Dining Reviews

February 2007

Best Bites - Coffee and Doughnuts at Mona’s Restaurant
More than any other confection, the doughnut incites giddiness—and not just in children. Which may explain the popularity of Mona’s dessert version; the three puffs come piping hot, filled with raspberry jam, and dusted with cinnamon sugar. The decadent sweet is crafted from traditional bomboloni (Italian dough), allowed to rise overnight, and fried to order. When the dish arrives, complete with rich, coffee-flavored crème anglaise for dipping, waiting for the goodies to cool is an exercise in patience.
Mona’s 2364 15th St., 303-455-4503, www.monasrestaurant.com

1. Tula Latin Bistro
By Carol W. Maybach
(out of 4 stars)
250 Josephine St., 303-377-3488
The Draw
A chef who maximizes the ingredients and brings new life to Latin cuisine; free parking in Cherry Creek North.
The Drawback
Chef Chris Douglas tends to tinker with the menu, which can occasionally lead to inconsistency.
Don't Miss
Butter-poached lobster Napoleon; Spanish chorizo-wrapped scallops with blood orange habanero butter sauce; carnitas tacos.
Vegetarian Options
Goat cheese salad; arroz with huitlacoche, grilled asparagus, and caramelized chayote; and harissa risotto topped with grilled asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, and huitlacoche emulsion.

2. Back for More... Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar
By Laurel Miller
(out of 4 stars)
1117 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-473-4730
Must-Try New Dishes
Dragon roll, steamed lobster roll, Hapa rice bowls topped with salmon donburi, or teriyaki beef or chicken.
Old Favorites
No. 9 roll, multiple orgasm roll, 69 roll, chilled premium sakes.
In 2001, Hapa on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall was the happening place to drink, cavort with the beautiful people, and eat sushi made with such unlikely foods as strawberries, Mandarin oranges, and cream cheese. 5280 food critic Maureen Harrington was somewhat dubious about the wacky ingredients, but approved of the classics, as well as some of the creative takes on what Hapa calls “a harmonious blend of Asian and American cultures.” Hamilton awarded the sleek, minimalist space with its popular back-room bar three and a half stars. With the original location on the Hill and a Cherry Creek outpost, the Hapa empire is growing, which prompted the question: With so many other sushi joints, where does Hapa stand?
My name is Laurel and I’m a sushi snob. There. I owned it. I cut my teeth while living in Hawaii, which also afforded me an education in the finer points of sourcing and preparing raw fish. So while I prefer my sushi to be somewhat classical in nature, I can appreciate a little creativity and humor with my fish. I’ve enjoyed rolls with such disparate additions as jalapeño, mango, and foie gras. My primary criteria: freshness, and that there be intelligence behind nontraditional combos... (Continued)