What is there not to love about ChoLon? The space is gorgeous, the chefs are hot and the food is delicious. As I dined at the community table for the second time in five days I gazed into the open kitchen at the line cooks moving gracefully and quietly. Above the sound of the restaurant I could hear Chef Lon Symensma fire tickets and watch him taste and wipe plates before they were sent out to the floor. This Iowa native and former New York Chef had dreamed of opening his own place with a close friend ever since they attended the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) together. Their dream has come true and Denver is lucky for it.
At ChoLon the food is the star. Make sure to try the soup dumplings; they’re a little bite of French onion soup for the soul. The curried duck spring rolls, and the kaya toast with soft egg and coconut jam are delicious as well. The papaya salad with tamarind sorbet has just the right amount of spiciness in the dressing and the presentation is beautiful.
The chicken, made using an enzyme that binds proteins together, is moist, perfectly seasoned with crispy skin on both sides! The tamarind glazed lamb shank was my table’s favorite – until we tried Lon’s fried Brussels sprouts, the green curry tofu and the chicken fried rice. My mouth is still watering.
The desserts are good too. Lon is serving Malaysian shaved ice with palm syrup and mango noodles, creamy citrus custard and a decadent chocolate cake with salted peanut butter ice cream.
ChoLon officially opened this past Tuesday. I usually wait a few months to recommend a new restaurant, but even on friends and family night the kitchen was turning out flawless food, courses came at just the right time and the servers appeared very much at home.
So I say go and checkout ChoLon this weekend. Watch Lon Symensma conduct his symphony of fine dining as he takes the helm of his kitchen and propels the Denver dining scene upward.
ChoLon – 1555 Blake St., Denver. 303-353-5223. Open Mon-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 5pm-11pm.