Shells & Sauce and Marlowe’s Steak & Chophouse
So before I headed out-of-town last week, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few meals with good friends and family to catch up and wish me well. One of the places we went to, at my suggestion, was Shells & Sauce. Located off of 12th Street and Elizabeth Street in Denver, Shells & Sauce has become my go-to place for delicious Italian. Each time I go there I’ve tried something new off their ever-changing menu, and have never been let down. The house lasagna, their pasta arribiatta, the veal, you name it! The restaurant itself is comfortably cozy and always fills up their dining and bar space on the first floor (so I recommend getting a reservation). But, in the summer or a mild winter night you can venture up to the more secluded patio and bar area for a quiet, low-key evening. I hadn’t been to the second floor before, but I was pleasantly surprised by the change in ambience and the wait staffs extra attention to customers up there.
For dinner, my friend and I enjoyed gracious complimentary serving of freshly baked house bread with Shells & Sauce signature dipping oils. My oh my, this was good enough to make the meal! The bread was warm, soft and fluffy in the interior, perfect for dipping into oil and vinegar, which was blended just right. For the main course I ordered the 6 cheese pasta pouch, a tasty assortment of stuffed pasta, paired with the classic Peroni beer while my friend enjoyed the veal, accompanied by New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat. The lightness of the Peroni was well met by the mixed medley of fresh vegetables that accompanied the parmesan cream sauce which really made the meal. The pasta itself was cooked right to perfection, not too al-dente and by no means soggy. My friend’s veal was by all accounts delicious, her and waiter both raving about it for the rest of the night. All in all, Shells & Sauce is that neighborhood place to catch up with old friends, enjoy a superbly made meal, and all without breaking the bank. For the level of service and culinary talent this restaurant is a complete steal and always worth considering for the next “Date Night” outing.
That being said the other restaurant I recently visited is no stranger to Downtown living. Marlowe’s is a well-known staple to urban Denverites, located across from the 16th Street Mall on the corner of Glenarm and 16th Street. This upscale meat and potatoes restaurant also features a traditional bar area that is frequented by all sorts of 9 – 5ers ending their busy work days. That being said they also make a wonderful meal, with a menu that can do no wrong. My father and I settled in for a late night dinner after visiting the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo, taking place just a few blocks over at the Colorado Convention Center. Both of us starved, we immediately ordered something filling and warm for such a chilly long day.
My father ordered the steak and potatoes entrée, complete with a caesar salad and Big Nose Brewing Wheat beer. What amounts to a simple order could be anything from it when his dinner arrived. A tasty plate of seasoned and seared potatoes dribbled with house steak sauces and marinades was topped off by what looked like the ideally cooked medium-rare flank steak. I myself ordered the Bison Burger, complete with New Belgium’s 1554 and a house salad served with their Blue Cheese vinaigrette dressing. The salad was to die for! The medley mixture of vegetables was more or less commonplace, but the inclusion of moist yellow raisins, pine nuts, and the decadent vinaigrette dressing really took this “house” salad above and beyond. My burger was just what the doctor ordered before a trip to the Far East: meaty. Though it wasn’t beef, this treat packed just as much of a that hard to describe taste and feel, well complemented by the boursin and white balsamic shallots and toasted bun it was served with. The side of seasoned steak fries are better than any set of string or waffle fries and left me feeling full and satisfied; the ideal meal before a day of travel. So next time you’re walking around Downtown Denver without a clue as to a great place for beers, beef, salads or potatoes, give Marlowe’s a try.
Posted on November 10, 2011, in Dining and tagged Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo, Congress Park, Denver restaurants, Downtown, italian, Marlowe's, Shells & Sauce, steakhouse. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.