Heart of Jerusalem
3242 Centennial Blvd., 227-3989, heartofjerusalemcafe.com
The petite shopping center opposite the King Soopers atop Fillmore hill has hosted a variety of restaurants, cafés and shops since it was built. Now, it hosts the third and newest of Hussein Abukhdeir's Best Of-winning restaurants. Here, the dining situation leaves a little to be desired, as the small room quickly fills with the smell of hot cooking oil, thick and unpleasant.
But the food remains delicious. The Heart of Jerusalem sandwich ($12.99/combo, $8.99/alone) and its tender beef/lamb/chicken payload still comes wrapped in a za'atar-seasoned pita, grilled panini style, with banana peppers adding needed acid to cut the rich meat and garlicky house "gazaziki" sauce. We opt for falafel as a side, and the heart-shaped wonders satisfy with crunch and prominent sesame flavor, notably heavier than most local takes but no less satisfying. Sadly, we were overcharged for the meal by a few bucks. — GS
503 W. Colorado Ave., 471-3370, 503w.co
Several friends have made a habit of 503W's weekend brunch (9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.), and their good reports finally got me by for the Bloody Mary bar ($6/each) and pork-prevalent menu. The former shines prettily in morning light atop a corrugated steel display, stocked with half a dozen hot sauce choices, Worcestershire, peperoncini, olives, celery spears, lime wedges and several carafes of tomato juice options. I go for a spicy sludge, which nicely masks the burn of a well vodka (craft upcharges are available), and make myself an enjoyable sipper.
The biscuits and gravy ($5) rate average, nothing super distinguishing about the gravy or sausage crumble. I'd skip 'em to return for the killer, paleo-friendly Lucky Belly ($9), a plate of sweet potato home fries intermixed with fabulously fatty bits of pork belly doused in Sriracha aioli, topped in eggs. It's got unctuousness, saltiness, spiciness, sweetness — pretty much all a morning mouth could want. — MS
Taste at the FAC
30 W. Dale St., 634-5583, csfineartscenter.org
Pre-theater dining continues at the Fine Arts Center Thursday through Saturday nights and for Sunday brunch during shows, with prix fixe menus ($39/per person for three courses) now provided by The Food Designers (the catering outfit also behind Venue32 in Old Colorado City). In prior to one of the final showings of Shear Madness, we sip a cloying Makers Mark Old Fashioned ($7.50) from the Deco Lounge and launch into a fine, light first course of salad with a bright lemon thyme vinaigrette and pumpkin-lentil soup with a mascarpone dollop that's a bit muddy with the legume flavor.
Truffle mash potatoes star on a mushroom and sage-sauced chicken plate, bested by show-stopping squash ravioli bathed in honey-lavender brown butter. Dessert pits a chocolate-pudding-channelling pot de crème against a beautifully citric cranberry orange cake, really more of a muffin in a ramekin. We're beyond full when the house lights drop. — MS