Dine & Dash takeover: This week, in tandem with our summer guide, we venture to Denver’s graffiti mural-rich River North Art District (RiNo). We sample a classic, a newbie and a one-of-its-kind in Colorado. This is just a snapshot from a very happening area with options aplenty.
Long before RiNo became the vibrant scene it is today, The Walnut Room set up shop in what was then an area of abandoned warehouse spaces. As an eatery and music venue it anchored the cool neighborhood that would come to be.
Nowadays, it’s almost dated, but that’s not to say their pizza’s not respectable and their sandwiches fine bites too. Our 10-inch Don Ho ups the typical Hawaiian ante with Tabasco and minced garlic adding sharpness to the sweet pineapple and rich ham elements.
Ample dried oregano adds aroma and an herbal punctuation to tart tomato sauce, while the thin crust limps texturally toward the pie’s center but chews nicely at the edges. The Fat Bastard sandwich arrives on spongy house-made baguette with a little crunch to its crust, stuffed with layers of meats (turkey, roast beef, smoked ham, salami and pepperoni) and provolone freshened by standard lettuce and tomato garnishes, plus mustard, mayo and vinaigrette for creamy and acidic offset.
It’s nothing you haven’t had before, but it’s a fine rendition with quality ingredients and it’s a fair $12.75 considering a side item and pickle. We’re more than pleased with our Loaded Mezcal Paloma, made with Ilegal Joven mezcal and Stiegl Grapefruit Radler (lower ABV, grapefruit juice infused Austrian lager) in place of typical grapefruit juice.
Lime garnish sets off the bitter grapefruit forwardness before the mezcal’s smoky essence pervades the middle flavor and it finishes faintly sweet and nicely carbonated from the beer. What remains from the tall-boy can is presented as a beer back, so you end up with two drinks really for only $10, a rare deal. For liquid dessert, we close with Southern Coffee, the good dark stuff with Bulleit Bourbon and Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Cream Liqueur added in good balance, thankfully not cloying.