Fuji MT Hibachi & Sushi
16064 Jackson Creek Pkwy., Monument, 481-6688, fujimtasian.com
Restaurant decor seldom gets prettier than this: lavender walls in the expansive hibachi area, cherry-blossom-pink walls on the sushi side, and a backlit bar with chic rectangular sparkle lights and glass chandeliers dangling from exposed black ceiling space. Fuji's is a beautiful Asian aesthetic fused with hyper-modernity.
My abundant hibachi combination lunch special ($11.50; pick two of four proteins, includes a small soup, salad and rice) in turn fuses shrimp and salmon with stir-fried zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and carrots. A side soy-ginger sauce and creamy, tangy, mildly spicy seafood sauce are the highlights, respectively saving the overly fishy (not fresh-tasting) salmon and enlivening the basic prawns and veggies. Though the clear soup recalls an overly watery chicken broth, a great ginger dressing makes the salad's iceberg exciting, and fried brown rice is well-worth 50 cents extra. — Matthew Schniper
115 E. Fillmore St., 633-6900
Like a lot of people who either used to eat there or still do, 2000 Wok is a part of my life. I don't even think the food at the 13-year-old former Taco Bell is that good. But it's not that bad, either, and there's just so much of it, and it's so cheap — every entrée is $1.98. Of course, when I first started going there it was $1.35 (and there was a bullet hole in the window). But 2000 Wok will always be the place that taught me about Sriracha; the only place I've ever known where you should order everything to-go because, supposedly, the portions are bigger.
And sure, during my recent visit the fried rice has only shreds of egg in it; and the lo mein's a little soft; and the anise-spiked pepper-steak curiously softer still. But the breaded spicy chicken's got it where it counts; the egg rolls are crisp; and the wontons come five at a time. Plus, hey, it's the Wok. — Bryce Crawford
Mission Coffee Roasters
11641 Ridgeline Drive, #170, 203-5163, missioncoffeeroasters.com
In an office park within sight of Cafe Velo, Mission quietly opened in early April, primarily as a wholesaler to nonprofits that want to raise money through custom-label coffees. Locally, bags support the Springs Rescue Mission, UpaDowna and Abundant Harvest Community Garden Outreach. (See Side Dish, Oct. 10, 2012 for more on Mission's background.)
Owner Brett Bixler serves me a beautiful 6-ounce double Viennese cappuccino ($2.75) when asked what he'd drink. In it, a double-shot of house-blend, light-roast espresso meets steamed milk and froth, hand-shaved chocolate and cinnamon. "It's a real drink that you could actually get at Caffe Florian in St. Mark's Square in Venice or in Café Central in Vienna," he says. For lovers of the sweet-bombs: manager Mike Morrone's Cinnamon Caramel Splendor Latte ($3.85/16 ounces) makes a fine option. — Matthew Schniper
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