Sunday, February 12, 2012

The New Menu at Rio Grande, Denver

I got together last week with a bunch of fellow bloggers in the Front Range to taste test the new menu at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant in Denver.

I know what you're thinking: The Rio? The place with the giant neon sign that says "Limit 3" margaritas? They serve food there? The answer is a resounding YES.

In classic Speakeasy Kitchen, I got through eating half of it before I even thought to look for my camera. And then when I did, I realized I didn't have it with me -- purse re-organization took place just two days before and the camera never made it back into place. But I did manage to snap a few pics with my trusty iPhone.

The Rio has been making margs and food for 26 years -- a long time in a business where longevity doesn't usually come with the territory. The owners attribute it to their lifelong friendships, their enthusiastic staff, and the healthfulness and simplicity of the food. Their menu is inspired by their Latin American travels and they carefully source their ingredients, taking pains to get even simple things right. Everything from their black bean recipe from Yucatan to the queso verduras from Belize to the fresh salads was served with pride!

Take, for instance, their shrimp diabla. It was one of my favorite things on the menu. They get shrimp from Mazatlan and the flour tortillas are handmade in-house. The perfectly-cooked shrimp had a brilliant texture and the chili arbol set my mouth en fuego!

Pat and the gang pulled out all stops for us and in addition to having a great meal with great company, we also had a few tasty beverages. While Rio still makes their famous, rock solid margaritas, I was also delighted to learn that they also make a delicious virgin mango margarita for minors, pregnant women, and teetotalers alike.

The Rio Grande... it's not just for the mind-erasing margaritas anymore!