Reader: Denverites sure have a thin skin when it comes to criticism of the food scene

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denver.org
Jen Jasinski, James Beard award-winning chef, was name-checked by USA Today.
We've just published our annual Best of Denver issue, which includes more than a hundred awards in the Food and Drink section alone, all for winning restaurants, chefs and dishes that make the Denver dining scene something worth celebrating. For instance, there's Rioja, which just won Best Chef's Counter, almost ten years after Jen Jasinski and Beth Gruitch opened their restaurant, it's better than ever, and Jasinski was just name-checked by USA Today. But despite such accolades, one reader thinks that the scene still has a long way to go....

See also: "Don't appreciate Denver's dining scene? Don't let the door hit you on your way out!"

Says Marlon:

I love Denver. Been living here for years. But people around here sure have a thin skin when it comes to criticism of the food scene. And I think this attitude, at least in part, contributes to the city's continued lackluster culinary culture.

Maybe it's time to admit most of the eateries in Denver, when compared to other large cities (e.g., Chicago), just aren't that good. And then maybe -- just maybe -- we will begin to vote with our wallets, market forces will work their magic, and we'll find ourselves with Indian, Thai, and Middle Eastern restaurants on par with...Omaha.

How thin is Denver's skin? Find more of this discussion here.




Location Info

Rioja

1431 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

...and self-aggrandizing texass transplants need to go home since they miss it so much

Stan Salazar
Stan Salazar

Denverites & so-called "natives" need to calm their tits about everything.

AJ Alt Sr.
AJ Alt Sr.

Methinks your latest awards were less than comprehensively researched, and disagreed with readers far too frequently.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

Well, there's thoughtful criticism, and then there's just lame sweeping generalizations and faulty logic. To start with, Denver is about a quarter the size of Chicago; Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the US while Denver is somewhere in the mid-20s. A more thoughtful comparison would be between cities of roughly the same size and age. Denver has also been fairly isolated compared to major shipping and industry cities like Chicago. Recognizing why Denver doesn't have a long history of any one particular cultural influence makes it easier to understand why there's no real single regional cuisine, like BBQ, Cajun and creole, Italian, German, etc. 


So, yeah, the food culture here is pretty young and not particularly focused, but I would hardly say it's lackluster compared to other cities of a similar size and economic background. Maybe the top handful of restaurants seem a little trend-driven, but if you look at who won the best chef award this year, it went to a chef at a restaurant that's been around for something like 20 years or more.


Denver has a small Thai population, but there are a few outstanding examples of great Thai food. Denver also has a thriving and competitive Middle Eastern scene. I'd like to see a little less reliance on the standard menu items, but at the same time, I just recently had a really tasty lamb and okra stew for lunch at a restaurant that does Lebanese and Persian specialties. 


Denver has great variety and quality in Mexican, Vietnamese, and Ethiopian. I've eaten Ethiopian at what was supposedly the best the San Francisco Bay area had to offer, and it was mediocre compared to what Denver has to offer. I've had pho in other cities that were practically Campbell's Soup compared to what we can get here. 


At the same time, there are many cities in the US where you can walk into any Greek or German restaurant almost at random and get better food than the versions available here. So pick your battles, search out the good stuff, don't compare apples to oranges, and keep an open mind. I'd much rather live in an under-appreciated city like Denver where you can feel like an explorer and can feel the elation of a eating a great meal that hasn't been dissected by a thousand critics and Yelpers before you. Just have a little fun! Sure, criticize what's truly bad, but lighten up a little and stop thinking about what they're doing in other cities.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

...says the woman from her FB account. I guess only life and death issues are the only things that should ever be debated.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... nothing like a little tit calming to set the mood.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

Methinks? Good sir, kindly explain thyself. Dost thou have differing opinions? Stand and deliver!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Mantonat  ... Lori admits Wasteword staff was rushed and harried trying to visit dozens -- out of hundreds -- of restaurants during the final week of compiling The "Best" of issue.


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