Al Lado, the latest concept from chef and restaurateur, Richard Sandoval opened to the masses at the end of the summer. This Riverfront Park spot offers Latin tapas and a wine list that emphasizes bottles from Spain and South America. Al Lado whose name means "next door" is open every night of the week and takes no reservations. Happy Hour is on offer Monday-Saturday and all wine bottles are half off every Sunday. Just shy of three months being open, Al Lado has garnered a lot of attention including a review in The Denver Post. Here's the early word on this newcomer:
The Hot News: Black Book Magazine lists Al Lado in their Ten Hot New Tables for November: "Anti-celeb chef Richard Sandoval brings Latin-centric wines and tapas to this low key spot in the downtown neighborhood of Lodo? Some sangria and a trimmed-down happy hour menu affords you a laid-back, el clásico after work experience."
The Good News: From Ruth Tobias of Denveater, "My favorite thing, though, was the fluke crudo with rhubarb, strawberry, and pickled garlic vinaigrette. Crudo preparations are often too gingerly?this had some oomph without seeming any less pristine."
The Great News:From ColoradoBIZ Magazine: "Every once in awhile a cool, inviting place opens up and it has all the parts: expert service, knowledge, price points divine, extraordinary wine and inventive vittles. Right now that place is al Lado."
The Not so Great News: From another Yelper: "3 stars for service. We had to ask for plates so we could have our food before it was cold. They seem to still be working on glitches as servers would ask the wrong table who ordered what and dishes were moved from table to table looking for who ordered it. There is one bathroom for the place....not enough but you can go next door to Zengo."
The Two Stars News: William Porter, of The Denver Post says: "Baby octopus ($13) was a tangle of tentacles over a mix of fennel and salad greens. The kitchen didn't shy from the salt, and there was a big dash of citrus notes from a drizzle of blood orange. But the dish was a bit of a disappointment, for somehow all those flavors did not meld?The bottom line: The menu here isn't exactly a model of originality, and on one level feels like a "hey, why not?" cog in the Sandoval restaurant machine. But Al Lado delivers value and good service, and makes for a fun night out. Olé to that."
The Sweet News: From Sugarloco's Jenny Ford: Though their three dessert offerings were all perfect, the dessert that has me stalking al Lado in my dreams is the Whipped Chocolate Ganache– Sherry and caramel, bastille style spiced almonds, extra virgin olive oil, fleur de sel, and crisp baguette tuilles. Paired with the Susana Balbo Malbec Late Harvest. Something about the combination of the chocolate ganache, olive oil, and salty baguette that satisfied my cravings for salty and sweet beautifully."
The Bad News: From Yelp: "I have to say that the portions are waaaayyy too small for the price. The octopus salad was literally three bites - that's fine for a tapa, but not a tapa that costs $13...I'd like to see a menu more inclusive of vegetables. The menu is heavy on meat, cheese and bread."
The Whole Shebang News: From Thrillist: Sexy, swanky wine bar al Lado wants you to just order their entire menu (ideally with 5-7 of your friends) for just $220, meaning you won't have to choose between tapas like Serrano ham/ tomato on grilled bread and lamb meatballs, plus they'll even throw in a magnum, as saying "I'll have the whole menu" does make you feel like a big swingin' D."