I may be guilty of generalizing and stereotyping when I say this, but my intent bears warmth: Nobody rocks buffet-style service on a day-to-day basis like our fine Indian restaurants.
Perhaps the cuisine best lends itself to large-volume cooking, its thick sauces holding up well under heat lamps, and rice pudding staying tasty on ice. All I know is that ours are supremely satisfying buffets, for a good price point, that seem a natural part of a balanced diet — as in, you'll wanna hit one every few weeks to maintain your happiness.
Where breakfast buffets grow soggy, where Asian buffets tend to suffer from sameness, where Mexican buffets are just a bad idea, and where chocolate buffets should exist, Indian buffets soothe us with creamy and curried goodness. Here's to Himalayan-area flavor.
1747 S. Eighth St., 477-6997, lnepal.com
Though there's a daily lunch buffet ($9.99), you'll only find a dinner buffet ($16.99) on Thursday nights at Little Nepal. It was clear to me that it has its own loyal following when I bumped into three people I knew there, followed by super friendly co-owner Muku Bhandari telling me how he'd already flipped the entire dining room from a first wave by the time I'd arrived around 8.
You can obviously get your glutton on, with a wide selection of curries, tandoori dishes, vindaloos and the like, to be mopped up by fantastic house naan bread or crispy papadum (cracker) pieces. On the whole, I favored the vegetarian plates: a lovely tomato-coconut soup; great saag paneer (creamy spinach with giant house cheese chunks); and the sweet potato masala in a velvety cream sauce. It may be big-batch cooking, but it delivers big flavor. — Matthew Schniper
Colorado Mountain Brewery
11202 Rampart Hills View, 434-5750, cmbrew.com
Ahead of CMB's upcoming summer expansion into the historic Midland Terminal Railroad Roundhouse, I felt it apropos to drop into the original location to sample the consistency of the beers that have launched it all. The spot features five flagship beers and up to five more seasonals, and has garnered a bit of a following around its 10-gallon Brewer's Whimsy releases at 5 p.m. every Tuesday.
Upon the barkeep's recommendation, I went with the 6.3 percent ABV Monumental Stout ($4/pint). Through careful malt manipulation, brewmaster Andy Bradley has crafted a surprisingly light beer that pours dark as night and produces a fine creamy head. Although no coffee is used in the brewing process, the first sip is all coffee flavor, before getting chased off by a delicate hint of chocolate. This stout comes off as eminently drinkable, year-round. — Steve Hitchcock
Drake Hill Bar & Grill
3840 N. Nevada Ave., 633-0103
The duckiest bar on North Nevada Avenue offers almost no traces of the old Café El Paso. Instead, local collegiate banners, framed sports photos and throwback football helmets surround diners at Drake Hill.
First, of course, you have to get to the dining room. To that end, a couple notes: Someone may, or may not, answer the phone if you call, and the front door's actually the back door, so go in the side.
As for the food, ours took about half an hour, perhaps because most everything was cooked too long. The cod fish and chips ($5), battered in Breckenridge Brewery's Lucky U IPA, were probably good before being forgotten in the fryer; ditto for the onion rings. The hand-cut chips varied between cauterized and raw. Prices were good, though, and so was the grilled chicken club ($7) — even if the bacon was burnt and the chicken a little dry. — Bryce Crawford