Denver Bar Association
December 2006
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Stuck on Steuben’s

by Erica Vargas

Steuben’s offered history, class, comfort food and a truly eclectic, if not enlightening, experience for The Docket. For those of us who work downtown, Steuben’s is a quick jaunt up 17th Avenue to Pearl. It has a welcoming parking lot that helped the Docket crew avoid the turmoil of finding parking on a cold, snowy October evening.

The restaurant is named and themed after a Boston restaurant, nightclub and hotspot that the owner’s uncle opened in 1945. The cozy and clean décor is reminiscent of its 1940s Boston roots and has a familiar yet classic appeal. Its patrons ranged from the sweet teenage love birds out for a date to the trendier and fashion-conscience bar scene folks ... including, of course, The Docket.

Steuben’s was accommodating to our large group and offered quick and polite service. The restaurant had a nice-sized patio; however, on our visit it was covered in snow. The bar did not offer beer on tap and the bottled beer selection was somewhat limited, but Steuben’s had a range of wines and mixed drinks. The drink menu was clearly a reflection of the restaurant’s 1940s flair, as it offered fun beverage choices such as a Sloe Gin Fizz, Patio Lemonade and the Raspberry Lime Ricky. Another reflection of the restaurant’s roots was the $2 up-charge for all liquor served "up" or "on the rocks." This was a new concept for some of us Docket members (quipped Marshall Snider, "I’ve been coming to bars for 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this!") but our server informed us that on the East Coast it is quite common to have an "up-charge" for liquor poured straight up or on the rocks, because you get a bigger pour.

Unfortunately, not all of the Docket members made it in time to catch happy hour, which is currently 4–6 p.m., but the cost of drinks was not overly steep and was on par with most restaurants of its kind.

Pictured above: from left, Editor Stacy Chesney, Dick Ott, Greg Rawlings, Docket Chair Christine Nierenz and Erica Vargas. Not pictured: Paul Kennebeck, Dennis Walker, Chuck and Debbie Turner, Marshall Snider, Doug McQuiston and Mindy Marks.

We enjoyed an array of appetizers ranging from garlic shrimp, which was a Docket favorite, to habañera honey fried corn to chili soy chicken wings. Most people passed on the mussels but a few of us quite enjoyed this dish, as well. The meatball appetizer and meatball entrée were tasty and filling. The habañera honey fried corn and the Chinese ribs had a nice kick and were unique options on the Steuben’s menu. Presentation was simple and minimalist, but again quite appropriate for the motif of the restaurant. We indulged in French fries and were charmed when they brought them out in a tin container with a ’40s theme.

Overall, the experience was enjoyable. The restaurant was clean and friendly and the food was classic American, with some fun drink and menu choices. Steuben’s is open for dine-in or carryout Sunday through Thursday until 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until midnight. We dined-in on a Tuesday evening and were seated immediately even with a group of more than 10 people. The restaurant offers a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 3 to 5 p.m. they have an "in-between menu" — both interesting alternatives to your typical Sunday meal options.

Steuben’s is located at 523 E. 17th Ave. For more information, see its website: http://www.steubens.com.


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