Da Mi Korean Restaurant
1683 Jet Wing Drive, 596-2580
A fish tank and stenciled walls brighten this small restaurant, which has been located in a sad, largely vacant strip mall for around three years. The pork, tofu and kimchi soup ($9.99) arrives at the table at a full rolling boil, a bright red, orange and yellow cauldron emitting sour fermented aromas and looking just mean. It is, with quite a spice bite and searing hotness throughout — cabbage and mixed veggie crunch mixing with tender tofu cubes and sinewy pork bites for an all-around great flavor.
The chicken bulgogi ($6.99) lunch special (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays) is more of a generous bento box, arriving with two mini eggroll dumplings, a mound of rice, a gingery cabbage salad, extra banchan (fermented side goodies) and a stack of soft chicken with faint sweet notes and a little grill flavor. The only thing missing: most of the advertised heat. — Matthew Schniper
1904 Southgate Road, 466-6111, larkburger.com
I've been eating stupid amounts of kale from my garden lately, so a recent 5280 Magazine newsletter caught my eye in offering a terse roundup of cool kale salads across the Boulder/Denver area, and cited Larkburger among the pack. The newsletter proclaimed "last year's 'it ingredient' is here to stay" — which I'm totally fine with, considering its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
Larkburger's baby kale salad ($5.95) needed an ahi tuna steak ($5) topper to be a meal of its own. But it was wholly fulfilling, the cruciferous leaf mound tossed with cilantro leaves, radish, cucumber, red onion slices, edamame and carrot chunks. A sharp tamari-ginger vinaigrette worked beautifully with the perfectly scantly seared, soft fish. (Note: A new menu update will sub out the baby for chopped kale and miso for tamari, says an employee.) — Matthew Schniper
12 S. Tejon St., 368-7677, marcos.com
Marco's took an interesting approach to the tightened credit markets: It loaned interested franchisees the money they needed. The result is a skyrocketing company the New York Times called "one of the most aggressive franchisers" — and that was in 2010, when stores totaled around 200. There are now more than 400 across the country, including the third Springs location, downtown in the old Arabica Café spot.
The outside remains a work in progress, but the wood-paneled, white-tableclothed inside is a beaut. There's gelato made locally, though an employee didn't know where, and damn good pizza ($4 for one slice and a drink): hefty and wide, with a sweet sauce reminiscent of Papa John's. Buffalo wings ($6.99 for 10) are mushy, but with pleasant zing. And a Steak and Cheese Sub ($5.99) brings gooey cheese, mushrooms and thin meat to soft, crusty bread. — Bryce Crawford