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The "Gallina Loca," or achiote-rubbed chicken, comes with cabbage slaw, salsa fresca, black beans, and house made tortillas. Photo courtesy of Super Mega Bien

Opening Alert: Super Mega Bien

Pan-Latin dim sum, large-format entrées, and a full-of-surprises drink list combine for one of the most exciting Denver openings of the year.

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The opening of Super Mega Bien today marks not only the second restaurant for the Ramble Hotel (the first being Death & Co. Denver) but also the second endeavor for the team behind Work & Class. With the prime location on buzzy 25th and Larimer streets and the rock-star team—not to mention the no-reservations policy—you can probably expect to see lines of eager diners awaiting entry to the new Pan-Latin eatery.

Super Mega Bien’s cozy bar; note the wooden dowels to the top left. Photo courtesy of Super Mega Bien

The good news: The inevitable queue will likely move quickly. Thanks to Super Mega’s exciting dim sum-style service, it’s possible to find your table crowded with a barrage of small plates—lamb chops smothered in yogurt sauce, crunchy corn tostadas heaped with perfectly cooked octopus and shrimp, croquettes stuffed with vanilla-scented goat cheese—within moments of sitting down. James Beard Award-nominated chef, Dana Rodriguez, and her partners Tony Maciag and Tabatha Knop looked to San Francisco’s much-lauded State Bird Provisions for inspiration when they decided to implement dim sum-esque format: You simply point to whatever small plates look tasty on the roving carts or trays, and a server will stamp your card to keep track of what you’ve eaten.

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While you snack, you can place your order for larger dishes, seven of which are available from a printed menu. While Rodriguez marries Latin staples with American favorites over at Work & Class, her large format dishes here hew more closely to their native origins. There’s the “gallina loca,” or achiote-rubbed grilled chicken of the Yucatan Penisula of Mexico, served with fluffy house-made tortillas, as well as Puerto Rican-style roasted pork with crispy skin alongside rice and beans. Each family-style dish is designed to feed three or more.

A black-bean pupusa topped with a fried quail egg. Photo courtesy of Super Mega Bien

The one-page cocktail list is simple enough not to compete with neighboring tipple temple Death & Co. but creative enough to garner attention. There are myriad house-made tonic options to pair with various gins, as well as a refreshing, green-juice-esque green sangria and even Chilean terremoto, a party-ready sipper of white wine with a floating scoop of house-made pineapple sorbet.

Super Mega Bien’s small, bright space offers the same rollicking vibe as its sister restaurant, Work & Class, but the sound level is a lot more manageable thanks to the many hundreds of wooden dowels hanging from a chain-link-style frame suspended beneath the high ceiling. Not only do the dowels absorb noise, but they also create a gorgeous art-installation effect. Like Work & Class, however, dining at Super Mega will be a first-come, first-serve endeavor. You might want go ahead and get in line for dinner, which starts at 5 p.m. today.

The Ramble Hotel, 1260 25th St., 720-269-4695

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