Lon Symensma runs a tight ship at Cholon Modern Asian Bistro. The chef/owner mans the pass with the perfection of any big-name chef out there, but with his open kitchen not only takes the time to greet friends and frequenters of his restaurant, he puts on a show for those seated at the chef's counter, similar to a sushi bar.
Having this front row seat at a prior visit, I fully recommend this front row seat to the action; however, for larger groups a table would be preferred. That's precisely where we found ourselves on this visit, right in the middle of the wonderfully adorned dining room.
One can since the Asian influence, not only in the décor, but in the soul of the food. This is not your typical Asian fare.
You cannot come here without trying the soup dumplings, a one bite deliciousness that literally explodes with flavor in your mouth. The wait staff is very knowledgeable with their recommendations.
The night was meant for a reunion of old friends and making a few new ones. We ordered food by the waves often looking to the waiter to help us, and we were not disappointed. Pot stickers and pork belly bites were followed by kaya toast, which I believe are the highlights of the small plate section of the menu.
The main dishes are meant to be shared among the table, but after the first bite or two, you may not pass the dish for the others. With a table of meat eaters, beef short ribs, rack of lamb, and the rib eye, cooked with the perfection of a steak house, kept the group happy. The accompaniment of a couple orders of Brussels sprouts and chow fun noodle almost stole the show.
A great environment for date night or in our case, a group of friends sitting in the middle of the room for three hours reminiscing and catching up on life events. All of this amidst the buzz of a packed dining room on a Friday night in one of the most popular restaurants in Lower Downtown Denver could not even distract this group to complete the order.