Downtown Denver’s elevated steakhouse
One could go a whole meal at Elway’s Downtown, a steakhouse located within The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, and never realize it's named after one of the Denver Broncos' best and most beloved quarterbacks of all time, John Elway.
The steakhouse is actually a chic spinoff of his Cherry Creek restaurant, and it opened with the hotel in 2008. While hints of the athlete’s long career peek out from time to time in the form of memorabilia and tucked-away paintings, Elway’s is overall more of an ode to another Colorado tradition — the hand-cut steak.
Like the rest of the hotel, Elway's was recently renovated. You can see the updates in the new sitting area, a community space created both for restaurant patrons and guests of the hotel. Here you can relax, order food and maybe choose a glass of wine from the carefully curated list.
The big feature of this space is the large community table designed by local Aspen firm Rowland + Broughton. The new light-up onyx divider between the main dining room and the bar helps to section off the spaces without making them feel like separate rooms. This is good for those who want to leisurely lounge with pint of Colorado beer and an appetizer rather than commit to the full steakhouse experience. Of course, you can always do both.
If you crave a little bit of sunshine, the sleek little outdoor terrace is open for lunch and dinner. Inside, you’ll find a long curved bar with bar tables on one side and tufted leather booths on the other. The latter subtly channels the American football while offering a plush, comfortable place to sit.
You can also opt for one of the deep red chairs surrounding the main dining room’s sturdy cherry wood tables. All of the space exudes rich browns and warm reds and gold, giving it a den-like vibe ideal for passing anything from time to plates to the salt.
As the second of four Elway's locations, fans of the first spot in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver will be pleased to find an almost identical menu. But unlike that standalone spot, this one is run completely by The Ritz-Carlton. That means you benefit from the hotel's award-winning staff and its focus on hospitality.
Another thing hotel guests benefit from is the 24-hour room service — you can order the Colorado Wagyu burger with green chiles and cheese, a crisp Cobb salad or steak tacos with pineapple-habanero salsa from the confines of your luxury suite any time of day. Elway's is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and for weekend brunch.
Like any good steakhouse, you can expect white-linen-clad tables with enough room to hold a feast of rib eye, fresh seafood and glorious sides. To start the meal, order the classic Dungeness crab cakes with Granny Smith apple slaw; the grilled artichokes with garlic aioli; and the shrimp cocktail, an unassuming dish featuring giant crustaceans chilled over dry ice, a trick that makes it look like the food is smoking.
Entrées off the vast menu include the Meyer Ranch 20-ounce prime rib, rosemary-crusted Colorado lamb or the prime beef enchiladas, a dish The Ritz-Carlton brought over from the original location after a guest bemoaned the absence.
Get ready for those storied sides. You’ll want to choose more than one. Options include Brussels sprout hash with toasted almonds and au gratin potatoes; garlic spinach with herbed goat cheese and creamed corn; hash browns with caramelized shallots; and the Denver restaurant’s fried rice with duck confit.
Don’t pass up dessert, either. Pick decadent dishes like banana pudding with chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies or the toffee bread pudding served warm with s’mores ice cream and seasonal fruit compote.