Can I recommend a great place to meet up with friends after work? I recently discovered that Cho 77, which relocated from South Broadway to the 16th Street Mall earlier this year (and is located to two of Chef Lon Symensma’s other restaurants – Le Roux and ChoLon), has an excellent Happy Hour deal every Mon-Sat 2-6pm and Tues-Sat 9pm-close, which includes 20% off all “bites” (appetizers) and $2-5 off various drinks, allowing you to get a big discount on many of the items on the menu. Perfect for when you’re not into going to a bar and don’t want to go to a super fancy restaurant, but still want good food.
The website for Chef Lon Symensma’s restaurant has a freewheeling, casual vibe, so I was totally surprised by the beautiful and sophisticated design of the dining room by Semple Brown. Loved the intricately patterned black and white wallpaper and the wood slatted ceilings.
Here are my picks on what to order at the restaurant, currently led by Executive Chef Jeff Stoneking.
BITES (These are 20% off during Happy Hour):
General Cho’s Soup Dumplings ($12) – Ok, so this is not Din Tai Fung (but what is???), but these petite little XLB’s are tasty, albeit on the pricey side especially since you only get 4 pieces. However, worth getting during HH. The feature a chicken and ginger broth filling.
Pork Belly “Bao Mi” Buns ($9) – Two good pork belly buns and a great price at HH. Nicely cooked pork belly spread with Sriracha mayo and piled with cucumber and some pickled veggies.
We also got the Indian Lamb Meatballs ($9). They were super spicy and served in a tomato vindaloo sauce with yogurt and roti flatbread. The four meatballs didn’t really stick together – they separated into piles of meat as soon as you tried to pick them up with a chopstick. This dish was a little too much fire for my personal taste, but my husband really liked it.
HOT BOWLS (No discount during Happy Hour, but reasonably priced entrees that are very tasty):
Thai Coconut Curry ($14) – The description doesn’t really convey that is actually a bowl of curry with tons of noodles, so I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived because you know me, I cannot get enough of noodles in any dish. The curry is slightly spicy and has chicken meat, mustard greens, and a bowl of fixings (lime, pickled veggies, cilantro, and fried wontons).
Drunken Rice Noodles ($14) – Possibly my favorite dish there – Wide noodle dish with stir-fried ground pork, egg, green peppercorn sauce.
One note – the menu is pretty meat-heavy, with only a handful of vegetarian options (none of which I’ve tried so far). It seems to me that the most appealing-sounding dishes do feature meat or poultry in them, so just be aware when you go in, especially if you’re dining with someone with food restrictions.
Cho77 – 1520 16th St, Ste 102, Denver, CO 80202, (720) 638-8179