As a New Mexico native, my ideal comfort foods typically include tortillas, chile, and some kind of slow-cooked meat. Scores of spots in Denver can satisfy that craving—El Camino Community Tavern and City O’ City are two of the best—but Leña’s chilaquiles pull me in time and again.
In fact, my introduction to the five-month-old Latin American restaurant on Broadway came in the form of this traditional Mexican dish. Leña’s personal-size cast-iron skillet arrived hot from the wood-fired oven and stacked with layers of crispy, house-made corn tortillas, braised chicken, and roasted tomato salsa. A perfectly cooked, sunny-side up egg sat on top; when popped, the yolk created a silky sauce that seeped into the dish and added flavor and warmth to each bite.
The thoughtful mashup of flavors encouraged me to try more of chef Toby Prout’s cooking. Between cutting into the hearty morcilla (blood sausage) with chimichurri and roasted tomato and the duck albóndigas (Spanish-style meatballs), my friends and I nabbed orders of the ceviche de pescado to refresh our palates. The bright, citrusy combination of albacore tuna, ají amarillo (a type of chile), orange, and celery offset the rest of the largely meat-centric menu. To best experience the full spectrum of Leña, try mixing and matching dishes from across the menu—but be sure to never miss those amazing chilaquiles. 24 Broadway, 720-550-7267
Chilaquiles – $12
Ceviche de Pescado – $13
Morcilla – $9
Albóndigas de Pato – $12
Chorizo Criollo – $9