Buchi Cafe Cubano is an excellent example of what makes the Denver food scene so great. For every new, elegantly furnished upscale spot that opens delivering either some sort of schtick or sublimity there is a small, unassuming hole-in-the-wall that has been knocking out quality bites for years. We duly recognize the culinary culture of this city is on the up and coming, so much so that it can be easy to overlook that a large portion of the city’s finest locales are not new. Eight years in the game, Buchi is still delivering the best Cuban food this side of Miami from its small storefront in Sunnyside.
Breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads, sides and desserts compose the food portion of the menu while soda, a small but thorough cocktail menu and most importantly the Cuban coffee cover the drinks. All of the items served are satiating, but a few are truly superb. Of the six lunch sandwiches offered the aye conyo ($11) is the biggest and the best. Two pieces of sturdy Cuban bread are filled with roast pork, ham, turkey, pepperoni, Swiss cheese, pickles, onions, hot peppers, mustard and key lime mayo. Panini pressed to dense perfection the sandwich arrives moist and crunchy. Highly recommended is a side of their house chimichurri, which differs from any I’ve ever encountered — cilantro, lime and a sizable helping of garlic are emulsified into a creamy paste so good the employees have deemed it “green crack”. At first glance the sandwich does not appear nearly as formidable as it is — but do not be fooled — this beast will easily have you needing a nap after lunch.
That is of course only if you make the mistake of missing out on the coffee. What I believe to be one of the best in the city — each version is impeccable both in terms of flavor and caffeine content. The rocket fuel is offered neither skinny, nor decaf a fact boldly written at the top of the coffee menu. They do make the concession of offering soy — though I assume begrudgingly so — as the fact remains unlisted. The cafe con leche (S $4.50, L $5.50) is three parts steamed milk, one part gorgeous Cuban espresso and raw sugar that when combined create something greater than the sum of its parts. The flavor is reminiscent of dulce de leche and the cup emanates a warm aroma of burnt sugar that is delicate yet unmistakable. Also available in the form of straight espresso or a cortadito which is half espresso, half steamed milk.
Open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Buchi primarily caters to the breakfast and lunch crowd intent on settling in to leisurely enjoy a cup worth savoring. The cozy interior boasts only seven tables and a bar while the patio provides but a few extra surfaces when the weather is permitting. From the beginning owner Emmet Barr has focused on the quality of the food above all else proving over the years that in order to make it in Denver flavor and authenticity is truly what counts.
Buchi Cafe Cubano. 2651 West 38th Avenue, open daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
All Photography by Canada Albin.