Jan 102008


I imagine this place is better for a nice dinner than it is for lunch. But rich people gotta go somewhere right?

Welcome to 40 Sardines a truly beautiful restaurant right in the heart of JoCo’s ridiculousness known as Town Center Plaza. Actually is at the edge of TCP but you know what I mean.

40 Sardines is the kind of place you take a client out for lunch. If only I had clients in my line of work. Or perhaps a birthday lunch for a co-worker, if only I worked close to there. Or perhaps someplace to have a nice bite and a glass of wine after a hard morning having your nails done, shopping for the kids at Vera Bradley, and purchasing a $100 cheese grater for the maid at Williams-Sonoma. That’s the lunchtime vibe here.

Not that the food isn’t delicious.

The lunch menu is pretty small for a typical lunch place, but not for a fancy restaurant. If you are up for a nice lunch, there is plenty to be excited about, like wood-fired burger, crispy short rib sandwich, and the Gala apple, maytag blue cheese, confit chicken & bibb lettuce concoction. A few things, like the ‘Olive oil poached ahi tuna melt panini’ make it seem like they are trying too hard. It’s like they are combining three trendy preparations in the hopes that ones of them sticks. The menu changes periodically–sometimes they have a delicious seared scallop dish that is not to be missed and a decent lettuce wrap plate with vietnamese dipping sauce.

The style of the restaurant gets a little lost, but it seems to lean toward the pan-asian classification. I tend to be suspicious of places that don’t have “specialties,” but generally this chef is good enough to pull it off. You won;t have a bad meal here, but it won;t blow you away. The prices are very good for what you get, everything runs between 8 and 13 bucks, but the portions are not huge. But you’ll live.

The service is the usual 20-something kiss your ass bullshit that you get at nice restaurants. They are clearly trained to make small talk, suggest dishes, wines and so-forth which may appeal to some douche bags but not this one. I have had great service there once, and perfectly efficient but semi-annoying service the other few times.

Though I’m not a big wine-drinker, it’s easy to see why folks are impressed with the wine selection. They offer a number of items by the glass and the bottle, including the unbeatable “20 wines for 20 dollars!” Usually places will have maybe one $20 bottle, but this is pretty sweet. But for lunch? not the biggest draw.

JoCo folks love this place because they feel that finally they have a really good locally owned restaurant to be proud of. No, Applebee’s doesn’t count. For my money, Il Trullo beats the pants off 40 Sardines, but it’s kind of apples and oranges. Anyhow, check it out for a pompous good time and some decent eats. If you are the meat and potatoes kind of person, it’s best to skip it.

Read more:

40 Sardines on Urbanspoon