The Peak Grill
4423 Centennial Blvd., 260-6905, peakgrill.org
Peak Grill is such a welcoming little spot that the air literally smells like sugar. It even holds World War II-centric gatherings for local members of the Greatest Generation, while the dining room is full of related memorabilia and newspaper clippings.
Our server was also beaming a smile when she dropped off a carafe of water and a green, plastic pitcher of coffee, and took our order for a potato skillet ($7.89) with green chilies, chorizo and green salsa, and Barb's Best sandwich ($7.39). The decent former dish took fried eggs cooked in a little bit of water — called basted eggs — and put 'em on a layer of mild potato squares and salty sausage. The latter was a vegetarian star, however: Between buttered wheat toast, a soft bed of creamy avocado supported a middle row of grilled mushrooms, Havarti cheese and tomatoes, with meaty slices of tangy artichoke hearts tying it all down. — Bryce Crawford
Mr. Tandoori Urban Bar & Grill
310 S. Victoria Ave., Pueblo, 719/544-3000, mrtandooripueblo.com
Year-old Mr. Tandoori earned Best New and Best Vegetarian restaurant in the Pueblo Chieftain's Best of Pueblo 2012 guide last month. One reason why: English-accented chef/owner Parmy Kandola has spent more than 30 years cooking in the Northern Indian Punjabi style.
The restaurant's decor is splendid, with vibrant seat-back covers and velvety fabric draped from the ceiling. Attention to detail continues with drinks like complimentary cucumber water, a fantastic cardamom-rich iced tea and a gingery spiced chai (each $3) that are all perfectly non-sweet. At the unlimited lunch buffet ($10), Kandola's Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Makhani are outstanding and veggie dishes like saag and potatoes are equally bright. Though the meatballs are boring, not everything is labeled and steam turns some spoon handles into hand-scorchers, five dessert options, including a minced, spiced carrot mush and cinnamon-y rice pudding promise a sweet, stuffed departure. — Matthew Schniper
Las Cazuelas Mexican Restaurant
1855 N. Circle Drive, 799-6620
Conventional wisdom suggests that the more hole-in-the-wall a restaurant is, the better its food will be. Well, Las Cazuelas is nearly hidden in the centrally located North Circle Plaza, and comes tucked between Eye of the Beholder Thrift Store and Sonny's Hair Care & Barber — so far, so good.
But, while I can't speak to the menu overall, I wouldn't go back for what we got. The chips were OK; the plain bean-dip fine; and the thin salsa a delicious, spiky bomb. But the sincronizadas ($2.50) were as interesting a snack as those that come at soccer practice: thin triangles of tortilla holding generic ham and melted cheddar. The pescado empanizado ($8), a large, breaded filet that benefitted from lime, did better, but there's only so much to be said for the sides: too-smooth refried beans; overcooked rice; and a small, pale pile of shredded iceberg lettuce. — Bryce Crawford