Restau­rant Di­gest Poke; Big Gay Ice Cream; new Snooze

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Allyson Reedy Allyson Reedy (areedy@den­ver­ is food writer for The Den­ver He­len H. Richard­son, Den­ver Post file Den­ver Post file Post. On Twit­ter @AllysonBTC and In­sta­gram, AllysonEat­sDen.

I have spent way too much time think­ing about cubed, mar­i­nated, raw fish lately. That poke has con­sumed more of my brain space than, say, what’s go­ing on in the world around me or my chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion is prob­a­bly a cry for help, but we’ll just chalk it up to on-the­job re­search for the sake of po­lite­ness.

Af­ter all of my poke ru­mi­nat­ings, I keep com­ing back to the same thing — I just don’t think so, guys. I don’t think “Build it and they will come” is go­ing to work for poke in the Mile High City.

Last win­ter I went to Hawaii, where I ate a good amount of poke. (Poke — pro­nounced “po-kay” — is a Hawai­ian bowl of mar­i­nated, raw fish and, usu­ally, rice.) At the time, there were a few places do­ing it in Den­ver, like LoHi’s Ohana Is­land Kitchen, Boul­der’s Mo­tomaki (com­ing soon to the 16th Street Mall), Up­town’s Poke 303 and DTC’s PokeCity (also plan­ning more lo­ca­tions), but it wasn’t ev­ery­where.

Since that trip just a few months back, at least six more poke out­posts have ei­ther opened or are in the process of open­ing soon. There’s Den­ver Poke Com­pany on Platte Street (ap­par­ently we now need a full-on poke “com­pany”); Sushi Cup on Sev­enth Av­enue; Tur­tle Boat on Broad­way; Poke House on 17th Street; Port­land-based Quick­Fish Poke Bar go­ing into Avanti; and Chicago’s Aloha Poké Co. com­ing soon to Zep­pelin Sta­tion. Oh, and there are also a slew of non-poke res­tau­rants that now have poke on their menus, like Adrift, Mis­ter Tuna, De­par­ture, the Chow­der Room and bubu.

I re­ally like poke. When I was in Oahu, I’d drive more than an hour (each way!) to the other side of the is­land to get Aloha Poke (no re­la­tion to the Chicago chain) be­cause it was the best I found.

But in land­locked Colorado, I’m not crav­ing poke all that of­ten, and I’m skep­ti­cal that Den­ver’s poke de­mand will be enough to meet this huge in­flux of poke sup­ply.

Of the poke I’ve eaten here, I haven’t been im­pressed. Where’s the fu­rikake — a crunchy, salty, briny Ja­panese sea­weed sea­son­ing for rice? Do I re­ally want to spend $12 on a small bowl for lunch?

Tell me that the Den­ver poke in­va­sion of 2017 isn’t just a pass­ing trend but will be­come a way of life. That our chil­dren will look back on 2016 and shud­der to think that their par­ents only had three poke res­tau­rants to choose from. How did we live?

Or maybe I’m right and we’re al­ready past our cubed-mar­i­nated-raw-fish sat­u­ra­tion point. In which case I guess I should spend less time think­ing about poke and more time eat­ing it while I have it at the ready with­out need­ing an $800 plane ticket to Hawaii.


New York City fa­vorite Big Gay Ice Cream will be in Crested Butte on July 7 in con­junc­tion with the town’s mu­sic fes­ti­val. It’ll be scoop­ing out fa­vorite fla­vors “paired” with the sweet sounds of pi­anist Peter Du­gan and mez­zoso­prano Kara Du­gan. Still not sweet enough for you? Food Net­work judge and all-star pas­try chef Paulette Goto will be bak­ing treats and cakes to go with the ice cream and mu­sic.


You need to eat, and th­ese res­tau­rants need to make money feed­ing peo­ple. Make the syn­ergy hap­pen at th­ese re­cently opened spots:

• Snooze opened the first of two planned West­min­ster lo­ca­tions on June 28.

• Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar is now serv­ing in the Ar­vada Cen­ter­place, the chain’s 12th Colorado lo­ca­tion. 7450 B West 52nd

• Estes Park din­ner op­tions just got a lot bet­ter with Sea­soned, An Amer­i­can Bistro, a restau­rant by chef Rob Corey (The Stan­ley Ho­tel, The French Man­ner). 205 Park Lane,

• Sazza, the su­per-sus­tain­able pizza-meets-salad par­lor in­side the Stan­ley Mar­ket­place, started rolling dough on June 26. 2501

• La Chiva, the pop­u­lar Colom­bian food truck, opened a brick-and-mor­tar restau­rant on South Broad­way. 1417 S. Broad­way, ●●●

So much for April be­ing the cru­elest month; June has not been kind to Colorado bars and res­tau­rants. The Squeaky Bean shocked the Bingo Brunchlov­ing crowd with the de­ci­sion to close up shop on June 28.

“The dy­namic of Lower Down­town has changed over the last few years with Union Sta­tion and ‘New Den­ver’ be­hind Union Sta­tion,” owner Johnny Ballen said. “This Bean plant put out a lot of ni­tro­gen but un­for­tu­nately wasn’t get­ting enough wa­ter to sus­tain a longer life.”

Ballen said chef Josh Olsen will con­tinue to grow and op­er­ate the Bean’s farm and that the an­nual Thanks­giv­ing Feed for the Needy, a tra­di­tion started by the Aguirre fam­ily that owned Rosa Linda’s Cafe and which Squeaky took over two years ago when Rosa Linda’s closed, will live on.

No word (yet) on what will re­place the quirky restau­rant.

Two more clo­sures: • Amer­i­ca­tus, RiNo’s five-year-old Ital­ian restau­rant, went dark last week­end, leav­ing a ravi­o­li­sized hole in Den­ver’s fresh-made pasta scene.

• The Over­land, the Nathaniel Rateliff-backed bar that opened last July on South Broad­way, didn’t even make it a year.

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