Habanero’s is a little Mexican quick service restaurant now located where Tacqueria mi Barrio and Tacqueria Tamayo used to be.  I’ve been there 3 or 4 times now, and have enjoyed it every time.

They have a larger staff than before.  Although the main cook who used to work at the previous two places is still there, there’s now a boss lady and a man who works the counter.  And they’re fully bilingual, unlike the cook, who has a little difficulty in English.

The menu changed, too.  Instead of just tacos, now they serve burritos, tostadas, tortas, and a few other things.  I especially like their breakfast burritos and egg plate.  Also, if you go, be sure to try their charro beans; they’re delicious!  Each day there are typically about 3 specials.  For example, today they had menudo (it’s Saturday), fish ceviche tostadas, shrimp ceviche tostadas, and fresh made guacamole and chips.

Since the remodel, the place is definitely updated and cleaner.  And they’ve always got the big screen TV turned to Spanish language channels.  Prices for main dishes are very good, but the side dishes are a bit steep.  For example, a side of charro beans is $2.50.  You get enough for 2 or maybe 3 people, though.

384 Us Highway 287
Broomfield, CO 80020

Little Anita’s

Todd’s briefest restaurant review so far: Little Anita’s now has a store in Broomfield, where the Burger King near Miramonte and 287 used to be.  It’s a chain of New Mexican restaurants.  I like the food, and they serve Mexican Coke.  I don’t like that they switched to full service.  For a place like this, I’d prefer to just order at a counter and save the tip.

Best item: huevos rancheros

Worst item: carnitas

1080 US 287
Broomfield, CO 80020
(303) 465-3011

Ooka Sushi & Asian Cuisine

There are a lot of restaurants popping up with this pan-Asian theme.  The menus all seem to be pretty similar, offering dishes from Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, and sometimes Korea.  Ooka is Broomfield’s latest.  They’ve got pan-Asian down, but also have a respectable sushi bar.

Ooka is located in front of Safeway, in the old Boston Market location.  Beth and I have been there twice now and enjoyed it both times.  And both times we got sushi, which was good.  I was hoping on the second trip to find tonkatsu, but they don’t have it.

The main Broomfield area (not counting the FlatIron Crossing area) now has several restaurants that serve essentially the same menu, this “pan-Asian” thing:  Ooka, Zen, Zo, and Spring Thai.  I can hardly tell them apart, and I can’t see how they can all stay in business doing the same thing with roughly the same quality.  But I said that about our three pho restaurants and they’re still open, years later.

Do you have a favorite?  Leave me a comment.

Ooka Sushi & Asian Cuisine
6485 W. 120th Ave
Broomfield, CO 80020

Taru Sushi & Grill

Beth and I have visited Taru Sushi & Grill twice now, once for supper and once for lunch.  I wish I could say this restaurant was in Broomfield, but alas it’s in Westminster.

The original Taru was in Orlando, but they’ve either moved or expanded to Westminster.  The menu is extensive.  In addition to the usual sushi restaurant stuff, they’ve got more sushi rolls and other Japanese items.  The thing that caught my eye when we went in the first time was that they have tonkatsu.

On the first trip, we stuck with sushi and ordered onion soup, two house salads, the Lady Roll, inari sushi (tofu), sake sushi (salmon), and an asparagus & avocado roll.  The waiter was a little clueless, but the food was good.  Also, we had a coupon for free sake, so we had to try that out, of course.  It was hot and tasty.

The restaurant was pretty crowded for dinner.  I’d guess it was about 80% full.  The soup and salad were tasty, but probably not at all authentic.  The Lady Roll was really good, but I can’t remember what was in it!  The veggie roll was pretty plain, just as it was described in the menu.  The salmon was way good!  I asked Beth how she liked the inari, and she just said “It was OK.”

The manager came by to check on us, and recommended that next time we should try some of the other rolls.  She particularly likes the Mango Tango roll.

On our second trip, Beth and I went for lunch.  Beth just had the Lady Roll again, but I went for a bento box.  Beth liked the Lady Roll again, but the bento box was a real feast and a treat.  It had tonkatsu, a little California roll (which unfortunately was made with krab instead of crab), soup (I opted for the onion soup again), some white rice, a couple pieces of deep fried shumai (I didn’t care for that), and a couple of gyoza.  All that was only about $11!

I’ll definitely go back, if for the bento box lunch if nothing else.  Even though a good friend of ours is a sushi chef at a restaurant in Lafayette, Taru is a lot closer to home and has a wider variety of items on the menu.

Taru Sushi & Grill
4880 West 120th Avenue #200
Westminster, CO 80020


it’s hard to find Sunday brunch in Lafayette

Oh woe!  Lafayette, Colorado has a lot of great dining options, and possibly more variety than Broomfield.  But there’s a dearth of restaurants serving Sunday brunch, it seems.

Beth and I set out this morning around 11:00 to try to find brunch in Lafayette.  We knew Casa Alvarez had what used to be a well-known breakfast buffet on the weekend.  I checked their website and it lists the Saturday and Sunday breakfast buffet, though it doesn’t say what you’re likely to find.  Beth was in the mood for American breakfast foods, and I thought a mix of American and Mexican would be nice.  So we headed straight to Casa Alvarez.  But as soon as we got seated, I looked around and had a bad feeling.  We asked the waiter, and he said they stopped doing their breakfast buffet about six months ago.  The regular lunch menu didn’t have food on it that Beth was looking for.

So we left, and headed down South Public Road.  There are several restaurants in old town, but they’re mostly Mexican joints and I didn’t have any hopes that they would have American brunch.  So the next place we visited was Canopy Grill.  It was even listed in a book on great Denver breakfast restaurants a few years back.  But when we got there, the waitress told us they stopped doing breakfast about a year ago.  So we settled for lunch.

Louisville has Huckleberry and a few coffee shops.  Broomfield has The Egg and I and a few hotel restaurants that serve breakfast buffet.  But we’ve been to all those.  I just can’t think of a single full service restaurant that serves American style breakfast food in Lafayette.  Are there any?  What do people in Lafayette do when they want to go out for breakfast?

Corona’s Mexican Grill

There’s a new Mexican restaurant in town, on 136th.  It’s Corona’s.  I went there for lunch recently with some coworkers and tried a few things.  But I haven’t been back, so this review is going to be a bit short.

First, they have a website, though it’s still under construction as I’m writing this.

They don’t have a special lunch menu, but their menu does list 9 different types of chile (which they spell as “chili”) on the back.  They’ve got hot, medium, and mild green “chili”.  And then they’ve got salsa verde, pico de gallo, salsa especial, chile colorado (which I’d call enchilada sauce), and salsa roja (which they serve with chips).

I was also pleased to see they have horchata and jamaica on the menu, so I ordered a glass of jamaica.  But it was so incredibly sweet – sweeter by far than any jamaica I’ve had in Mexico or the US – that I couldn’t stand to drink it.  So I traded it in for a glass of horchata, which was just fine.

To eat, I ordered a half size torta with carnitas, plus a bowl of medium green chile (excuse me, I should say “chili”).  The torta was pretty good, though I think I like them more without lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes.  If it were up to me, I think I’d just put guacamole and sliced pickled jalapenos and meat on the sandwich, possibly with a thin layer of mayo.  The medium chile was tasty, but too spicy for me to eat as a soup.  If I get it again, I’ll order the mild for sure.

Service overall was so-so, I guess.  We sat outside because the weather was nice, so I can’t speak to the ambiance inside the restaurant.  But I sure appreciated the al fresco dining option.  And I thought the prices were a little high; the bowl of chile was $5.65, and the horchata was $2.65, with regular Coke type drinks selling for $2.25.

I’d go back, but next time I want to try something that may be more in their sweet spot, like the carne asada plate.

Corona’s Mexican Grill
2255 West 136th Ave. Suite 172
Broomfield, CO 80023

Chico’s Mexican Food

Can you believe there’s a Mexican restaurant in Broomfield that I haven’t reviewed?  There is, and it’s called Chico’s Mexican Food.  I’d seen the place for years, but I always thought that side of the street was considered Westminster.  But it’s Broomfield.

So I went in recently with a coworker for some lunch, and was served by none other than Chico himself.  He founded the restaurant over 20 years ago.  I don’t know if it’s always been in this location, but it’s currently near the corner of 128th (which is also Midway) and Lowell, right next to the 7-Eleven store.

Chico’s is a small, unpretentious place.  I think he has only about 4 tables in the whole place.  When we came to the counter to order, the proprietor encouraged us to put something on the one table that was free, so someone else wouldn’t take it.  Also there were a few regulars, a couple kids on summer break, and a pinball machine.

One of the regulars was hassling Chico about the green chile not being hot enough.  Chico turned back to the window leading to the kitchen and yelled, “Hey Ma, Mike says the chile’s not hot enough.”  And then Chico told the guy (Mike, I guess) that he only gave him half mild and half hot because he didn’t think he could handle the hot.  After this back-and-forth, you can imagine I had to order the hot.  Specifically, I ordered the “Tamale Plate” with hot green chile on top.  I think I said “tamales plate” since I couldn’t figure out if the overhead menu meant “tamal plate” (in which case I’d get one) or the “tamales plate” (in which case I’d get more than one).  I wanted more than one, so I said “tamales.”  Anyhow, Chico snorted and gave me the “tamale plate” which is really just one tamal plus rice and beans and chile.  Not wanting to get into a Mexican grammar argument with a Mexican-American, I just shut up and ate.

The chile was indeed pretty darn spicy.  So I don’t know what Mike was complaining about.  Any hotter and it would’ve interfered with the flavor of the dish.  The beans were also very tasty, thanks to the generous addition of lard in the kitchen.

Speaking of which, my coworker wanted a vegetarian burrito, but Chico pointed out that “everything” is cooked with lard and the only vegetarian item on the menu is the quesadilla.  So, in the end, said coworker ordered his egg and potato burrito anyhow, but with red chile (which doesn’t have chunks of pork like the green).  Not really vegetarian, but the closest thing you can reasonably get, I guess.

The tamale plate didn’t fill me quite up, and I wanted to try their guacamole, so I ordered a guacamole tostada.  I wasn’t very impressed with the guac, and the tostada seemed like it came out of a box instead of being homemade.  Chico said they make their own guacamole there, but from the taste of it, I wasn’t convinced it was fresh.  So that was a bit of a bust.

The day I was there, just about everyone was ordering the Mexican hamburger.  So on my next trip, that’s what I’m going to try.

Finally, I should point out the prices are very reasonable.  The tamale plate was $4.35 and the guacamole tostada was $2.20.  A deluxe burrito with bean and beef is only $3.85.  The menu also lists a “Family Pack” which is 5 bean & cheese burritos, 5 beef tacos, and 5 bean tostadas for $21.99.

Chico’s Mexican Food
12920 Lowell Blvd.
Broomfield, CO 80020

we’re getting a real butcher shop!

I just read this from the Broomfield Enterprise:


Herb’s Meat and Specialty Foods, which has been a Boulder fixture since 1976, will relocate to the Depot Hill Shopping Center at the corner of U.S. 287 and 10th Avenue. High rents and a shifting customer base are forcing the independently owned butcher out of its longtime home.

Woo hoo!  A real butcher shop within walking distance of my house.  Now if we could just get an independent owned coffee shop and a real bakery in the same area…

Bombay Palace

Bombay Palace is Broomfield’s newest Indian restaurant.  A few weeks ago, it took over the empty location where Buddha Indian Cuisine once stood, next door to La Casita de Durango and across Nickel Street from Target.

I’ve eaten at Bombay Palace three times now, twice for lunch and once for supper.  Their lunch buffet is above average, I’d say.  In addition to the usual Indian lunch buffet favorites (tandoori chicken, etc.) they have some more interesting dishes I don’t see very often, like noodles and mango custard and eggplant.

Last week, Beth and I went to Bombay Palace for supper for the first time, and we both enjoyed it.  We had rice and papadums and naan, of course.  The naan was sub-par, for some reason.  It just wasn’t fluffy or crispy enough.  For our entrees, we ordered Bombay Special Chicken and Bindi Masala.  We asked for both to be prepared medium spicy, but I thought they were both very mild.  So I’m not sure if their spicy scale is just miscalibrated, or if the cook misread “medium” to be “mild” or something.

Notice I said “cook.”  I’m pretty sure there was only one person working in the kitchen, with the waitress occasionally going back there to help out.  It took quite a while for our food to come out – long enough for Beth to start getting very impatient.  But once the food arrived, it was good.  The Bombay Special Chicken, though mild, was very good.  It was marinated chicken cooked in the tandoori oven, and then served with an orange colored cream sauce on the side.  The sauce was super yummy, and the flavors mixed really well.  Bindi Masala is okra, sauteed with onion, ginger, tomato, and spices.  We couldn’t finish it all, so I brought the rest home.  I liked it, but wished it had been prepared spicier.

So, my overall impressions of the place: better food than the other Broomfield Indian restaurant, needs more spice, supper took too long to cook.  I’ll definitely go back for lunch sometime, and maybe for supper again.  Our server also said they’re going to start having a dinner buffet on the weekend starting in a few weeks.  I’d like to try that and see how it is.

300 Nickel Street
Broomfield, CO 80020

Oh, and they have a website: http://www.thebombaypalace.com


The concept of Bagali’s is very enticing to me.  I really, really wanted to like this place.  But after two visits, I just don’t think I’ll go back.

First off, Bagali’s is “New Orleans Inspired Italian” which sounds like an interesting concept to me.  And after visiting the oldest pizza restaurant on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain a couple weeks ago, it’s not as strange as you might thing.  The idea, as the manager explained to me on our first visit, is mixing traditional Italian food (like pasta and tomato sauce) with traditional New Orleans food (like blackened catfish).  So if you’re wondering where to go to get blackened catfish spaghetti, Bagali’s is the place.  In reality, though, the restaurant (or at least their patrons) seem to be most interested in their fairly ordinary pizza.

Our first visit was marred by spotty service.  It was just a bunch of little things, like the waiter taking away my one fork with my salad plate and then not bringing me another.  And the way he mis-pronounced items from the menu (“cannelloni” became “cantelloni”).  But the manager came by and Beth and I talked to him for a long time.  He seemed genuinely interested in our opinions and concerned about making his restaurant the best it could be.  I gave him tons of free advice, and then went back about a month later.

Sadly, that visit also was marred by spotty service.  Again, it was little stuff, like the waiter telling me they don’t serve Limonata when they do (he later apologized and gave me a can to take with me as we were on our way out the door, after the dishwasher told him where they’re kept).  But on that second visit, I came to realize the quality of the food just wasn’t good enough to make up for the so-so service.  And that means there’s just no real compelling reason for me to want to go back.

If you’ve had better (or worse) experiences at Bagali’s please leave a comment!

570 Zang St.
Broomfield, CO 80021
(303) 465-9463

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