Reader: Is the Squeaky Bean's green chile a culinary adventure or a Willy Wonka stunt?

Categories: Cafe Society


Some people thought this refashioned green chile looked delicious. Others, like WFK, did not:

I can't believe i am the first one to say that.. this is the absolute worst and unappealing looking dishes i have ever seen. Is this Willy Wonka's take on a 5th grade birthday party? Please tell me where it is so i can avoid it...

Turns out the dish was from the Squeaky Bean.

And that prompted this response (and more) to WKF from laughriot:

The Squeaky Bean puts out the best food in the city, and it's unfortunate that your lack of any sense of culinary adventure will prevent you from experiencing such a wonderful dining phenomenon. Although it's probably for the best; their staff are extremely well-versed in the menu and possess greatly honed wit and senses of humor, which would most certainly result in you being exposed as the inept monkey children that you are.

Is it fair to monkey with green chile? Post your thoughts below...or just get in line to follow us to the Squeaky Bean; that dish looks incredible.

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Location Info

Squeaky Bean - CLOSED

3301 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Jeff - I'm with you on your first post. Some people have their head so far up the chef’s toque that because a restaurant is overall very good, no fault can or should be found with anything that restaurant puts on the table. Wrong!


Awful. The only thing worse than a gimmick, is a gimmick from a restaurant that fails to consistently execute restaurant basics. I would rather have good, hot food in a timely matter than some wannabe chicago take on a humble green chile..


I think this has more to do with poor photography than the food. It is a terrible photo---there are tons of terrible photos of food in the Guess Where I'm Taking a Terrible Photo? columns. There is a reason professional food photography exists.


That must be the first time that the phrase "sense of culinary adventure" has been used to defend a dish garnished with Fritos.

I haven't had the Squeaky Bean's green chile, and after seeing the picture and reading the description, I don't have any plans to try it. That's not because I'm an "inept monkey child" with unsophisticated tastes. It's because I realize that not every chef with a package of maltodextrin and an immersion circulator is Wylie Dufresne.

There is a difference between the type of creative reinvention of dishes that represents the integrity of the original dish, understands the flavor combinations that make it work, and seeks to represent those structures, and what we see here. I can't imagine what place foie gras has in green chile, and I can't tell from the picture what most of the items in the bowl are. Green Chile is something of an institution in Colorado, and while it has a lot of variations, some respect must be paid to its essential components. It looks like there may be a piece of pork belly there, which is a good start (though I think confit shoulder would work better), and there's some sort of green puree (gelée?), but everything else seems completely out of place.

This type of thing can work well. I'm not a chef, but if I were going to try something like this for myself at home, I might try doing a piece of confit pork shoulder on a green chile velouté with masa-fried tomatillo pieces or something like that. Simple is better I think. Squeaky Bean does some great stuff, but this seems like a misfire. Their take on Italian Wedding Soup worked well, but you can't just default to "impressed" every time a chef deconstructs a familiar dish. Weird doesn't *always* work.

For an example of this type of dish done perfectly, see the clam chowder at Bittersweet.


Restaurant basics? Like what? Free bread upon arrival? A chicken entree?

It is the horrendously outdated perception of what a restaurant "has" been and "should" be that is restricting the progression of technique and the full utilization of new and exciting flavor profiles. I'm not sure what animal_vs_animal is referring to, but we found our experience at Squeaky Bean to be spectacular on both of our two visits. And "wannabe Chicago" is perhaps the most inaccurate, uneducated thing I have ever heard; I'm guessing this gentleman is from Chicago and has never dined here.

Either way, I placed my vote for Max for Best New Chef and truly hope he receives the national recognition that he and his staff deserve.


i watch Top Chef too, Jeff, and Wylie Dufresne IS really neat, ISN'T he?! and since we have found a chef you DO respect, take a closer peek at his menu...filled with creative uses for everyday otherwise boring items (like fritos).

your contrived and rather predictable recommendations for how YOU would construct a similar green chile are both ineffectual and wildly irrelevent. there is no picture in the westword blog of your imaginary chile, and you don't run a kitchen in a successful restaurant. stop going out of your way to use such an extraordinary amount of culinary terminology and get real...and simple is better you say? simple like, say, "a piece of confit pork shoulder on a green chile veloute with masa-fried tomatillo pieces"? don't need my help to contradict yourself and look silly, my friend.

now that Max has been nominated for People's Choice: Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine (only chef in Colorado by the way), perhaps you should shoot down there and try some of these delicious items that you are blindly judging...i bet you ask for extra fritos ;-)


No dude, the basics I mentioned. As someone who has dined at the bean 5 or 6 times and each time was less and less impressed, I really just wish more restaurants (squeaky bean included) would just work on restaurant basics from the front to the back of the house, instead of deconstructing a product, that chances are, they couldn't construct properly in its original state.

Jeez. /off


I have never seen an episode of Top Chef, and had know idea that Dufresne was featured on it. Dufresne is, perhaps along with Jose Andres, the best known practitioner of molecular gastronomy in this country, so his name worked with my comments about culinary toys.

You clearly did not read my post carefully, as I never claimed that I don't respect Max Max MacKissock. I have eaten at The Squeaky Bean many times and have always enjoyed it. He's a very talented chef, and I praised his similar take on Italian Wedding Soup in my previous post. What I said was that "after seeing the picture and reading the description, I don't have any plans to try [the green chile.]" In other words, the chef has created a dish that I find particularly unappetizing. That's all. Any other judgment that you are implying I made towards MacKissock or his restaurant is entirely of your own contrivance.

I did not describe how I might deconstruct green chile because I thought my impromptu creation ought to be featured in this blog or on a restaurant menu. In truth, I don't think Green Chile needs to be deconstructed at all. I did so to illustrate how I felt you could do such a thing using three simple components if you really wanted to. The three components I described are indeed all very straightforward, despite whatever French terminology might appear in their names. It was not my intention to confound you.

I have yet to read anything about what you thought of The Squeaky Bean's Green Chile. Your original post quoted by Patricia Calhoun only mentions that you think it's a great restaurant and that people who don't think the chile looks or sounds appealing are unadventurous diners. I thought that was a pretty silly argument, and explained why.

The juvenile commentary ("assclown") that Ms. Calhoun edited out of her quote probably indicates that your point of view has already been given more consideration than it deserves.

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