January 24 2006, 10:00 PM
At last...Nearly two months after Colorado Expression wrote Undici was open for business, the Englewood Italian restaurant finally threw open its doors on Monday to seat hungry diners for lunch and dinner. "For months the phone has been ringing off the hook," says spokesman Pierre Wolfe. "Everyone wants to know when they can come in." We previewed the space a couple months back and even at the tail end of construction the dining room and lounge looked inviting and sleek. "I wanted it to be 85 percent old-school and 20 percent modern," says owner Alex Kallas, of the Kallas family who runs Steakhouse 10. We're anxious to taste Chef Pietro DiMarchi's foodespecially the sublime gnocchi we remember from the late GiamPietro's in Northglenn. 1200 E. Hampden Ave., Englewood, 303-761-2828. Con mucho gusto...The holidays are no time to open a restaurant, as it's almost a given that the excitement of a new eatery gets lots in the shuffle. One such restaurant (which opened just before Thanksgiving) not to lose sight of is Chama in BelMar. Chef Sean Yontz's (of Tamayo, Vega, and Mezcal) latest project is a modern Mexican restaurant that combines rustic Georgia O'Keeffe and sleek HW Home. Yontz and Gerard Encinas designed Chama to look like "an old home with some modern touches," says Yontz. "We based most of the design on works from Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect whose work is very bold and simple." The menu takes a similar tack with dishes such as red chile pork tamales with eggs and the slow-roasted baby pork ribs with smoky jalapeño barbeque sauce with beans and Mexican coleslaw. What keeps us coming back is the promise of affordable prices (entrées range from $11 to $19), unlimited homemade chipotle salsa (our favorite of the available trio), and the potent pomegranate margaritas. 425 S. Teller St., Lakewood, 303-935-5170, www.chamarestaurant.com. Long live the king...Last week Chef Hosea Rosenberg from Jax Fish House Boulder won his fourth straight Flatiron Chef Competition. The competition is set up like the Food Network's Iron Chef showtwo chefs dueling in the kitchen, a secret ingredient unveiled (this time a leg of lamb), and an hour to create a dish for 100 diners. I was one of four judges at the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield last Thursday evening to blindly taste and vote on Rosenberg's and Bloom's Thomas Roberts dishes. It was close, but Rosenberg's fennel-crusted lamb with spiced kumquats and an artichoke-manchego croquette overshadowed Bloom's lamb with goat cheese, Boursin, and spinach ravioli. The next chef to give Rosenberg a run for his money is Nick Roberts from Aji in Boulder on February 23 at 6 p.m. To attend the next competition (and enjoy a five-course meal with wine pairings for $75), call 303-464-3207 for reservations. Omni Interlocken Resort & Spa, 500 Interlocken Blvd. Broomfield.