Chopsticks Asian Bistro lives in a magical food corner of southern Colorado Springs, where it's joined by Carlos Miguel's — which, in 2008, we reported "takes Mexican to another level" — and Walter's Bistro, which Indy readers just named the Best Neighborhood Restaurant: South.
As for the reputation of Chopsticks itself, all you need to see are the comments left on csindy.com: "This is a top-notch restaurant, every bit as good as PF Chang's, only it is not a chain," reads one. "Exactly what you're looking for in a restaurant, little guys trying hard to be the best," goes another.
When we considered how to complete this week's south-central-north trifecta, it was all this love that spurred us to check out the bistro for ourselves.
Chopsticks Asian Bistro
120 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 579-9111, chopsticksasianbistro.com
Chopsticks is minimalist through and through. The walls are sparsely accented with decorations and colored either white or in pale pastels; the lunch menu's divided into meat-specific sections, with one price point at the top of each; and the food is clean and bright, with distinct flavor and presentation.
The Orange Flavored Chicken ($9) comes with your choice of soup — the thick and bold hot and sour, or the demure wonton, are both great options — and a mild fried rice with peas and diced carrots. Poultry-wise, I was expecting battered and fried chunks, à la Panda Express; instead, the white-meat pieces are glazed and grilled, then tossed in a tangy brown sauce featuring sliced orange rinds and those fiery Japones peppers that look so little but say a lot. — Bryce Crawford
19 E. Kiowa St., 471-8622
Enlightening myself as to why our readers voted V Bar the Best Bar for a Martini this year, I stop in and learn that mixologist and GM Louis Chavez has just updated his cocktail list, with around 20 newly created drinks. (V Bar also just started offering neighbor Conscious Table's food menu from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.)
Chavez says he's been researching classic drinks such as fizz cocktails and trying to put his own twist on them, so you'll notice ingredients that enhance the body (of the drink, not yours), like egg whites. I try the Kraken ($8): Bacardi's Fijian Seven Tiki Spiced Rum, organic Tazo Chai, Choco Noir, Licor 43 (vanilla) and half & half with a float of Kraken rum on top. It's chocolate-forward with a quick chai spice kick, super-creamy and fairly potent. Order it if you like White Russians. — Matthew Schniper
El Super Taco
1485 Jamboree Drive, 266-6633
A city can never have too many places to grab good Mexican, and now the Springs' north side has another with the recent opening of El Super Taco's second location in an old Taco Bell outside the Chapel Hills Mall.
Redone in oranges and yellows, and packed with tile and stonework, the interior provides the nicest fast-food-joint reboot I've seen. The staff — or, more specifically, the one guy taking orders for the drive-thru and lobby (one full of cars, the other with cadets) — is helpful and well-informed. And the food's not bad at all: A Super Adobado Burrito ($5.79) offers marinated pork, good refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo in a big grilled tortilla, while the tender carne asada chimichanga's ($6.99) perfectly fried with quality sides. — Bryce Crawford