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Official Magazine of the Denver Bar Association

Comida Cantina Bar Review

 

Up just a few miles north from downtown in Denver’s River North Art District (RiNo) is a refreshingly edgy industrial food market called The Source. Within the shell of an 1880 brick foundry building, this market contains a compelling combination of dining experiences and retailers including the modern Mexican eatery, Comida Cantina.

Located at 3350 Brighton Boulevard, the delight of Comida is found in its location and its food – where delectable juxtaposition and cacophonous elements create complex and delicious harmonies.

When you arrive at The Source, you city dwellers will first be impressed with the parking. Not only is it free, but it is plentiful. And free and plenteous parking is only the beginning. Part of the unique charm of Comida is its location within The Source. Comida exists within this brick, iron and industrial shell with architectural elements that will delight the steampunk in all of us. As you enter The Source, you are greeted by a large open ceiling of the central nave with iron buttresses sweeping up and over the artisans beneath. As your eyes ease around the perimeter you will find yourself surrounded by the best of any marketplace, “a butcher, a baker, a produce purveyor, a florist, a coffee shop, a brewery, a distillery bar, a cheese shop, a gallery, a design store, a bank, and a bottle shop”—and on your immediate left, Comida.

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Comida features a special Happy Hour menu that includes $5 Margaritas and Cocktails and $2 Beers, as well as a variety of street snacks. Many of the members of the Docket Committee specialized drink analysis squad partook of the Watermelon Jalapeno Margarita, which is made up of jalapeno infused tequila, watermelon, agave and lime. Imagine yourself on a hill, or maybe in a vineyard, or possibly, at Comida, and in front of you is a perfectly ripe watermelon, freshly cut into triangular pieces. Take a bite and enjoy the refreshing sweet unpretentious flavor and now, as you are about to take another bite, add a charming touch of heat. Watermelon and jalapeno are unique flavors combined to make a tasty cocktail. A variety of additional drink options abound for any thirsty traveler, and the Agua de Jamaica Margarita is highly recommended as well.

In your eager consumption of the specialty spirits, don’t neglect the wide selection of unique and delicious salsas. Pairings of pineapple with habanero will surprise the senses with their gentle heat. The cucumber jalapeno crema is a salsa unlike any you have had before. Diced cucumber in a cream base creates a smooth and refreshing bonne bouche that will delight the salsa connoisseur. For the heat-seekers, the carrot habanero salsa emphasizes heat in exchange for any particularly unique flavor.

Regardless of your preference, each salsa is unique and unequivocally a reason for living.

In tribute to its taco truck roots, Comida’s happy hour menu contains a variety of $4 street snacks including spicy shrimp with jalapeno aioli, stuffed jalapenos with cucumber crema and tender belly hot dogs with queso fundido. While none of these bites will disappoint, the spicy shrimp with jalapeno aioli is especially toothsome.

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Comida also offers an excellent and reasonably priced full menu consistent with the above in both variety and flavor. The best of tacos, tortas, tostadas, gorditas and quesadillas fill the menu. One highlight is the camerones a la diabla tacos. This particularly inspired taco is crafted as spiced shrimp is placed on jalapeno grits, pico de gallo, avocado, lime, house crema and cotija. And, don’t forget about the griddled tacos: for only $3, you can choose from bacon and jalapeno, pork carnitas, or roasted chicken, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla and mixed with cotija, smoked gouda and asadero.

The charm of Comida is found in its ability to infuse each bite with authentic flavors borne of unique and unexpected combinations that build on their street food roots. “Little bites, affordable, quick and delicious. Comida is food that makes people crave it.” Located among a group of like-minded innovators, it is a dining experience you won’t want to miss.

 

Jardine-Headshot-1(1)By Ryan T. Jardine, a public finance attorney with Kutak Rock LLP in Denver. He may be reached at ryan.jardine@kutak-rock.com.

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