Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leaving the House Without Kids: A Perfect Two-and-a-Half Hours at Denver's Domo

In our still relatively new life with twin boys, my wife and I have reached for the time being a tenuous homeostasis between fatigue, love, sleep, shit on our clothes, smiles, crying, going crazy and having fun. In that time I have somehow managed to work full time, be as fatherly (and husband-ly) as I can and still find time to eat and then write about one restaurant per week on average. Eating at this many places usually means dragging along two sometimes happy and other times not-so-happy little boys which makes most of our going-out-to-eat experiences if nothing else, not boring.

The other night, however, thanks to family that is in town, my wife and I finally were able to leave the house without our babies in order to dine in a restaurant like we used to so many months-that-seem-like-years-ago. And of all the myriad options we had before us in Denver's continually burgeoning restaurant world, we chose one that has years and years on the scene yet still manages to be one of Denver's most unique, romantic and inspiring eating experiences: Domo.

Just the fact that we chose Domo for our first date in six months should tell you how fond I am of the place, and most of you reading this post are probably quite familiar with this Japanese-Denver institution. For those of you that are not, Domo is the definition of a hidden gem. Sandwiched between a construction company and an empty lot just south of Colfax, and across the street from DHA housing, crossing the threshold of Domo one very literally enters a completely different world. While the outside has touches of Japanese decor, the mostly non-descript square white building and gravel lot is in stark contrast to the wonderfully warm, intimate and traditionally decorated Japanese interior.

Domo is not only a restaurant serving incredible country-style Japanese cuisine, but it is also houses a small museum, an Aikido dojo and a Japanese garden. Every square inch of the place, from the thatched ceilings, to the slab tables to the pristine garden is carefully decorated and meticulously cared for.

Most of you likely know a lot about Domo, so I won't say much more except that if you don't know Domo then I hope you decide to go sometime soon. Otherwise let me share some more photos and tell you a little about what we ate. Enjoy.

We started out with a small plate of gyoza. These garlic-laden steamed-then-pan-fried dumplings were certainly not the star of the night, but they were a good way to line my stomach with some booze-absorbing starch for my potent tea-based cocktails.

We then chose an assortment of Wanko Sushi, named for the small plates they are served on (and then Trademarked which is pretty silly I must admit) according to the Domo website . They have ten different kinds of fish and the selection as far as I can tell never changes.

The sushi is served sliced over rice and with the sauce or "topping" of your choice. You are then given clear and direct instructions as to how you are expected to eat said sushi: pick up the bowl, scoop in mouth and don't even think about adding any soy sauce (which you won't find on your table anyway).

Of course, being told how to eat your food is usually always a good sign, and for even more information
on Western society's overuse of soy sauce (which I liken to our overuse of ketchup) you can explore Domo's website to see just how deep the passion of anti-soy-sauce-excess runs.

Of all the pieces we ordered, my absolute favorite was the Ika (squid) covered in smelt roe. The bright orange roe copiously covered the delectable slices of squid. The intense flavors were just what we were craving in our first sushi meal since my wife was pregnant over a year ago.

Also a close second was the Unagi (freshwater eel) covered with chopped avocado.

The rest of the sushi was of course good as well: a simple Maguro and Saba along with a beautifully steamed surf clam with grated ginger.  

We also picked at a large plate of teriyaki with grilled calamari, scallops and shrimp tempura. It was simple and delicately seasoned so that the subtle notes of the scallop and calamari were not lost. The tempura was perfectly battered and fried--crisp, light and wonderful.

And of course no night is complete at Domo without sampling the seven sides that are served to each table. Tonight there was everything from a light, cold bean salad and airy tempura vegetables to a more hearty pork stew and small meatballs.

Domo is a wonderful, reassuring constant in the ever-changing restaurant world. And with the latest trends of chefs trying there hardest to be seasonal and local (both good things no doubt) Domo is refreshingly non-seasonal and exotic. And despite the relatively stagnant menu, it continues to execute well, take great care in its ingredients, value the aesthetic of its presentation and simply be one of Denver's great restaurant experiences.

Domo doesn't take reservations so if you want to eat in their stunning, tranquil garden get there early or be prepared to wait. While you wait (you will almost definitely wait) you can see if you can verify what we first noticed this night after dining at Domo now regularly for years: All the female servers have name tags with names of flowers. (I haven't see a coincidence like that since the end of a long night at a bachelor party in Reno.) But however mildly creepy that is, there is nothing but good still coming from the Domo kitchen, and that is what matters in the end. 

Dōmo on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm a bit chagrinned to admit that I have only been to Domo once -- and that was in winter, for lunch and several years ago. I seem to remember that they were quite proud, at the time, of NOT serving sushi. Either I am misremembering or the restaurant has changed its philosophy. Your post -- both words and pix -- has caused me to notch it up on the list. Thanks. Claire at

  2. Yeah, I think they like to use the full "Trademarked" name, Wankosushi, which is, of course a little ridiculous.

  3. Glad you got a night out at your favorite place. All the food looks delicious as I'm sure it was!

  4. One of our favorite places. Thanks for reminding folks to get on over to Domo. I'll never forget my first time eating there - it was a rainy, fall afternoon and the zen atmosphere with all the natural wood and green plants was as memorable as the food.



11N (1) A Federal Case (1) A Taste of the Philippines (1) Acapulco Tacos (1) Ace Eat Serve (1) adobo (1) Adrian Miller (1) aguas frescas (2) Al Lado (1) Al's Beef (1) alambre (4) Ali Baba Grill (1) All-V's (1) Araujo's (1) arepas (4) Argentina (2) art (1) asada (2) Aurora (5) authentic (1) Award (1) Azul (1) bacon (1) bagel (1) Bailey (1) bakery (1) baklava (1) baleadas (2) Ban Thai (1) Bánh mì (2) barbacoa (4) baseball (6) Basil Doc's (1) BBQ (2) beer (3) bibimbob (2) Biker Jim (1) birria (1) biscuit (2) Bistro Vendome (1) Bonnie Brae Tavern (1) books (2) Boulder (3) Boulder International Film Festival (1) Bourdain (1) breakfast (3) breakfast for dinner (1) breakfast tacos (1) brunch (2) Brussels sprouts (1) Buffalo wings (2) buffet (2) Bun Hanoi (1) burger (3) burrito (8) cabeza (2) Cafe de Tacuba (1) Cafe La Habana (1) Cafe San Juan (1) camping (1) Canada (1) Carl Sandburg (1) carne en su jugo (2) carne seca (1) carnitas (2) Cava (1) cecina (1) ceviche (2) change (1) charal (1) chica morada (1) Chicago (10) Chicago Louie's (1) Chicago Style (1) chicarron (3) chicharron (4) chicken skin (1) chilaquiles (5) Chile (3) chiles en nogada (1) Chili Verde (1) chimbolo (1) Chinese (2) Chinese New Year (1) chorizo (4) chorrillana (1) Christmas (1) churros (2) cinco de mayo (2) CLOSED (6) coffee (4) Colorado Springs (1) Colt and Grey (1) Coney Island (1) contest (9) crab (1) crawfish (1) crispchon (1) Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria (1) Cuban sandwich (7) cupcakes (1) curry (1) Cypress Hill (1) Dae Gee (1) Dancing Noodle (1) deep dish (1) deli (1) Deluxe (4) Denveater (7) Denver Biscuit Company (1) Denver Botanic Garden (1) Denver County Fair (2) dessert (2) Dim Sum (1) diner (1) DINR (7) discada (1) dolmades (1) Domo (1) donuts (1) Dorilocos (1) dreams (1) duck curry (1) dumplings (2) durian (1) EatDenver (2) El Boricua (1) El Camaron Loco (1) El Costeno (1) El Diablo (2) El Divino (1) El Fogon (1) el guero tortero (1) El Olvido (2) El Paisa (3) El Pariaso (1) El Rico Dicho (1) El Salvador (2) El Taco Rey (1) El Tamarindo (1) El Tizoncito (1) El Trompito (1) elote (1) Emapanda Express Grill (1) Empanada Express Grill (1) empanadas (8) enchiladas (1) enchiladas mineras (1) Encore (1) epicurious (1) Ernie's Bar (1) Euclid Hall (1) event (1) Evergreen (1) falafel (1) Fantasy Island (1) Filipino (7) film (7) fire (1) First Friday (1) fish tacos (3) flan (1) flautas (1) flyfishing (1) food truck (7) food cart (6) football (2) French (2) fried chicken (2) fried tacos (1) frijoles charros (1) Frijoles Colorado (1) Fritangas (1) frito pie (5) fruit (1) frybread (1) G6 (1) gallo pinto (1) garnachas (1) Gastro Cart (1) Gaudalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet (1) Globeville (1) Golden (1) good Mexican food (10) good signs (5) gorditas (1) Grandma's Korean BBQ (2) Greek (1) Greek Town (1) green chile (12) Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet (1) gyro (4) Halo-Halo (1) Harvest Week (1) Hi Rise (1) Honduran food (1) hot dog (5) huarache (4) Huerfano Cafe (1) Hush (1) Hutch and Spoon (1) Ian Kleinman (3) ice cream (1) Indian taco (1) itacates (1) Italian beef (6) Italian-American (2) Jabo's (1) Jack-n-Grill (1) James Mazzio (2) Japanese (1) Jax (1) Jiutepec (1) Jollibee (1) Jonsey's Eat Bar (1) kabob (1) Kaladi (1) Kavkaz Bakery (1) kids (2) King's Land (1) Korean BBQ (4) La Cascada (1) La Chapina (1) La Flor de Michoacan (1) La Loncheria Mexicana (1) La Mexicana Taqueria (1) lamb (3) Lao Wang Noodle House (1) Las Torgtugas (2) Las Tortas (1) Laughing Ladies (2) LDP (2) Le Trompeau (2) Leandro Cristobal (1) lechón (5) lengua (1) Leobardo's (1) LoHi (1) lonchera (7) longaniza (2) Los Angeles (1) Los Carboncitos (1) Los Farolitos (2) Los Gallitos (1) Los Pastes (1) Los Toritos (1) Lou Malnati's (1) lox (1) lumpia (2) lunch (2) machaca (1) Mama D's (1) Mama Tere (1) mango (1) Map (1) Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria (1) mariachi (1) Martin Rios (1) Masterpiece Deli (1) Maxwell Street (1) mayonnaise (1) Mexican Canoli (1) Mexican hot dog (1) Mexico City (9) Mexico City Restaurant and Lounge (1) michelada (2) Middle Eastern (6) Mile High Vienna Beef (1) molcajete (1) mole (8) Monte Vista (1) Motulenos (1) Mulli (1) Museo de las Americas (2) mushrooms (1) mussels (1) mystery meat (1) Navajo taco (1) New Mexican (3) New Siagon (1) Nicaragua (2) nitrogen (1) Nonna's (1) North County (1) NOT CLOSED (1) old school (1) Ondo's (1) Operation Front Line (2) Orange Crunch (1) Oscar's (1) Osteria Marco (1) oysters (1) paleta (1) pan dulce (5) Panaderia Rosales (1) pancit (2) Papas Locas (1) Parallel 17 (1) Park Burger (1) Paste (1) pastries (1) Pasty (1) Patricia Quintana (1) Patriotic Independence Gathering (1) pepper and egg (1) Peruvian (2) Philippines (3) pho (3) Pho 77 (1) Pho Duy II (1) Phoenician Kabob (2) Piccolo's (1) Pig Out (1) Pikka's (1) Pinche Tacos (2) Pinche Taqueria (1) pizza (9) Planet Barbecue (1) poblano (1) pollo a las brasas (2) Pomfreet (1) pork (3) poutine (2) pozole (1) pronunciation (1) Puebla (1) Puerto Rico (1) pupusa (5) quesillo (1) recipe (6) Recovery Room (1) Red Tango (1) rice and beans (3) Richard Sandoval (1) Riki Takaoka (1) Rise and Shine (1) roast pig (2) Rosca de Reyes (1) Route 40 (1) Russia (1) Sabor de Mexico (1) Salida (4) salty lemonade (1) Santa Fe (1) sausage (5) seafood (4) Seattle (1) shawarma (2) shrimp cocktail (1) Silla (1) Simpsons (1) smothered (7) sope (1) South American (1) southern colorado (8) Starz Denver Film Festival (3) Steven Raichlen (1) Stevo's (1) street food (9) strip malls (1) Studio F (2) stuffed (1) suadero (1) Sub sandwich (1) Sue of Siam (1) summer food truck boom (3) Sunburst Grill (1) sushi (1) Sustainable Food Film Series (1) sweets (2) Table 6 (3) taco al pastor list (2) taco arabe (1) taco truck (8) taco vampiro (1) Taco Veloz (2) TacoMex (1) tacos (2) tacos al pastor (37) tacos al vapor (4) Tacos Copacabana (2) tacos de canasta (1) tacos de trompa (1) tacos dorados (1) Tacos el Chorizo (1) Tacos El Gordo (2) Tacos El Sampa (1) Tacos Junior (2) Tacos Tijuana (1) Tacos y Salsas (2) Taiwanese (1) tamales (3) Tambien (3) tapas (2) Taqueria el Valle Aurora (1) Taqueria el Valle Denver (1) tarta (1) Taste of Chicago (1) Taste of the Nation (2) Teleras (1) Telluride (1) Tepotzlan (1) teriyaki (1) Thai (5) Thai Avenue (1) Thai Flavor (1) The Bagel Deli (1) The Berkshire (1) The Biscuit Bus (1) The Corner Office (1) The Inventing Room (1) The Pasty Republic (1) The Red Claw (1) Thornton (1) Ticorito (1) Tin Star Cafe Donut Haus (1) Tocabe (1) Toluca (1) Toluca Mexican Restaurant (3) tongue (1) torta (5) torta ahogada (2) torta Cubana (1) torta de tamal (1) Torta Grill (2) torta poblana (1) tortilla (1) Tortisimas (1) travel (15) Tres Pupusas (1) truffle fries (1) Turtux (1) Udi's (2) US Thai (1) Utah scones (1) Venezuelan (2) Victoria (1) Vietnamese (3) vietnamese sandwich (1) vigaron (1) Walsenburg (1) Westword Best Food Blog (1) whiskey (2) Willy's Buffalo Style Hot Wings (1) Work & Class (1) Xiao Long Bao (2) yuca (1) zombies (1) Zorbas (1)