Best Bites: ChoLon's Tamarind-Glazed Lamb Shank

November 2010

I've been so taken by ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro (it made our just-released list of Best New Restaurants) that I dine there as often as possible for lunch, dinner, or just a couple rounds of appetizers.

It's easy to fill up on the small-plate offerings at the top of the menu (most notably, the sublime soup dumplings, dessert-like kaya toast spread with coconut jam and emulsified egg, and the lemon-grass-beet salad). But last week, I tried the tamarind-glazed lamb shank and made a vow, going forward, to always save room.

The tender meat comes caramelized in tamarind's telltale sweet-sour glaze and adorned with spiced peanuts and tiny cubes of Asian pear. But the showstopper is the silky butternut-squash purée that sits beneath the shank. It could be a dish (even dessert) in and of itself.

The lamb, plus an order of the almost-charred Brussels sprouts with ground pork and mint, might be my new favorite way to experience chef Lon Symensma's cuisine.

Tip: It's easy to overlook the omnipresent sorbet sampling on any dessert menu. At ChoLon, however, the sorbet—the refreshing and light coconut and banana leaf—just might be the best of all the offerings.

1555 Blake St., #101, 303-353-5223