”How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?” ~ Julia Child
Brown Palace Hotel
321 17 St. – 303-297-3111
With several great eateries, this is always a fun place to dine. A bit on the pricey side but worth every dime. Or dollar.
The hotel’s “main” dining room is Ellyngton’s, a great room serving breakfast and lunch daily as well as the finest Sunday brunch anywhere. Breakfast is extremely popular, not only with hotel guests, but where local business folk meet to partake of great grub and converse at the same time. While most traditional items are available, the ample menu showcases classic dishes like bagels and lox, corned beef hash, Portobello eggs Florentine and other fare.
Lunch often starts with the hotel’s unbelievable New England Seafood Chowder. The expansive menu includes a multitude of salads: Cobb, Tuna Nicoise, Caprese, Grilled Salmon, Flat Iron Steak and traditional Caesar. There are over a dozen sangies and burgers as well as a multitude of entrees.
The Palace Arms is ultra-fine dining with a price tag to match. It’s open for dinner only. This is as elegant as elegant gets. In addition to their regular menu, they offer a four course tasting menu, which includes your selection of appetizer, soup or salad, entrée and dessert. I guess it’s an open list, but the term “tasting” sounds like small portions, and if I’m springing for Big Bucks at the Brown, I’m gonna get the largest portions I can. Probably fast for three days before going. Anywho, the munchies menu includes crab, abalone, tuna crudo, foie gras, and, among other goodies, French pressed suckling pig. Wow! Never had suckling pig, but it can’t be too big a portion since it’s an appetizer. Gotta go just for that!
There’s a choice of soups and salads, but we can pass on those and get to the real grub.
This room is so classy the menu lists the Chef, the Maître d’, the Chef de Cuisine, and the Sommelier. But they don’t tell you who cooks the meal. Remember, the executive chef kinda does lotsa things but none of which involve cooking. The chef de cuisine supervises the cooking and often writes the menus, so there must be someone who actually cooks! That’s the guy or gal you wanna know about, right? Rest assured the grub’s gonna be great.
There are about a half dozen entrees, not a large selection by any means. While the menu changes regularly, you might select from diver scallops, bone-in pork chop, bone-in prime rib-eye or Wagyu New Yawk steak, or several other choices.
Then there’s the chef’s eight course tasting menu. Remember the four course tasting menu above? Ok, double it. And probably double the price. Ceptin you don’t get a choice of selections. There are eight dishes and you get all eight. I don’t see anything that allows substitutions, and you have to place your order by 8 p.m. But I gotta tellya; this is one yummy-looking menu. Unfortunately the web site does not list prices, but like I sed at the beginning, bring money. Or at least a black American Express card. The Palace Arms is open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday 5:30 – 9 p.m.
More relaxed and affordable for both lunch and dinner is the Ship Tavern, with great sangies, super burgers, steaks and seafood and their very popular fine ale. The prime rib’s fantastic; it’s always available in sangie form. It’s open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dinner from 5 – 11 p.m. They now offer burgers in certified Angus, American Kobe or buffalo (really bison). Check out the Ahi Tuna burger. Dinner in the Tavern brings out the heavy hitters: prime rib, juicy steaks and the like. Some ladies think they’re not welcome in the Tavern cuz “it’s a men’s place”. But there’s nothing further from the truth. Gals’ money is just as welcome as anyone else’s. Shucks ma’am, why else would they offer a half dozen salads?
Churchill Bar offers drinks and cigars for lunch and dinner; you can tell you’re there by the smoke odors. They offer a limited menu of sangies and burgers, and prime rib or trout dinners. They do got lotsa desserts..
Traditional Afternoon Tea is served in The (Lobby) Atrium. They offer tea sangies, scones, tea pastries and Devonshire cream shipped direct from Merry Olde England. You can also munch on tapas and cocktails during the happy hour.
All the dining rooms offer a wide selection of desserts including the house famous macaroons.
There are three places in the world to have afternoon or “high” tea: The American Doll store (Chicago or New York), The Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. (Vancouver Island), and the Brown Palace. As of late last year, the Brown is now part of the prestigious Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. Make’s them a yowza.
Jay Fox is the dining critic for The Colorado Statesman. Send him your restaurant tips at Jay@jayfoxcpa.com.