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Southwest BBQ Denver

DENVER -- Bono's BBQ, Ajuua!

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Restaurants & Bars

DENVER -- Bono's BBQ, Ajuua!

Chimayo Joe | Jun 23, 2006 06:22 AM

Went to Bono's a few days ago. Very respectable 'cue. Wasn't extremely delighted with anything I had there but didn't dislike anything either. The following criticisms are of the nitpicking type. Ribs were good--could have used a bit more smoke(keeping in mind that I like a LOT of smoke, probably more than most people do) but they were meaty and flavorful. Pulled pork was a wee bit dry but still pretty good. Brisket was also good with some nice smoke flavor to it--texture a little mushy which makes me think it may have been steaming a while; still, it was better than most of the brisket I've had in the DFW area. Sides were considerably better than what I've had in most BBQ joints--I'd say the sides were the highlight of meal except that when that's said it's usually considered a slam against the meats but shouldn't be at Bono's. Fries were excellent and plentiful. BBQ beans were excellent but not plentiful. I didn't try the fried corn on the cob, but my wife said it was very good. My biggest criticism(which is still not that big because the meats were good enough that they didn't need sauce to carry them) would have to be the four sauces. Original--too mustardy for me but people who like mustardy sauces probably wouldn't find fault with it. Hot--again too mustardy for me although it wasn't as mustardy as the Original. Sweet & Tangy--too sweet and not tangy enough. Red--liked that one the best but it was still lackluster. Definitely would return to Bono's if I were in southeast Denver.

Ajuua!(the exclamation mark is part of the name, not my addition)is a Mexican restaurant in Tamarac Square(with a few more locations along the Front Range.) Good overall, but my experience there was a little more of a mixed bag than at Bono's. Food I had there was what I think of as "standard" Mexican food(although the menu is fairly extensive) but a better than average rendition of it. Salsa was just about perfect for me--hot but not too hot, decent amount of cilantro but not too much, slightly chunky but not too chunky. Chips were warm, thin, and salty(a little too salty at the bottom of the basket)--nice job there. Cheese enchilada was forgetable. Tamale had nice chunks of well seasoned pork, but the masa lacked the corn flavor that makes a tamale a really good tamale; better than the enchilada but still nothing special. The crispy chile relleno was excellent. I'd go back to Ajuua just for that and the salsa. I liked that the menu gives a person several choices regarding the meats, cheeses, and sauces(can't remember what all the sauce choices were but there were 5 or 6, I think); what I didn't like is that they were stingy with the sauces, moreso with the chile colorado on my plate than with the chile verde on my wife's but still little sauce on either. Rice was of the type I prefer, dry and well seasoned rather than the sticky, tomato sauce rice that some places do. Refrieds were good but overpowered a bit by the cheese they were topped with(pungency rather than quantity.) My wife also thought the chile relleno was excellent. She had a chicken chalupa which she thought was bland and a beef chimichanga which she said was good but would have probably been better with chorizo filling. Definitely would return if I were in southeast Denver, but I'd select other items except for the chile rellenos.

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