It was kind of like walking onto a movie set where we were hired to be the extras to so many, many actors. There was the requisite group of business men, yucking it up over scotches and big steaks. Another group of men, dressed to the nines dining at a circular table with one, lone woman who seemed to be enjoying herself way more than the men. The chic foursome on a double date, a good 15 years younger than the rest of the crowd, were on their cell phones the majority of the time, maybe texting each other. Older couples enjoyed a good glass of wine and shared a steak and several side dishes, laughing at each other’s jokes. It was a microcosm of what I imagined it was like when grown ups go out to dinner, when I was a kid. It was Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in the Denver Tech Center. We were there to enjoy some things off of their fall menu.
Now, none of what I described is meant to be an insult to anyone dining there the night my husband and I were there. Just that the vibe was so adult and important, yet people in graphic t-shirts sat with people in full-blown business attire. The decor (soon to be updated) that has set the tone for the last 20 or so years in this location, with dark woods and white table cloths, is serious. Yet the service is friendly, warm and conversational.
Side dishes are priced separately and are served up for you. The food photographer in me was screaming “Nooooo, I didn’t get a picture of that gratin in its serving dish!” But the feeling of having someone spoon something up and put it on my plate felt like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. Turns out, part of the reason for the assistance is that the servers know exactly how much to divvy up to each person, based on how many are at the table. I can appreciate that. You wouldn’t want to be dining with the guy who is mindlessly spooning scoop after scoop of the mashed potatoes, leaving none for the next three people around the table. “Oh, did you want some?” I hate that guy.
So, there we were, extras in this movie that, we imagined, moved from table-to-table, listening in on each conversation doing closeups of faces, hands and cleavages. declarations of love, mergers being decided, gossip being told. We just took it all in, and the food and drink of course, starting with Charred Octopus ($19), not knowing what to expect. I’ll be honest, what we got was a little alarming, and yet elegant and striking. Meaty and mild, the tentacle was hard to cut with our regular knives but would have been like butter with a steak knife. It is served with a hint of lemon, tomatoes, olives, gigante beans, basic, arugula and saffron mayo.
Next, Burrata ($14) came, served with heirloom tomatoes, aged balsamic reduction and pesto. Lovely, white and squishy inside, just as burrata should be, it was creamy and yummy, perfectly complemented by the flavorful tomatoes.
Steak time! The 45 Day Dry Aged Prime Strip (16 oz, $68) arrived, as did Chef Mario, a nice treat for us, who explained that using 45-day dry-aged steaks was new to the company and he was really glad about it. He loved the way the process in which the steaks are aged in a room with salt walls, removes some of the moisture from the meat, resulting in a more intense (but still tender) flavor and an outside that sears and caramalizes perfectly. It’s like bringing out the best of the best of the meat.
As mentioned above, we were served our sides, graciously. We ordered new, fall items, the Creamed Corn ($14) with blistered shishito peppers and Spaghetti Squash Gratin ($14) with parmesan cream and roasted pistachios. The corn was almost cheesy with just the right amount of heat. The Spaghetti Squash was more savory than one often gets with the veggie that is often treated more like a Starbucks PSL drink, heavy on the sweet and spice. With both dishes, it was clear you were eating your veggies but with an elegance and enhancement.
Dessert was the Chocolate Mousse ($10) with salted caramel chocolate fudge and miniature brownie cookies on the side because, naturally, you need a side of chocolate with your chocolate. I like their thinking at Del Frisco’s! This was like that dish of chocolate pudding at Grandmas done up big and luscious – minus the rubbery skin on top (go ahead, debate the merits of pudding skin amongst yourselves.)
The cocktail program has been revamped and includes 14 new cocktails. We tried the Honey Comp Spritz (sparkling rose, honey syrup and Angostura bitters, garnished with mint sprig and honey comb), the Sapphire Bramble (Bombay Sapphire, Domaine de Canton Ginger, fresh lemon juice, Monin blackberry syrup and basil leaves garnished with thyme sprig and pickled blackberries) and the VIP, Del’s most popular martini that is a mainstay on the menu. They also have 60 additional new wines added to their impressive wine list of more than 1,200 options.
We may have felt like movie extras coming in, but we certainly felt like stars throughout dinner. The service was amazing. Our server, Beth, had worked at this location for 20 years! She loves her job, loves the company and it shows. It’s so nice to go to a restaurant where your server is happy to be there.
Del Frisco’s is full of surprises, from some of the prices (yes) to the serving methods, to the size of the place (they have four private rooms you can rent for large groups – the place goes on and on), to the gorgeous patio out front which makes us SO wish we had discovered it at the beginning of the summer. It’s your business-meal, big date, just-because place to go, especially now, with the new offerings on the fall menu.
Check out Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, located at 8100 East Orchard Road, Denver.