Last visit: November 2013
So we continue our trek through the Denver restaurant landscape. We first discovered Las Caras in our recent summer townhome phase of Denver living (2009-2011). Las Caras was conveniently close to our place in SE Denver, and since I worked from home, it made the perfect lunch stop for Mrs. RJG and I during the week. Las Caras means "The Faces", and the name takes on more meaning once you realize the owner (or family member of the owner) is also an artist, and many painted faces adorn the walls.
So what separates Las Caras from the competition? A few things actually. The salsa that comes with the chips is quite good, but if you ask for the hotter one, you'll receive a dark green concoction that has this most unique smoked chile flavor, and packs some heat too. For an entree, be sure to get something with their grilled chicken. It's absolutely delicious. It's always tender, and features a marinate similar to what you might find at a Thai restaurant. It's not exactly that, but it's unlike any charbroiled chicken I've ever had at a Mexican place. And this being Denver, I of course get a chicken burrito and "smother it in green" - or more precisely in spicy green. Always ask for that if you are so inclined - as many of the Denver area restaurants have hotter chiles then they might let on. Fantastic! Mrs. RJG suspects there's some Oriental influence in their cooking, and I have to agree. I think that's one of their positive separators. And really, that's all there is to tell. Great chips, spicy salsa, smothered chicken burrito, and a Bohemia beer to wash it down. Reasonably priced, and a meal that feels healthy. Unlike some Mexican restaurants where you waddle out in regret, Las Caras always makes me feel fit for the rest of the day. The perfect lunch spot.
As such, on my last visit to Denver, I walked off the plane, into the rental car, and made a beeline here for lunch. It was... yea... perfect. Same as I had remembered from 2 years prior. The shopping center itself is completely different though. They bulldozed the Tamarac mall area up front and put up a Target and probably a few other things (it really does look way better). The strip center behind that, though, was given an upgrade and appears to be here for the long haul. This is where Las Caras sits.
If you're in the Tamarac Square area, or wandering Hampden around meal time - definitely stop on in, and grab some tasty and guiltless Mexican food. At least, on the latter point, it feels that way. We've been dozens of times, and it never fails to hit the spot.
Note the high Urbanspoon score on a strong sample size. Denver is a demanding city when it comes to Mexican food, so that's very impressive indeed.