La Sandia debuts at The Vistas

Posted 10/29/08

A veteran Denver restaurateur is betting that locals will have an appetite for authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist. Richard Sandoval formed …

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La Sandia debuts at The Vistas


A veteran Denver restaurateur is betting that locals will have an appetite for authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist.

Richard Sandoval formed Modern Mexican Restaurants, a leading international restaurant group that opened La Sandia Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar at The Vistas in Park Meadows Mall this week.

“My culinary mantra is old ways, new hands, and I aspire to put fresh, modern touches on authentic Mexican dishes,” Sandoval said. “With the opening of [The Vistas] location we’re reinterpreting old favorites and staying true to the modern Mexican name.”

La Sandia’s menu features a mix of Chef Sandoval’s signature dishes like the Carne Asada, or the Ceviche Tasting, as well as Mexican comfort food like taqueria-style tacos.

More than a dozen Mexican chilies, traditional spices and cheeses are used in Sandoval’s cuisine, and some of the ingredients are locally grown.

Lunch appetizers range from $7 to $9, and lunch entrees are $13 to $19.50. Dinner appetizers range from $7 to $10.50, and dinner entrees from $14 to $27.

La Sandia’s tequila bar, which boasts the shopping center’s only year-round rooftop deck, includes a collection of 100 different tequilas, margaritas, Latin cocktails and sangria.

Like many of the ingredients at La Sandia, cocktail mixes like sweet and sour are prepared fresh every day.

What’s more, the menu at La Sandia evolves throughout the day.

“La Sandia is in many ways a step to my beginnings where I have tried to embrace the food and warm spirit of my homeland, Acapulco,” Sandoval said.

“The people of Denver have embraced Tamayo and Zengo, and I am especially happy to share my food and these experiences with La Sandia.”

Tamayo and Zengo are Sandoval’s other restaurants in Denver.

Aside from La Sandia’s unique menu and bevy of cocktails, traditional Mexican folklore and modern design combined with the vibrant colors of Mexico make for authentic ambiance.

Lantern-like room dividers bathe guests in ethereal light, while traditional Loteria cards, a Mexican card game, are featured in wall prints, as well as on the menu and tabletops.

Spanish proverbs like “there is no better sauce than a good appetite” cover the walls.

The 7,200-square-foot restaurant seats 170 in the main dining room and 72 on the terrace.

“I opened my first Mexican restaurant in New York in 1997 as a result of passion for flavors and cuisine, little did I know how far things would go. My translation of authentic Mexican ingredients with contemporary cooking techniques started the movement of Modern Mexican Cuisine — lighter dishes with vibrant, contrasting flavors,” Sandoval said. “While my restaurants have come a long way, I am still most driven by the fond memories of family meals at my grandmother’s house and I hope that guests at La Sandia will share these feelings.”

La Sandia is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday, with live entertainment at Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekday happy hours in the rooftop lounge will run from 3 to 6 p.m., with live music Wednesday through Saturday.

La Sandia opens at The Vistas

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