Down and Out in Denver

Chili Verde

Posted in denver, food by Blake on February 14, 2010

At this point you may be under the impression that the DOD boys do nothing but eat out and are incapable of cooking an actual meal.  Today’s post will not help.  While we do cook a fair bit on weekdays in our respective kitchens, weekends are definitely for meals out.  And last night was no exception.  We ventured out to the Highlands to meet up with some friends of ours for dinner.  Our first stop, which didn’t take reservations, would have taken about an hour to seat our party, and I was, by that point, ravenous.  An hour was far too much time.  So we walked a few blocks over to a Mexican place at 37th and Tejon that one of the friends had heard about but not tried: Chili Verde. And we were not disappointed!

The Cactus Margarita Glass

Though it was busy we were seated immediately and just as quickly presented with chips and a number of different dips: salsa, some hot and smoky mixture, and what looked to me like refried bean dip with queso fresco (I’m not much for beans so didn’t try it). We ordered a round of margaritas, which came in these lovely cactus glasses, and then set about determining what to have for dinner.  We opted for a shared appetizer: the calamari with chipotle dipping sauce. The calamari was crisp and yet also tender, just as it should be.  And the sauce had a little bite, which is rare in Denver, where restaurants tend to assume that diners can’t handle anything spicy.  In this respect, Denver can feel just as Midwestern as many of its transplants.

But not at Chili Verde, where our entrees also did not stint on the heat.  Alastair and I both opted for the fajitas.  I got mine with chicken and Alastair requested a shrimp and steak combo, what he called surf ‘n’ turf. Our dining partners got the chili verde platter and the poblano crepes: shredded chicken rolled in a crepe accompanied by a poblano sauce and rice.  The food was all well seasoned and tasty; portions were generous without being overwhelming.  All four of us became members of the clean plate club. And to top it all off, the owner very graciously sent over a complimentary dessert, an order of changas: deep fried tortillas wrapped around chocolate and topped with more chocolate, ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream. The perfect end to a very tasty meal.  Could the DOD celebrity have spread to the point that we are now getting free desserts?  We’ll try not to let it go to our collective head.

The atmosphere at Chili Verde may not be to everyone’s liking.  It is very well lit, with each table having an individual low-hanging pendant light over it.  These lights become somewhat problematic when tables get moved around to accommodate larger groups.  And there is a huge green rectangle painted on the dining room’s main wall; in the midst of it is a photograph of green chiles that is somewhat dwarfed by the enormity of the painted green rectangle. The front room also contains a bar and a big TV (must all restaurants have a TV?) and some raised tables and bar stools. Last night there was a large gathering of basketball fans who got a little rowdy at times, cheering on their team (Kentucky). They were somewhat irritating, though one of our dining companions appreciated (something of an understatement) the fact that a number of the male fans were wearing basketball jersey tank tops and thus were showing off their well-proportioned arms.

It’s clear that Chili Verde is hoping to be both restaurant and neighborhood hangout and they seem to be succeeding at both.  Not only would we recommend it, we hope to return again soon!


2 Responses

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  1. bettysteele said, on February 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    This sounds delicious! And nothing cures a hangover like a margarita and some fajitas! In fact, nothing gets me started on a hangover like margaritas and fajitas. hmm… full circle.

    • Blake said, on February 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      And I confess there might still have been a little hangover from the night before to clear up. We tried to keep things tame on Saturday so we didn’t have a full-on repeat of Friday night.

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