Mile High City on Zagat’s list of country’s best cities for food.
The Zagat name has been synonymous with restaurant reviews and recommendations since Tim and Nina Zagat launched it in New York in 1982 as a compilation of diner reviews. It’s now an on-line empire with correspondents in what in considers to be worthy food cities. Zagat’s newly released list of “The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016.”
The write-up includes the links that Zagat typically inserts into all its posts, and the image accompanying the write-up is of Denver’s hot new Central Market in RiNo.
Meanwhile, there’s no stopping our homegrown talent. Beard award-winners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (Frasca) will be opening Tavernetta soon; fellow recipient Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja et al.) is expanding her mini empire with Ultreia. Rising stars like Hop Alley’s Tommy Lee, The Way Back’s Chad Michael George, Joshua Pollack of Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen and Bar Dough’s Mac MacKissock have swiftly garnered national acclaim. The spotlight that was already trained on our impressive field of food halls (The Source, Avanti F&B, Union Station) just intensified with the opening of The Central Market; Stanley Marketplace will be even bigger. And though Denver’s long been at the craft-brewing forefront, it’s poised to break whole new ground (theoretically, at least) with the legalization of cannabis use in restaurants and bars. Innovationwise, this is the wonderfully Wild West all over again.
In a piece called “50 States, 50 Burgers,” Zagat.com’s current issue features burgers, including surveys of what kind of meat (or meat substitute) Americans like for the burgers, what kind of roll, what our favorite condiments are and of course, where the best burgers can be found.
The staffers — I call them “Zagateers” — selected City Grille’s buffalo burger, here’s how the it under the headline:
“In a state known for buffalo and burger lovers who crave bison over beef, it’s only fitting that the Buffalo Burger is a favorite of the Centennial State. Bison, or American buffalo, is often leaner, less fatty and some say sweeter — though many also claim the taste isn’t much different than a beef burger. Over at local favorite City Grille in Denver, they serve up a hefty buffalo burger: a half-pound patty, charbroiled to perfection. Much praised, the healthy low-fat, low-cholesterol burger can be topped with a variety of cheeses, a fried egg or guacamole.”
CityGrille, which is owned by two sisters, is at 321 East Colfax Avenue, Denver.
When Colorado is included in a food list, rather than ignored altogether, it seems as Rocky Mountain oysters (fried bull testicles for the few who don’t know) are discovered again and again and tediously again. In “The 50 Plates of America: A Culinary Journey Across the U.S.,” Zagat was just the latest to “discover” this specialty. Here’s what the Zagateers wrote:
While a rack of lamb may bear the state’s name throughout the glorious chain steakhouses that grace American highways, Rocky Mountain Oysters represent the state’s rugged reputation. The… ahem… delicate parts of a bull’s underbelly are (usually) deep-fried and go best with a side of rémoulade. Buckhorn Exchange, which dates back to 1893 and is an homage to Colorado’s frontier roots, might be the best place for newbies to test their adventurousness. Or if you’re looking for a little buzz while you partake, Denver’s Wynkoop Brewery even offers a Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout.
In truth, fried Rocky Mountain Oysters taste like a lot of other fried things, with the batter and he dipping sauce providing most of the flavor.There is nothing really “culinary” about their list — hot dogs were selected from Connecticut, my native state, and Iowa must live with the burden of deep-fried burgers.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.