Monday, April 2, 2012

DLT Stop #1, ChoLon Bistro

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Stop #1 on the Denver Lunch Tour (#denverlunchtour) was at ChoLon Bistro.  ChoLon is an Asian bistro serving some modern Asian fare.  I had relatively high expectations going into the restaurant based on what I had read about the chef and the reviews I'd seen.  To be honest, I hate having high expectations.  I'm one of those people that believes high expectations equals extreme disappointment.  I tried to mellow them out and say to myself that this was only lunch, so it may not be as good.
Thankfully, my high expectations were too low.  One review mentioned that the sweet onion dumplings were not to be missed.  We started with those.  The dumplings had the appearance of a normal Asian dumpling, yet when prodded with a chopstick, their texture was similar to what I imagine a jellyfish feels like (without the sting).  The waitress recommended we let them cool, which I did. . . but not long enough.  The first dumpling was a little fireball forcing me to awkwardly exhale as though that would somehow cool it down.  Despite the heat, the taste was evident, I was eating french onion soup in dumpling form.  I don't even like french onion soup, but this flavor was remarkable.
For my main entree, I went with the fish tacos.  Another dish that is somewhat uncharacteristic of me, but the waitress said it was good.  As you can see from the photo, the tacos came out tostada-style.  I can't stand tostadas.  They're like uncooked nachos or stale tacos.  They looked attractive enough that I took a photo, but I was concerned that I couldn't fold them.  Another issue I have with tacos is that when you start to eat them, the food falls out the back like a drunk on a wagon train.  You know what's bizarre about all these issues that I concerned myself with?  It's as though they had a meeting beforehand to determine how they would address them.  The tacos were actual tacos that could be folded (without breaking), and the ingredients stayed on the taco through my last bite.  I didn't have to push any ingredients back on to the the taco with my pinkie finger (my designated clean finger while eating. . . don't ask me why).  The flavors were remarkable.  Not one flavor overpowered another, which was tough to believe considering the amount of fresh cilantro that was piled on.  With Mexican tacos, you usually have one strong ingredient like salsa that takes over, but this was perfectly balanced.
I was full without being uncomfortable, and the meal was relatively inexpensive considering the quality.  For Stop #1, I am now concerned about how the rest of the restaurants will be able to stack up against ChoLon Bistro.  Rest assured, I am keeping my expectations as low as possible.
Cha Ca La Taco

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