100 Favorite Dishes: Dungeness crab salad from Rioja

Dungeness crab from Rioja.jpg
Lori Midson
Best of Denver 2010 was released April 1, but Cafe Society is still counting down, in no particular order, our 100 favorite dishes. Send your own nominations to cafe@westword.com.

Number 4: Dungeness crab salad from Rioja

Just about everything on Jennifer Jasinski's scrupulous menu at Rioja makes us want to lick her toes in unrequited appreciation. Asparagus soup scented with spring garlic and tickled with a smoked halibut brandade fritter? Pork belly straddling a fresh garbanzo bean purée punctuated with Indian spices? Housemade raviolis, ballooned with whipped potatoes and Pecorino, stoned with fava beans and floating in a vinaigrette splashed with preserved lemon? All of Jasinski's dishes are magnificent, but some, like the Dungeness crab salad, actually transcend superlatives, rendering your otherwise yappy tongue utterly speechless. It's a trippy hybrid of ambition, intrigue and whimsy, in which Jasinksi tucks delicate crab meat into the passageway of shaved, nearly translucent sheets of perfectly coiled jicama, crowns the roll with thin slices of avocado, and pools the work of precision in a cumin-kissed vinaigrette. And the garnish of bright-tinted ribbons of roasted rainbow carrots give the maligned, often underused root vegetable, their own stage on which to shine.

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:

No. 100 Chicken-fried steak from Lola
No. 99 Alaskan reindeer sausage from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
No. 98 Mac-and-cheese fries from Jonesy's EatBar
No. 97 Soft egg ravioli from Prima
No. 96 Pho - any pho -- from Pho 95
No. 95 Assiette de charcuterie maison from Z Cuisine

No. 94: Cheeseburger from Larkburger
No. 93: BBQ Masher from Cabin Creek Smokehouse
No. 92: Apple pancake from the Original Pancake House
No. 91: Burrata from Osteria Marco
No. 90: Eggs Benedict from Devil's Food Bakery
No. 89: Chile Relleno from La Fiesta
No. 88: Deviled eggs from Steuben's
No. 87: Corn-in-a-cup from Jack-n- Grill
No. 86: Enchiladas from Taco House
No. 85: Pupusas from Pupusas Sabor Hispano
No. 84: Baklava from Ali Baba Grill
No. 83: Masa-fried oyster shooters from Deluxe
No. 82: Tacos al pastor from Los Carboncitos
No. 81: Salsa bar from Tacos Y Salsas
No. 80: Dim Sum from Star Kitchen
No. 79: Green chile cheeseburger from Cherry Cricket
No. 78: Fries from Encore
No. 77: Shanghai-style dumplings from Chopsticks China Bistro
No. 76: Chile relleno burrito from El Taco de Mexico
No. 75: Fish fry from GB Fish and Chips
No. 74: Posole from Tarasco's
No. 73: Sausage, ham and egg biscuit from Table 6
No. 72: Bacon flight from the Berkshire
No. 71: Tasty Treats from Gaetano's
No. 70: French dip from Udi's
No. 69: Panang curry from US Thai Cafe
No. 68: Pineapple upside-down pancake from Snooze
No. 67: Saag paneer from India's
No. 66: Udon noodle bowl from Bones
No. 65: Grilled corn soup from Lola
No. 64: Sesame pockets from Lee's Garden
No. 63: Whiskey-braised beef from Steuben's
No. 62: House special from Viet's
No. 61: Sultan Combo from Phoenician Kabob
No. 60: Cake and a shake from D Bar Desserts
No. 59: Caprese salad from Gaia Bistro

No. 58: Fried chicken from Tom's Home Cookin'
No. 57: Molcajete a la Mexicana from El Paraiso
No. 56: Corned beef hash from Argyll Gastropub
No. 55: Aye Conyo from Buchi Caf� Cubano
No. 54: Fig n' pig flatbread pizza from Encore
No. 53: Toro sashimi from Sushi Den
No. 52: Spinach pinwheels from Virgilio's
No. 51: Chicken-fried steak from the Breakfast King
No. 50: Hot dog with hot sauce from from the Old Fashioned Italian Deli
No. 49: Adobada gordita from Tacos Y Salsas
No. 48: Curried Indian mussels from Argyll Gastropub
No. 47. Pasta carbonara from Fruition
No. 46: Amarena cherries and chocolate from Sketch
No. 45: Aloo gosht salin from the British Bulldog
No. 44: Head cheese from Olivea
No. 43: Braised pork belly ramen noodle bowl from Den Deli
No. 42: Lemon cheesecake from L'Atelier
No. 41: Croissant with Asiago and prosciutto from Buffalo Doughboy Bakery
No. 40: Prosciutto eggs Benedict from Panzano
No. 39: Double cheeseburger from Bud's Bar
No. 38: Calabacitas pupusas from Tambien
No. 37: Lamb shank from Mecca Grill
No. 36: Beignets from Lucile's Creole Cafe
No. 35: Jaam-bong from Karma Asian
No. 34: Beef cheeks from Squeaky Bean
No. 33: C� ri chay from New Saigon
No. 32: Torta ahogada from Las Tortas
No. 31: Salumi from Il Mondo Vecchio
N0. 30: Ricotta ravioli from Colt & Gray
No. 29: Seaweed salad from Izakaya Den
No. 28: Beef short ribs from the Village Cork
No. 27: Breakfast burrito from Pico de Gallo Mexican Grill
No. 26: Italian sandwich from Masterpiece Deli
No. 25: Baked potato from Rodney's
No. 24: Curried potato dosa from Masalaa
No. 23: Pate and pork rillettes from Fuel Cafe

No. 22: Tacos from Leobardo's Taco Shop
No. 21: Suckling pig from Luca D'Italia
No. 20: Chicken and poblano crepes from Chili Verde
No. 19: Steak chili from Elway's Cherry Creek
No. 18: Aguas Frescas from El Taco Veloz
No. 17: Spicy edamame beans from Karma Asian
No. 16: Samosas from Vesta Dipping Grill
No. 15: Greek pizza from Melita's Greek Cafe & Market
No. 14: Tortilla soup from the Pioneer
No. 13: Double chocolate pudding from LoHi Steakbar
No. 12: Spaghetti and meatballs from Steuben's
No. 11: Waffles from the Waffle Brothers
No. 10: Shrimp cocktail from El Camaron Loco
No. 9: Wild striped bass from Black Pearl
No. 8: Lap dogs from Interstate Kitchen & Bar
No. 7: French dip from Second Home Kitchen & Bar
No. 6: Clam chowder from the Oceanaire Seafood Room
No. 5: Sausage sub from Carbone's Italian Sausage Market & Deli


Location Info

Rioja

1431 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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