Denver Restaurants: Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill near DU and D Bar Desserts in Uptown

I feel odd writing a review of two restaurants right in the midst of publishing my photos from Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea. I’d like to spend a little more time in those neighborhoods, go to Panadería Emmanuel and Bomaretto’s Produce and the nevería (ice cream parlor) I saw on the Environmental Justice tour.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill has locations all over Denver, including the University of Denver area, where we went, and Aurora, but nothing north of I-70. And D Bar Desserts, on 17th Avenue west of Park, sits in the midst of gentrification.

The only gentrification I saw on the tour was Globeville Townhomes, and since gentrification moves low-income people out of neighborhoods, and the people in these neighborhoods want to stay (at least, according to Michael Maes of Cross Community Coalition and Tom Anthony of the Elyria Neighborhood Association), I can’t say I’m in favor of it. I would recommend that the Denver City Council stop forcing industrial development down the throats of people who don’t want to live among it.

And, yes, the lady is protesting too much.

Last Friday Todd and I went to Garbanzo on University near Evans for dinner before Amiri Baraka’s reading at DU. Garbanzo is a fast casual joint that claims to place an emphasis on freshness. However, as Todd said, the tomato and cucumber salad on the right in the picture below had been sitting out all day, and the minty tabbouleh, made with couscous instead of bulgur wheat, had an odd sticky texture that might have been more palatable if it hadn’t also been cold.

We didn’t see a rotisserie there; the pictures on the wall indicated that the shwarma comes in chunks rather than being shaved off a large piece of meat.

The falafels, however, were hot out of the fryer and crispy. The tahini made a nice contrast, but the cilantro sauce didn’t have much oomph. One other thing I liked about the falafels was the liberal use of green herbs in the dough, which lent them a bright appearance and a fresh flavor.

Dinner lasted about 20 minutes, so we had time to kill and nowhere to do so before Baraka’s reading. Amiri Baraka is certainly an accomplished poet and critic (e.g., Blues People), and it may be that he is committed to social justice like no other American writer, as his website says, but he is also an anti-Semite, recycling hateful 9/11 conspiracy theories that were debunked years ago. ‘Nuff said.

All in all, it was a relief to get to D Bar, which was packed as always on a weekend night, and stand around until seats opened up at the communal table. The place is a haven for me. We would have preferred to sit at the bar and talk to the chefs, but instead we talked to the mother and daughter, the couple, and the man with his novel also sitting at our table. Todd got the dressed avocado, which isn’t on the menu anymore (pictured here from an earlier visit), and then the ice cream sandwich.

I got the palmond³, and I’m still trying to locate the 3 uses of pear and 3 uses of almond. The menu describes it this way: palmond³—pear I will actually eat—pear³ almond³ caramelized white chocolate ·pom ·almond ice milk.

Some are easy, of course, like the pear halves and the ball of almond ice milk. I assume the cake on the bottom has almonds and pears in it, and the caramelized white chocolate is the custardy thing between the cake and the pears. But then I thought, What if the sugary crumbs underneath the pears are the caramelized white chocolate and the custard is made with almond and pear? And what about the “pom,” which usually means passionfruit, orange, and mango juice but in this case refers to pear.

I started this post with gentrification and ended it with puzzlement over dessert. Must be nice, eh?
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon
D Bar Desserts on Urbanspoon

About Beth

I grew up in Kansas City and have lived in the Denver Metro area for 25 years as of 2012. I attended Georgetown University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. I like birding, hiking, scuba diving, gardening and ecological restoration, and trying out new wines and chocolate.
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