100 Favorite Dishes: Gumbo from Bistro One

Gumbo Bistro One.jpg
Lori Midson

No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One

I was about to get fried chicken -- the best in Denver, ballyhooed the bartender at Bistro One -- but somehow, the subject switched to gumbo, and since the guy sitting next to me at the bar, who happened to be the owner of GB Fish & Chips, was in a fried chicken mood, and offered to share, I settled on the gumbo, which, you should know, is not on the menu, but often offered as a special. "It takes the chef five days to make it, and when he does, it goes like that," said the bartender, snapping his fingers to push the point forward. The chef, J. Michael Melton, had started with eight gallons; he was down to one.

Less than one, actually, since I didn't waste any time putting dibs on a bowl. It's an excellent gumbo, rich, ruddy and dark, thickened with fresh okra, a few nubs of which have been crusted in cornmeal and plopped on top of a molded mound of rice, and full of chicken, crawfish and cubed andouille sausage. It's earthy and soul-warming, enlivened with just enough heat to give it a noticeable jolt, and perfumed with smoke from the chicken and sausage tinged with garlic. Get it while the pot's hot, or else bring a bribe and hope that Melton isn't too high-principled to take it.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean
No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's
No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto
No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon
No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market
No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon
No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro

No. 93: Posole from The Porker
No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette
No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill
No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera
No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa
No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz
No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall
No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo
No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano
No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco
No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil
No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food
No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma
No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand
No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll
No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe
No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet
No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta
No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor
No. 74: South African black ruff from TAG

In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact -- as a precursor to the Best of Denver 2010 issue. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up by the time the Best of Denver 2011 hits the streets on March 31. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.

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