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Thoughts and Experiences from the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado

Mateo Restaurant Blows It, Sunflower Restaurant Saves the Evening


This was shaping up to be a fun evening. My sister in-law was in town from New York and the kids day-care was hosting a parents night out so it set up for the adults to head out for a dinner with adult conversation. (Don't get me wrong, we love our kids, but sometimes it is nice to get out and have an adults night.) Well my wife and I had been to Mateo in Boulder a couple times and had wonderful experiences. But we hadn't been there for a couple years and decided to head back and take my sister in-law.

My wife made the reservations and they even called me last night to confirm that we were coming. We dropped the kids off and headed for Boulder.

Well when we arrived, they wanted to sit us at one of their small patio tables that they had brought in from outside. It also had the small uncomfortable patio chairs. Something that I don't want to sit at or on when we will be having a nice leisurely dinner and spending $150-$200 for the pleasure.

All the other tables are nice with comfortable padded chairs.

Well we tried to get another table and they basically said that the only other thing they had available was the community table. All the other tables were spoken for. We even spoke to who appeared to be the manager or owner and he was not helpful at all.

I have never been so mad or upset in my life when I have gone out to eat. They should not treat their customers like that. If they don't have a table, they should never have accepted the reservation. Or if someone made a reservation after us, they should have been turned down. It is not professional and does not show respect to us as their customers.

Well we need to find a place to eat, so we headed west on Pearl Street a couple blocks and found Sunflower. What a difference from Mateo.

Even though we did not have a reservation, they found us a table. The wait staff was prompt and explained the menu and specials extremely well.

The food was incredible. We started with the Artisan Cheese Plate as an appetizer. All the cheese was delicious and it came with balsamic jam. Mmmm.

My wife had the special vegetarian plate for the night. It was a stuffed red pepper over lentils. She was quite pleased with this choice. I had the Buffalo Sirloin Steak. It was quite tender and the medium rare was perfect.

My sister in-law had another special of the evening, the Mahi Mahi. When it was brought out it was not cooked all-the-way through, but the took it back, cooked it throughly and brought it out on a fresh bed of rice. They were quite understanding and helpful in getting it right.

We had a bottle of wine, but I can't remember what it was. It was from France and as it "aired" it got better. They had a wonderful wine selection.

We finished the evening with desert. My wife had the molten chocolate cake and I had the apple crisp. Both were delicious. My wife was concerned with the cognac-caramel sauce, she doesn't like a strong alcohol taste in her desert, but it added to the desert and wasn't that noticeable. My apple crisp was delicious and the vanilla ice cream complemented it nicely.

The evening was saved with the wonderful evening that we had at Sunflower.

I had been really impressed with Mateo in the past, but not now. I had even recommended it to friends in the past and they had been there. I was really impressed with their goal of buying as much as they can locally. But I won't be going back or recommending it to any more of my friends. In fact, I encourage you not to go. It is not worth the hassle.

Sunflower is organic and tries to get as much as the can locally, as the season permit. Here is what their website says,

Since 1999, Sunflower has been committed to healthy and environmentally-friendly living for which Boulder is famous. Our menu features the best ingredients available including fresh seafood, free range poultry, non-endangered game meats, and certified organic produce (locally grown when seasons permit). Our menu selections are prepared without preservatives, chemical additives or artificial ingredients of any kind. Our wine list has over 45 organic or biodynamic offerings in a wide range of prices.

Sunflower is definitely worth another visit and I will definitely recommend it to my friends. Head on out and try it.

Let me know of your experiences at Sunflower and Mateo. I am interested in hearing.