100 Favorite Dishes: Sushi - any sushi - from Land of Sushi
Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 83: Sushi -- any sushi -- from Land of Sushi
Despite the fact that we've torpedoed Land of Sushi with lavish love, it still may be the most undiscovered and underrated sushi bar in Denver, but that's certainly not the fault of chef Ben Liu, whose exquisite fish outperforms the sharks that sell their sushi and sashimi for double -- even triple -- the price. I've eaten here multiple times -- perhaps more than any other Denver restaurant -- turning both my teenager and my dad (a meat-and-potatoes man through and through) into reluctant addicts of mackerel and monkfish liver, salmon collar and uni.
It's an easy sell. True, the name makes you blink in confusion ("Ocean of Sushi" would have made much more sense), the flashing neon sign is more brothel than bluefin, and its location, tucked into an obscure corner of a strip mall, isn't particularly handsome, but, oh, the fish! Beneath the razor-sharp edge of Liu's knife lurk translucent sea scallops and tangles of fresh herbs; luscious sea urchin roe beckons in it wraps of nori; rich toro shines like luxurious silk; stunningly fresh whole mackerel vertically perches on the stark white plate like a silver statue; and freshly grated wasabi that tastes nothing like the stuff squeezed from the tube, is available -- and worth it -- for a small price. His presentations are magnificent, too, stopping you, at least momentarily, from stabbing your chopsticks into the flesh. And you'll want to admire Lui's creative artistry for as long as it takes you to swim the sea.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:
No. 100: Foie gras oysters from Sushi Sasa
No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi
No. 98: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino
No. 97: Nachos from the Pioneer
No. 96: Fried pickles from TAG Burger Bar
No. 95: Breakfast burrito from Jalapeños Mexican restaurant
No. 94: Jajangmyeon from Yong Gung Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant
No 93: French fries from Jonesy's EatBar
No. 92: Fried rice from Benihana
No. 91: Lobster macaroni and cheese from Mizuna
No. 90: Schezuan beef in numbing chile oil from Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine
No. 89: lamb tartare from Epernay
No. 88: Reuben from the Bagel Deli
No 87: Wood-fired chicken from Pizzeria Basta
No. 86: Watermelon and frisee salad from EDGE
No. 85: Chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash from Sassafras
No. 84: English pea agnolotti from Harman's Eat & Drink