Smoked meats, duck-fat-fried tortillas, a taco salad kind of like the one your mom made when you were growing up, only better: These are some combinations you might crave from a new Latin American restaurant on Larimer Street.
Mister Oso is the latest opening from the restaurateurs and chefs behind LoHi’s Señor Bear. Get it? They’re like big, bilingual brother restaurants.
Culinary Creative, the restaurant group that owns this heavyweight pair, also runs Bar Dough, Ash’Kara and Maine Shack in Highland, Morin downtown and Tap & Burgers across Denver.
But Mister Oso, which opened Nov. 14, is different in that it’s based off Señor Bear’s Pan-Latin American success, this time a little more casual and with a strong barbecue component.
Translation: Smoked meat platters by the quarter-, half- and whole-pound like you would find in a barbecue shop, with veggie fixings and salsas and warm tortillas to pile everything on right there at the table.
“Mister Oso’s menu focuses on the flavors I’m most passionate about: Latin-inspired dishes with elements of smoke and live fire in each preparation,” chef and co-owner Blake Edmunds said in a press release. “The menu highlights the kind of things we love to eat, including bright, spicy and shareable plates.”
One of the shareable plates is that taco salad ($19), stacked like a ground beef masterpiece, with the usual suspects — hard-shell tacos, lettuce and tomatoes — but also shishito peppers, Castelvetrano olives and French Mimolette cheese. Sorry, moms. This one’s better.
Depending on what time of night and how many drinks you both have had when you take your mom to test it, you’ll want that dish, maybe some other snacks and raw ceviches ($16-$18).
Whatever else you eat, though, do save room for the “barbacoa, parilla, and the smoky stuff” section of the menu. It’s the main attraction and a blend of smoking traditions as its name suggests.
Those juicy meats ($6-$11.50) topped with guajillo, chimichurri, tomatillo and more house-made salsas are where Edmunds and team really show their love for regional preparations and flavors. They also know when to step back from the housemade and outsource items, like tortillas from Abbondanza farm in Boulder (for corn) and Caramelo in Lawrence, Kansas (for duck-fat flour).
Their blend of borrowed and brand new has worked well for this group’s restaurants in the past. At Señor Bear, they’ve cultivated a following of trend-watchers and discerning critics. With Mister Oso, they’re likely to get a big bear hug from the diners — and don’t forget their moms — going out in RiNo.
3163 Larimer St., 720-677-6454, 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Monday, website forthcoming
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