and much more.

Continue reading Old Major is Newest Highland Eatery

A Meal at (and Support for) Rosa Linda’s

Family-owned Rosa Linda’s subjected to threats & hate messages. Guests rally to support restaurant

An ugly incident of bias against the long-time owners of a Highland restaurant turned into a beautiful show of local support. Rosa Linda’s Mexican Cafe, a long-running restaurant in the Highland neighborhood, epitomizes the ethic of a small, family-owned business that attracts a loyal clientele. Before the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly, published a blog post headlined “Mitt Romney stopped at Chipotle this morning but is not invited to Rosa Linda’s.”

Rosa Linda’s is owned by the Aguirre family, US citizens who originally came from Mexico and happen to be Mormons. The headline stated and the post itself implied that Romney was not welcome. It turned to be a twist of what Oscar Aguirre had told Romney’s handlers last August, which was simply that the family said they would welcome the candidate but did not want to be a  campaign stop. Nevertheless, the reaction from who-knows-who was swift and ugly. Westword’s Cafe Society post unleashed a torrent of actions based on ignorance, hate and bias ranging from name-calling to death threats. “Denver restaurant receives death threats after passing on Romney campaign stop,” Channel 9 reported. Continue reading A Meal at (and Support for) Rosa Linda’s