Friday, February 27, 2009

Denver Restaurant Week (Part 3)

Part 3 means we, my wife, Julie, and I, went to our third restaurant. Tonight's winner was Elway's in Cherry Creek. This place has consistently been fairly top-rated on many of the review sites, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to see if I'm missing anything. I kind of expected this place to be too snotty for my taste, but I was surprised to see a friendly hostess and to be promptly seated at 8:00. We only received one 5280 menu, and as we looked around, we realized that was the norm. I don't understand why each person would not have their own menu. I perused their wine list and was impressed to see approximately 50 selections for wines by the glass, which was split about 50/50 between reds and whites. I like it when restaurants don't immediately assume you will be drinking a bottle. Perhaps the table has different tastes in wine. They started off good here. We received bread not too long after we had been seated, which was nice; however, the bread was really boring. Julie made a good point of saying if you're paying a lot for the dinner the bread should be better than plain rustic slices. Since she's pregnant, she obviously can't drink alcohol but wanted a drink that was fun. We told the waiter the situation, and he was very nice about it. She asked for a strawberry daiquiri, but they don't have blenders. Really? That's rather odd to me. Anyway, he said he would have the bartender make her something fruity, which was nice.
She started with the Caesar salad, and I had the charred red pepper soup. Mine was presented nicely in a very small iron pot. It came with a random piece of toasted bread with something drizzled on it. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to eat it or put in my soup. I opted to do both. My problem with the menu was that they lacked descriptions of what anything was. For example, I ordered the soup, but I didn't know what was drizzled on top of it or what other flavors were in the soup. That's information I like to have. For dinner, Julie had the salmon and I went with 10-ounce sirloin (medium rare). She said her salmon was the driest she had ever had. My sirloin was more on the rare side, but it was a thick cut, so that made sense. The cut of meat was a lot better than what I expected. It was seasoned very well, not overpowering. For sides, she got the mashed potatoes, and I had the creamed corn. I didn't try the potatoes, but she said they were good. The creamed corn was great. It wasn't too soggy or overwhelmingly creamy. The corn had just enough pop to it and just the right amount of sweetness. For dessert, we had no choice. They came out with their cheesecake/brownie lollipops. Now I was under the impression that they were a combined cheesecake/brownie experience not two different lollipops, but no, that's not the case. Anyways, they were blah. Considering this appears to be the signature dessert, it stunk. The only positive thing was how I thought the outside chocolate was a wrapper because it had Elways written on it, but other than that. . . The brownie piece was way too cakey and "out-of-the-box" tasting. The cheesecake piece was too sour and creamy.
The service was very good. They were fairly absent for most of the meal, but my water glass never went empty. In the end, Elway's was decent, however I think the restaurant thinks it is better than it actually is. Examining their non-5280 menu, I felt they had too many items on the menu. I think they'd do a lot better by focusing on fewer items and making those stronger.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Denver Restaurant Week (Part 2)

So it was back to our favorite restaurant. We hit up Restaurant Kevin Taylor tonight. As usual, it did not disappoint. It was definitely the most crowded we had ever seen it, and it was a little loud. Our one complaint is that we were a bit rushed. Keep in mind I don't mean rushed like Olive Garden rushed. This is normally a very relaxed place with a European-style of service. Tonight, we felt as though they might need our table. However, no food came out before the other course was through.
I started with the pork belly, which was very tender. For dinner, I had the sirloin and braised short-ribs, also very tender. I finished the night off with the crème brûlée
, which is always done well. Accompanying my dinner, was a nice Bordeaux. The interesting part of the night was watching this couple having a very nasty fight, but trying to keep it civil. They spent about an hour there and never ordered. The man stormed off several times. Finally, they both stormed off. We passed them on the street arguing, and the man was crying. Interesting situation. I'm not sure why I felt the need to share that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Denver Restaurant Week (Part 1)

Oh yes, it's my favorite time of year. Denver Restaurant Week has finally arrived!!! Can you feel the excitement? I expend so much energy in the weeks preceding this event trying to get people to make reservations. Am I heard? No. Do people care? No. What do I hear after the event starts or is over? "I forgot that was this week, and now I can't get in to any places." That's why you plan ahead. Roughly 225 restaurants are participating this year and about 160 have agreed to extend the $52.80 deals one extra week. How great is that? This year is a new record for me. I have signed up for 4 restaurants, one of which is my regular place, Restaurant Kevin Taylor. Tonight, we kicked off Denver Restaurant Week at Lucy. Below is my review of the place.

Yeah, I NEVER complain about service. I usually give everyone an excuse for any service issues, but this was too annoying. Most people's complaint of service is generally along the lines of poor, rude, or inattentive service. This was just annoying. We were promptly seated in a relatively quiet area of the restaurant and greeted by a very nice waitress. Our issues were how quickly she wanted to take our order and how dessert was presented to us. My wife and I were not eating fast, but definitely not being slow. It's Restaurant Week and for a 3-course meal, I'm going to take my time. She put out the silverware for our dessert while we were still eating, asked my wife if she wanted a doggy bag while she was mid-bite, and brought out our desserts while we were still eating dinner. She asked if she should take them back, and I was so thrown off by the action that it took me a moment to say yes. Let me say that she was very nice about it and never pushy, but what a horrible way to serve a table. Also, (and this is just my own quirkiness) she kept pacing around our area not doing anything. From my count, she had four tables under her command. Each table appeared to be relatively low maintenance, yet she hovered around like a Chinook trying to find a place to land in a rain forest. Every five seconds, I heard her swish by. I wanted to yell, "nothing else has changed, I'm still chewing the same bite you watched me put into my mouth moments ago!" I've said it before and I'll say it again, that's America, it's a problem. We like to rush you out the door. The worst part of it was that the place wasn't that crowded and there was definitely no one waiting for our table.
Now that I'm done with my complaint, I will say that the food was quite good and the menu did look impressive. I really enjoyed their wine selection by the glass, which was a lot larger than most places. I'm not sure that this place is ready to charge as much as it does for food. The service level does not really match the price. However, I do believe it has potential and is worth trying if you're in the neighborhood.