Los Chingones Shows Cojones By Edan Goode

Troy Guard is one gutsy guy. The chef/restaurateur is opening one restaurant after another in an economy just regaining a foothold. Last November, he opened Los Chingones and Sugarmill (his collaboration with Pasty Chef Noah French). The pair of restaurants are next door neighbors at 24th and Larimer. Next month, Guard will open Guard and Grace, a 9000-square-foot modern American steakhouse at 1801 California.
Los Chingones is Guard’s take on “badass” Mexican food, now serving up lunch and happy hour 5 days a week along with dinner 7 days a week. Lunch is a good deal at $10 for house-made chips with their Rooster salsa, agua fresca or iced tea of the day and your choice of one of the following:
  • Burrito Desnudo – chicken leg, pork shoulder or skirt steak, chopped romaine, black or pinto beans, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, mexican crema, cilantro
  • Taco Rice Bowl – chicken leg, pork shoulder or skirt steak, brown rice, chopped romaine, grilled peppers and onions, pico de gallo, cilantro, shredded cheese, crispy tortilla chips
  • Knife and Fork Burrito – chicken leg, pork shoulder or skirt steak, black or pinto beans, chopped romaine, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, mexican crema, red or green sauce
  • 3 Tacos of your Choice – chicken leg, lamb neck, skirt steak, shrimp, cotija cheese, pork shoulder, white fish, butternut squash, octopus, pork stomach and beef tongue.
Chips and salsa, a Pomegranate Caipirinha cocktail and a mound of nachos. Life is good at Los Chingones.

Chips and salsa, a Pomegranate Caipirinha cocktail and a mound of nachos. Life is good at Los Chingones.

We checked the place out for dinner and started by quenching our thirst with the Pomegranate Caipirinha ($9), a pretty, pink cocktail. It went nicely with our two choices of salsa with chips ($3): the Rooster, a pico salsa and the Guajillo (sweet chipotle) salsa.

With a menu that is very sharable, we ordered the flash-fried Brussels Sprouts ($6) which I couldn’t get enough of and I hate Brussels Sprouts! Crispy-tender tossed in a chili lime sauce, so good! We also ordered one of the three choices of guacamole, the Los Chingones Guac ($8), a nice-size serving with chorizo and pickled jalapenos.

Flash-fried brussels sprouts (left), made me love my arch-enemy of the vegetable world. I couldn't get enough.  Them, and the nachos.

Flash-fried brussels sprouts (left), made me love my arch-enemy of the vegetable world. I couldn’t get enough.Ditto house guacamole, right.

One of the items you don’t have to share, unless you want to, is the Tamale ($7) with pork shoulder, cabbage salad and two sauces, one with crema and one with chipotle. It was meaty and tasty. I augmented that with one of the many taco options, all $3.50. I played it safe with the Skirt Steak taco with black bean parsnip puree, avocado, pepper, onion and cotija cheese. My partner ordered some of the more unusual tacos – Lamb Neck, Octopus and Butternut Squash. If you really, really like lamb, you’ll love the lamb neck taco with a strong lambikins flavor, with corn salsa, zucchini and cotija cheese. The butternut squash taco was especially good and beat out both the lamb and octopus as favorites. The octopus with blood orange was not nearly as bizarre as hoped for, with a hint of the briny depths. My partner vowed to try the Beef Tongue or Pork Stomach tacos next time. He can go right ahead…I, on the other hand, will try the semi-secret, “off-menu” insider special called The Precious. It’s a pork tamale stuffed inside a burrito that is then deep fried and topped with green chile for $12. That’ll blow your New Year’s Resolution in a big, delicious way, I’m sure. One nit picky complaint is that the tacos come with one corn tortilla, so they quickly disintegrate in your hands. Adding a second tortilla is customary among Denver taco joints and most practical.

A tasty tamale with pork shoulder and two kinds of sauces.

A tasty tamale with pork shoulder and two kinds of sauces.

Four "bad ass" tacos.

Four “bad ass” tacos.

The decor at Los Chingones is dark and heavy with interesting shots of color and angles, anchored by a two-story, colorful mural. With reasonable prices and a wide variety of options within the relatively small menu, Los Chingones will become the new favorite place to meet up with friends after work. Troy Guard is a bold guy, opening up three restaurants, in addition to his existing ones (Tag, Tag Raw Bar, Tag Burger), in less than six months. Let’s hope his expertise and strong staffs keep his empire from suffering from growing pains.

The two-story mural at Los Chingones - big and bold, like the restaurant itself.

The two-story mural at Los Chingones – big and bold, like the restaurant itself.

The bar, tucked into one corner at Los Chingones.

The bar, tucked into one corner at Los Chingones.

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One thought on “Los Chingones Shows Cojones By Edan Goode

  1. Pingback: Gimme a Little Sugar…Sugarmill Bakery and Lounge By Edan Goode | In Good Taste Denver

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