We made our way through the bar-hopping Lodo crowd to Vesta's location at 18th and Blake last Saturday night. The interior feels very urban and hip, with brick walls, high ceilings, and dark lighting.
My husband and I met up with a couple of friends (ok yes the same bunch we keep eating out with). We started off with drinks and complimentary bread served with roasted garlic; the garlic was an unexpected and unique touch.
If you're wondering about the restaurant's name, Vesta refers to itself as a "dipping grill" because all entrees come with three of Vesta's signature sauces.
But before jumping into entrees, the four of us started with several appetizers and small bites.
First up was the Vesta Roll ($12):
Their appetizer special of the day, Scallop Ceviche ($10):
Next up were the Superior Farms Lamb Ribs ($10):
|Superior Farms Lamb Ribs|
We also had the Chinese BBQ Pork Belly (each $2):
|Chinese BBQ Pork Belly|
As an entree, I ordered the Sofrito Braised Short Rib ($26):
|Sofrito Braised Short Rib|
The Southern-inspired dish included garlic rainbow chard, manchego polenta (in layman's terms, cheesy grits), and a bath of smoked paprika jus. The ribs were perfectly cooked to fork-tender.
The suggested sauces, which I had with the dish (not pictured), were green chili gastrique, bacon aioli, and Steuben's chimichurri. The aioli had all the creamy, smoky goodness you would expected from something called "bacon aioli"; the chimichurri was traditional and my favorite accompaniment to the meat. The gastrique had an unusual sweet-and-spicy flavor profile, but I felt it was just too sweet.
My husband ordered the Boneless Berkshire Pork Chop ($24):
|Boneless Berkshire Pork Chop|
The chilaquiles had a very different flavor and texture profile than my chilaquiles at Salt a few weeks back, but it tasted even better. It included a base of soft corn tortillas instead of crispy corn chips. Like my short ribs, the pulled pork was incredibly tender.
The pork chop was very well cooked, and seasoned to allow the natural pork flavor to come through. The colorful accompanying sauces were the suggested salsa verde, mango poblano salsa, and roasted corn.
To finish off all that protein, we ordered the French Toast ($7) and the Dark Chocolate Boca Negra ($8) for desserts.
|Dark Chocolate Boca Negra|
The only problem with the sauces for all our entrees and desserts? The dishes were already so well seasoned that they didn't need a lot of extra punch; I felt a little overwhelmed with the flavors of so many sauces.
With all the dishes we tried, every bite of meat or seafood at Vesta was high quality, perfectly cooked and expertly seasoned. Keep in mind, however, that between all the food we ordered and the various drinks we washed it down with, our meal at Vesta ended up being fairly expensive.
Vesta seems to suffer from a perception of becoming outmoded among a burgeoning Denver restaurant scene, but their fantastic food should withstand the test of time.
(8 of 10)
Pros: Overall great food
Cons: Didn't care for one of the desserts, expensive