Table Talk for March 18

March 18 2008, 10:00 PM
Best Bites: Indulge's Chocolate Lava Cake and French 250's Chocolate Soufflé Last week took us to Indulge French Bistro, a two-month-old restaurant tucked on the north edge of the Highland neighborhood. The eatery took over what used to be Mikey's Italian Bistro, and though Indulge is more polished than Mikey's ever was, it retains the same sense of being a neighborhood gathering spot. There were some service hiccups but nothing so dire as to take away from our dinner of pan-seared sea bass over beluga lentils and Black Angus tenderloin with béarnaise and asparagus. The highlight, however, was the chocolate lava cake—a dessert that's as ubiquitous as crème brûlée, with everyone serving it and no one doing it well. Indulge's version, however, is worthy: gooey, just chocolately enough, and topped with a scoop of refreshing mango sorbet.    Another French restaurant worth seeking out is Cherry Creek's French 250. This spot is decidedly more slick and formal than Indulge, and it hits on all notes. 5280 named French 250 a Best New Restaurant in our December issue, and Tucker Shaw (Denver Post) and Jason Sheehan (Westword) both recently gave the eatery a thumbs up. Favorite, spot-on dishes are the loup de mer (Mediterranean bass with haricot verts and beurre noisette) and the airy chocolate soufflé that's big enough for two. Indulge: 4140 W. 38th Ave., 303-433-7400; French 250: 250 Steele St., 303-331-0250 —Amanda M. Faison New: Jing Restaurant It was with much anticipation that Jing, the modern Chinese restaurant by Little Ollie's owner Charlie Huang, opened in the Village Shops at the Landmark in Greenwood Village three months ago. The space is gorgeous but service is perfunctory and less refined than that at downtown restaurants—and the kitchen still seems to be working out kinks. Based on our server's recommendation we ordered the New Style sashimi with ahi (a fine starter but hardly of the quality that you'll find at Sushi Den or Sushi Sasa) and the uninspired tempura shrimp that desperately needed the trio of sauces that grace each table. The best dish, the Kobe beef, was also the most expensive ($11 per ounce, three ounce minimum).    The raw beef arrives with a dipping sauce and a blazing hot rock—you dip the meat, sear it on the rock, and eat. Fun and interactive, even if you leave smelling like a hibachi grill. Incidentally, Zengo offers the same dish (for the same price), and does it better. Our take: We'll return to Jing's lounge for drinks and carefully selected apps—and with hopes that the restaurant finds a way to smooth the bumps. 5370 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Greenwood Village, 303-779-6888, www.jingrestaurant.com —AMF Road-Trip Restaurant: Eat!Drink! If weekend plans take you to the Vail Valley, we suggest dining at Eat!Drink!, an off-the-beaten-path spot in Edwards. Though the wine and small plates restaurant is a local favorite, it's a find for tourists looking to avoid the spring break crush. The menu is simple and well edited with the charcuterie platter (cured meats with Mission figs and pomegranate reduction), heavenly burrata cheese, and bruschetti sampler stealing the show. Ask for help navigating the interesting list of ever-changing wines—we found new favorites in a 2006 Castelvero Corstese ($4.50 a glass) and a 2006 Muse Tempranillo ($6 a glass). 56 Edwards Village Blvd., Edwards, 970-926-1393 —AMF News: Muffin Trend Debatable Earlier this month, the Rocky Mountain News suggested that the muffin trend was hot on the trail of the cupcake phenomenon. A couple of quick calls around town, however, confirmed our opinion: that it's too early to declare muffins the next hot thing. Although Congress Park's Under the Umbrella Cafe has experienced slight seasonal increases in sales, Park Hill's Adaigo Baking Company and the Denver Daily Bread Baking Company (maker of Paradise Bakery & Cafe treats) report constant and consistent muffin sales. No matter the stats, we still think that that a cakey muffin makes for a darn good start to the day. Check out Under the Umbrella's buttery almond-poppy seed for a light beginning to a spring morning. Under the Umbrella Cafe, 3504 E. 12th Ave., 303-256-0797, www.undertheumbrellacafe.com; Adagio Baking Company, 4628 E. 23rd Ave., 303-388-0904, www.adaigobakery.com; Paradise Bakery & Cafe, multiple locations, www.paradisebakery.com —Kazia Jankowski Event: Easter Sunday Brunch For a family-filled Easter reserve a table at Satchel's Market. This friendly, unpretentious Park Hill joint offers a holiday menu of roasted lamb loin, mushroom-spinach-asparagus omelets, gingerbread pancakes, and more. 5021 E. 28th Ave., 303-355-2137, www.satchelsmarket.com —KJ