If there’s one thing that the Mile High City has in spades, it’s Mexican restaurants. No matter where you are across the metro area, you’re never far from a South of the border-inspired meal.
Despite this proliferation, the not-yet-month-old Que Bueno Suerte in Platt Park stands out from the pack. The latest project from Mission Yogurt Inc. (the parent company of various DIA restaurants such as Root Down DIA and Etai’s Bakery Cafe), Que Bueno Suerte occupies the former Session Kitchen space on South Pearl Street. The once industrial vibe of the room has given way to a warmer, more convivial feel with bright orange booths and backlit Mayan art; the stunning LED light installation above the bar remains.
And while the menu offers a few familiar favorites such as fajitas, tacos, and enchiladas, most of the selections go far beyond the cheese-laden combo plates you’ll find at the majority of Denver’s Mexican restaurants. Rather, consulting chef Dana Rodriguez (of Work & Class) and her fiancé, executive chef Vincent “Vinny” Sosa, have crafted a menu that celebrates contemporary regional Mexican fare. Translation: You’ll find finessed, fine dining-ready plates that pay homage to the traditional foods that both Rodriguez and Sosa grew up eating. Just take the “tuetano de res.” The roasted bone marrow is served with serrano chile-tomatillo jam, shaved red onion and cilantro salad, and house-made corn tortillas. The plating and the flavors may be high-end, but the dish is inspired by a simple soup that Rodriguez’s mother used to cook. “Everyone in the family would rush to be the first to the table so that we could get the bone marrow from the pot,” she recalls.
Other dishes take a similarly elegant approach to ingredients that, though now trendy, have long been affordable staples across Mexico. The “tocino fresco,” or pork belly, braised with mezcal and plated with white beans, a charred onion broth, salsa, and micro cilantro, is one such example. Another is an otherwise straightforward dish of grilled octupus, dressed up with a buttery sauce featuring huitlacoche, a corn fungus that’s considered a delicacy.
And if the grammatically incorrect name of the restaurant itself—“Bueno” should be “Buena” for correct gender agreement with the feminine “Suerte”—has you scoffing at any notion of authenticity, know this: The name is a very intentional call out to Mission Yogurt’s original Westminster location of the concept, Que Bueno Mexican Grille. The incongruousness of the appellation belies the legitimately delicious dining experience found within.
1518 S. Pearl St., 720-642-7322
—Photo by Rachel Adams