Now that you're likely thinking of your special spot, not only would I like to hear about it (feel free to leave a comment) but I also want to share one of mine that recently landed on my short list: Elways Downtown. Now call me old-fashioned, but I've always loved steak and seafood when it came to fine dining. And though seafood may not be a Colorado forte, the beef certainly is. I give kudos to anyone that can do beef well, but anyone that can do seafood well is primo in my book. Enter Robert Bogart's Elway's at the Ritz.
Settled in a pristine hotel in the first place, Elways complements the class and elegance of the Ritz-Carlton with a modern, contemporary feel. But what ultimately makes the experience: the table service and wine program. Not only was the staff intelligent, but they were approachable, and in an elementary sense they make Elway's accessible to the common diner.
|The centerpiece of the dining room- a wine wall holding 1500 bottles of |
wine encompasses the best seats in the house.
When you show up, remember the magic words: Sommelier's Selections. Justin Jelinek has assembled a mature wine list of around 600 bottles, and 40 options by the glass (which is more than typical). From the outside looking in it's a feat to behold- but Justin walked us through his current favorites, and paired each course nicely with a selection that accentuated the natural elements of each dish. His passion was clearly reflected by the excitement in his presentation, and when it came down to it his approach was unique. Instead of offering us a glimpse into a lofty universe of wine culture, he put us at ease and welcomed us in to what Elway's had to offer.
After being welcomed by our service team, we immediately settled in with cocktails and a few appetizers. Smoothly at that, as with two folks designated to orchestrate the service experience, we were flawlessly transitioned from course to course with appropriate attention, timing and finesse. As each course was marked and cleared before the next, we were never left guessing but found ourselves comfortable in the experience.
Ultimately we dove into the cuisine that Bogart offers. With a focus on fresh ingredients and attention to detail, each dish we enjoyed was simple but unique.
|An impeccable sushi-grade: Striped Bass Carpaccio. Simply |
accented with fresh lime, ponzu and tobiko, and an indication of a
mature raw bar offering.
Pairing: 2008 Quinta de Aveleda Vinho Verde
|California Roll with Snow Crab, avocado and cucumber. Fresh, cool and sweet flavor profiles dance on your palate in this dish.|
|Lobster Cocktail- offering the WOW factor in presentation with 3 South African Lobster Tails over dry ice, and a selection of homemade sauces as accompaniments: spicy cocktail, Joe's Brown Mustard, and remoulade.|
|Freshly-Shucked Oysters on the Half- of the Kumamoto and WiAnno variety. Sweet, briny accents paired perfectly with a dash of lemon and tangy mignonette.|
|A simple way to finish the meal- with brownie lollipops. Just so your meat sweats don't let you forget where you are- the chocolate transfer offers a sweet reminder. Straight from the kitchen of the Ritz's own pastry chef Leslie Viets.|
After a 5 course meal, I have to admit that I left failing at the 22 oz challenge. But like I eluded to earlier, and as you can see there was a certain focus on seafood this particular night, as Elway's is just as proud of the swimming portion of their menu as anything. To reiterate, Bogart's focus is a simplistic one. Most dishes aren't weighed down by multiple accompaniments or fancy sauces, but rather the center-of-plate speaks for itself. Elway's is top-notch, and a fine attention to detail accompanied by the Ritz-Carlton's service culture finds one pampered in the experience. In other words, make up a reason to celebrate and splurge. It's worth it.
Dish It Up!
Rating: Excellent (3.5 dishes out of 4)
Avg Entree: $40
Open 365 days a year
Happy Hour daily from 2-6 in the bar and lounge: $3 drafts, $5 wine, $7 martinis and select food specials