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Thursday, January 26,2012

Shine on

By Clay Fong

When I first heard the name of Boulder’s new eatery Shine, I was hoping it would feature entertainment by a troubled pianist portrayed by actor Geoffrey Rush. Alas, Shine appears more to refer to notions of maximized self-actualization than David Helfgott, although music is on the menu. The latest venture from the Emich triplets, this gathering space, bar and restaurant is just a few doors down from their former establishment, Trilogy.


The current location, formerly home to Redfish and Los Oasis Grill, is an expansive venue, and it makes sense that it also hosts DJ dance parties, world music performances, and yoga events. It’s not terribly surprising that when pal Andrew and I went for a recent lunch, much of the clientele was dressed as if they had just wrapped up yoga class. It also follows the menu of soups, salads, and entrees that feature generally healthy preparations, ranging from locally sourced grass-fed burgers to lentils prepared with coconut milk and Indian spices. There’s also a kids’ menu, and several dishes feature pickled elements.

Since both Andrew and I had to return to work after lunch, we declined martinis and housemade beer. Instead, we choose two of the $6.50 non-alcoholic potions. Andrew had the Owl Eyes, a beverage designed to enhance focus. With its fine ginger flavor tempered by apple, a drop of an herbal tincture overwhelmed the rhizome’s flavor with a strong cumin-like scent.

More balanced was the Liquid Hush, a vanilla-scented, steamed coconut milk cocktail served warm. This beverage created a pleasant effect reminiscent of drinking a not-too-sweet, frothy marshmallow with a whisper of Orangesicle.

As it was a cold day, we started with two $4 cups of soup. Andrew enjoyed a cup of Buffalo chili that was less assertive than an old-fashioned Tex-Mex preparation, but was still quite satisfying. The pureed Colorado Winter squash soup possessed just the right amount of spicing to ward off winter’s chill, while retaining spring-like freshness with a crisp kale chip garnish.

Andrew’s $12 French dip lamb sandwich spotlighted locally sourced meat from Lafayette’s Leistikow Farms, a far sight better than Aliki Farms. The thinly sliced meat carried a milder flavor that would pass muster with those who don’t typically care for lamb. “Splendid” best describes the dark and rich au jus sauce. On the side, this sandwich was accompanied by better than average sweet potato fries, distinguished by heft and earthy flavor.

Two jackfruit tacos were pricey at $13.50, but they were unique for Boulder. While my previous encounters with this ingredient were in fruit shakes at Vietnamese pho restaurants, I was aware that jackfruit has become a Southern California vegan taco favorite. Though it doesn’t entirely capture the flavor of meat or poultry, it does nail the texture, and Shine’s spicing helped the taste, as did a mouth-puckering fermented salsa verde. Blue corn tortillas contributed eye appeal, and sides of skillfully cooked black beans and quinoa rounded out the dish.

Shine certainly offers up a menu of healthy and innovative choices, although I would have been more enthusiastic if the prices were lower. However, the happy hour/late night menu does seem to address this concern with reasonably priced sliders and dishes of roasted chickpeas, to name a few choices. Shine reflects ambition on many levels, and certainly succeeds on uniqueness and quality.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

Shine 2027 13th St., Boulder 303-449-0120
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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WILL NEVER GO BACK - I am extremely disappointed in this place. I just had my 2nd experience at Shine the other day (giving them another chance) and was, to say the least, one of the worst restaurant experiences I have ever had. Coming from a service industry background and having worked in many different types of restaurants I would NEVER treat my customers the way the ENTIRE staff treated me on this occasion. 


I went in to enjoy their Saturday special of "bottomless mimosas" that went until 3pm. I called to ask more about their specials and I was instructed to "check their menus on the internet". The hostess didn't even have the decency or time to tell me what their menu/prices/happy hour was. When I came in I only had a short amount of time to enjoy the bottomless mimosas and I wanted to take advantage of what I was going to pay for. I asked if I could just get my drinks from the bar (because the server was taking forever to bring me my drinks) and I was told, "that's tacky, we can bring it to your table one and time, we aren't just going to let you open your mouth for us to pour champagne down your throat and then for you to throw up everywhere". What an assumption!!! First of all, it was a tiny little mimosa, half OJ, half champagne. No one is going to be throwing up anywhere. Second, why would that be your choice of words when speaking to a paying customer? I wasn't going out to get belligerent in the middle of the day, I just wanted to enjoy a little more than just one tiny glass of mimosa.


After all that BS and our check arrived, my friend and I split our payment with a card and some cash. The server decided to keep my friend's change of more than $6, as if she decided this was suppose to be her tip... My friend had to approach her to ask for her change. I have NEVER been in a situation like this. How rude to just decide what to keep instead of letting the customer calculate what you might have deserved as a server. 


I will never spend money at this place again and I would advise you not to as well. The people that work here are rude, disrespectful, and do not deserve your business.


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