The Yukon Rock-N-Roll Bar & Grill
525 S. Circle Drive, 465-2395
We are greeted first by a sign outside banning weapons, then Boston's "More Than a Feeling" playing loudly overhead, then a friendly server, and finally by the menu's image of a lumberjack with an electric guitar slung over his shoulder in place of an ax. I guess that's the best way to bridge the thematic gap between the frontier and this slick bar adorned with gold records and more guitars.
A table-talker talks up Braveheart Black Angus Beef's "fearless commitment to quality," so we man-up with the half-pound Yukon Stuffed Burger ($9.95) and third-of-a-pound Sloppy Sombrero ($8.95). The former's cherry peppers and mushrooms indeed do the trick, making for a damn respectable bar burger. The latter's green chile — the corn-starch-textured, home-style kind, but with good flavor and heat — is its finest attribute. Otherwise, the burger's buried under nacho fixins and generic corn chips, masquerading as a Frito Pie. — Matthew Schniper
Jersey Mike's Subs
737 N. Academy Blvd., 434-3377, jerseymikes.com
The litany of seemingly interchangeable sandwich shops popping up everywhere continues with Jersey Mike's, a national franchise with 10 locations in Colorado alone. And, per the name, its walls are stacked with blown-up postcards from the East Coast, plus photos and surfboards, all against burnt-red and eggshell-blue paint.
But Mike's manages to stand out through some small things — like, the use of an actual meat slicer to cut what look like preformed loaves of meat — and through bigger ones. For instance, the giant grilled-pastrami Reuben ($11.95) tastes pretty damn good. Now, something's lost in translation by replacing the traditional rye with a tube of white bread, but what you gain is the perfect face-feeding receptacle for all that steaming hot pastrami and molten Swiss cheese. Mike's also makes theirs with ample kraut, which lots of restaurants don't, and the Thousand Island ratio creates pure gooey bliss. — Bryce Crawford
405 N. Union Blvd., 633-8881
Icheeban opened in this former Rita's Mexican Kitchen location in mid-May, transforming the formerly drab space into a very cute tribute to Japan: a pink cherry blossom branch extends across one wall in mural form, while koi fish swim across another and beaded trees arise from scraggly faux grass inside decorative bowls at each table.
Just as much attention has gone into the food under chef/owner Jin Young, a 20-plus-year professional culinarian. Young makes her own rich bone-broth soups and uses noticeably fresh veggies in her fried rice and sesame-oil-forward salads. For the stir-fries, she concocts a delicious, honey-sweet, garlic-heavy, soy-and-white wine sauce that sports a gorgeous, surprising cinnamon edge. From the tiny menu, get the flavorful combo ($11.99 includes drink) for a mix of beef, chicken and shrimp with big bell peppers and onions. This is truly a wok apart. — Matthew Schniper