Steuben’s Uptown: Brunch in Denver, Colorado

Steuben’s Uptown has long been at the top of my must eat restaurants in Denver for quite a while now. This retro American diner is well known for their regional American classics ranging from Maine lobster rolls to chicken & waffles. Established in 2006, Steuben’s now has two locations in Denver with one location in Uptown and another location to the northwest in Arvada. On this trip, I visited the Steuben’s Uptown location.

Because of my failure to plan ahead, I arrived at Steuben’s Uptown on a Saturday afternoon without a reservation. Expecting a long wait, I was pleasantly surprised when the hostess at the front door notified me that the wait would only be about 15 to 20 minutes. I think I got lucky as the morning rush was starting to die down. If you want to make a reservation and not have to worry, you can always make a reservation through OpenTable.

Interior

One of the coolest things about Steuben’s Uptown was the décor. The retro décor was part industrial, part mid-century modern with metal beams, stone walls and old-fashioned booths, lights, tables, and chairs. I felt as if I was thrown back into the 1970s but with a modern, funky twist without being cheesy. The dining room felt cozy and inviting.

Near the entrance was a full bar with a assortment of spirits and craft beers. The bar seemed like a great place to have a cocktail or local craft beer before or after your meal. Even if you aren’t eating, the bar seemed like a great place for a drink.

Those looking to dine outside will find a few tables on the smaller sidewalk patio. A larger enclosed outdoor patio was located just to the right of the entrance.

Steuben’s Uptown Menu

Steuben’s Uptown offered an assortment of menu options. You had a menu for the Bar, Lunch/Dinner, House-Made Desserts, Happy Hour, and Brunch.

On these menus you had an assortment of American classics found on the menu of any American diner. What made the dishes at Steuben’s Uptown unique is that they took these American classics and put their own twist on them that will open your mind and stomach.

With many of the dishes made by scratch in-house, there really wasn’t a bad choice. They even fly in hundreds of pounds of fresh lobster everyday from Maine for their lobster rolls.

The full Steuben’s Uptown menu including brunch, lunch, dinner, desserts, and happy hour can be viewed at https://www.steubens.com/uptown-menu/.

Chicken Biscuit

Fried chicken might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of brunch, but that wasn’t keeping me from ordering the Chicken Biscuit ($11.00). This simple plate was made with a scratch biscuit, fried chicken breast, bacon, and sausage gravy. All the good things in life. This towering beauty was served with a knife cutting right through the biscuit. It definitely caught my attention when it was placed in front of me. I was just hoping that it tasted as great as it looked.

It might be hard to see in the photo but the chicken breast was thick. They did not skimp out on the portion size. As for how the chicken was cooked, I would say it was acceptable. It wasn’t dry but it wasn’t moist. Chicken breast is a hard cut of protein to cook just right so this was understandable. It wasn’t dry so that was all that mattered. As for the breading, I loved it. The breading was crispy, crunchy, and stuck to the chicken without being too thick or too thin. And, it was seasoned well with a smoky flavor. While it wasn’t spicy, there was a hint of heat in the seasoning. Topping the chicken was crispy yet tender bacon that was both salty and sweet. Each bite the perfect balance of meaty goodness and melt-in-your-mouth fatty bits. While the bacon tasted great, it also added texture to the dish.

Each bite of the buttery scratch made biscuit was exactly what I was expecting. The biscuit was crispy on the outside while moist on the inside. I could tell it was made fresh in-house and not from a package. I also appreciated how the biscuit held its shape without falling apart, even when completely covered with thick sausage gravy. Just as with the biscuit, this gravy tasted home made and not from a can. In each bite of the gravy were chunks of moist sausage that had a hint of sweetness and saltiness but did not overpower the gravy. My only complaint with the sausage gravy was that it arrived on the cold side. It wasn’t a deal breaker but I would have preferred it to be warmer.

Monte Cristo

One of the more popular dishes found at Steuben’s Uptown was the Monte Cristo ($9.00). This classic sandwich was made with American bread, ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, and American cheese. Finishing off the Monte Cristo was a light dusting of powdered sugar. Raspberry preserves were served on the side.

While it might seem complicated, this sandwich was quite simple. You had bread topped with cheese and meat. The whole sandwich was first dipped into batter until fully coated then dropped into oil and fried until crispy.

While simple, the Monte Cristo featured many textures and flavors that worked well together. I think my favorite part was the puffy, crispy crust which formed around the American bread after being deep fried. I enjoyed how the crust added a crunchy yet airy texture to each bite while the inside remained soft and moist.

Layered between the two slices of bread was smoked turkey, black forest ham, Swiss cheese, and American cheese. Both types of tender meat added a smoky, salty flavor to each bite while the cheeses melted to bring everything together. Simple yet delicious with different textures in each bite.

After being deep fried, I found the Monte Cristo to be somewhat rich. The dusting of powdered sugar seemed strange at first, but after I took a bite, I understood how the sweetness of the sugar complemented the richness of the sandwich. The combination of deep fried foods and powdered sugar reminded me of a funnel cake I would find at a fair. They just worked well together.

Served on the side was a small serving of raspberry preserves. Just as with the powdered sugar, the raspberry preserves complemented the richness of the Monte Cristo. This viscous jam was the perfect balance of sweet and tart. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I kept going back for more.

Potatoes

If I wasn’t full enough, I decided to order a side of Potatoes ($3.00). For something as simple as potatoes, this was one good looking plate. On the side was a small serving of ketchup.

These deep fried potatoes were fantastic. I could tell right away they were made fresh and not from a bag. I enjoyed how the size of each potato was different and unique. There were smaller pieces and larger pieces. The smaller pieces were crispy and crunchy while the larger pieces were crispy on the outside while moist and soft on the inside. I enjoyed the differences in textures.

Delicious, flavorful, simple, filling, and cheap. No complaints here.

Service

While I had no issues with the service on my visit to Steuben’s, I could see how some people might feel differently. My server was friendly and helpful when ordering, even giving me her recommendations. After my food arrived, my server never returned once until bringing the bill at the end of the meal. I had no problem with this because there wasn’t anything else I needed. I could have flagged my server down if needed. Could she have returned to check up once to see how everything was? Sure. For me, it wasn’t a big deal. Depending on your needs, you might feel differently about the service.

There was also a 3% charge added to the bill for the back of house workers. While I had no issue with this, it would have been nice for the server to mention this charge before bringing the bill.

Conclusion

Out of all of the restaurants I visited on my trip to Denver, Steuben’s Uptown was my favorite. The food was fantastic, the service was great, the interior of the restaurant was designed well, and there was outdoor seating available. Whether you visit Steuben’s Uptown for brunch, lunch, dinner, or happy hour, you are sure to find something unique and delicious on the menu.

Pros

  • Scratch made dishes
  • Unique menu with American classics and more
  • Friendly server
  • Great décor

Cons

  • Server disappeared after food arrived
  • While not an issue for me, 3% charge added to all bills without any explanation beforehand

Hours

Monday-Friday: 11:00AM-11:00PM
Saturday-Sunday: 9:00AM-11:00PM

Address

523 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
GPS Coordinates: 39.743496,-104.980389

Map

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