Jinkuik Gumtang Korean Restaurant
2917 Galley Road, 591-7764
The former Café Banzai spot, still sparsely decorated and oddly airy with a blaring TV, has become a new eatery whose signage is all Korean (translated on my receipt as Jinkuik Gumtang), save for the words "Korean Restaurant." That seeming authenticity, reinforced by menu descriptions like that of the chicken ginseng soup ($17.99) — "ginseng, ability mushrooms, astragalus, debt, garlic, glutinous" — becomes undermined, or at least confounding, upon tasting.
The soup broth, despite a whole root, dates, garlic bulbs and oil spots on its surface, tastes entirely bland and watery, and the wan, gray-skinned poultry follows suit with zero flavor. Requested chili paste barely enlivens the sadness. Pork bulgogi ($8.99/lunch) lacks its typical citrus-tenderized zest and sweetness, rating below average locally. Free hot tea is nice, as are mushrooms and three types of kimchi in the complimentary banchan, at least. — Matthew Schniper
9 Capitol Hill Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1011, miramontcastle.org
Whether you take Miramont's 30-room Victorian tour or not, Queen's Parlour Tea Room awaits you, bathed in daylight from 11 to 2 during newly launched Throw Back Thursdays. Two options plus a salad and non-alcoholic drink is $11.95 (20 percent off for local employees and residents), with fancy adornments such as silver garden-bug napkin rings adding charm.
My gluten-free Mexican lasagna, basically a chicken enchilada, proves flavorful despite a tough edge, and the garden salad with hearty kale and beet greens, feta, walnuts, pears and beets gifts fresh crunch. Bell peppers stuffed with rice and ground beef don't measure up, though, its sauce indistinguishable from canned tomato paste. Nutmeg-forward buttermilk pie presents nicely, if a bit small for $5 extra. Another $5 for Monkey Picked White hot tea is worthwhile, though I prove the real simian when I knock over our dainty Victorian mini-milk pitcher. — Matthew Schniper
5262 N. Nevada Ave., #100, 598-2969, overeasycolorado.com
University Village Colorado is quickly filling with interesting eating options, not to mention the universally beloved Trader Joe's, and to this mix Over Easy was added earlier this year. It takes advantage of the mountain views through a wall of western windows, not to mention another wall of living plants just to the left of the entrance.
The orange juice ($3.29) comes fresh-squeezed, which might mean you'll get a sour one like we did. (A perfectly acceptable risk, though.) A bowl of yogurt and granola ($6.99) sat artfully presented in two square, glass bowls, with a layer of tangy yogurt covered with house-mixed granola next to a gorgeous bowl of cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and grapes. Those seeking heavier fare should do the Wild Caught Lump Crab Cake Benedict ($12.99) which would've been wholly sublime were it not for one dark-yellow poached egg arriving completely solid. — Bryce Crawford