Denver is pretty crazy about it’s brunches — in a way that I’m somewhat baffled by. There are literally 30-60 minute wait lines out the doors of Steuben’s, Snooze, Jelly, and the such. Hipsters love them some brunch. But I hate lines, so it’s usually a lost cause to try and drag me to a popular brunch place unless the food is pretty amazing (and booze, because brunch must have booze).
Except for when it comes to Sassafras…
I will always go to Sassafras if I get the chance. The Capitol Hill location is at 320 East Colfax, although there’s also one on 2637 W 26th as well. The food is amazing and the drinks are spectacular. If the words “beignet,” “gumbo,” and “Bloody Mary” don’t conjure up a special, magical place in your head, then there’s something wrong with you.
NOTE: It does get busy here and they don’t take reservations, but you can sometimes call ahead when you’re on your way to hold a table.
THE ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
I love what they’ve done with the inside here. It’s absolutely adorable — from the mini chandeliers, to the colorful cloth napkins, to the cute salt & pepper shakers, to the painted alcove made to look like a Louisiana terrace. It feels spacious and hip, but also comfortable and homey.
If there’s one thing you take away from this: get the beignets. A “beignet” is a French pastry that’s commonly eaten for breakfast in New Orleans. It’s basically freshly-made, deep-fried choux paste (light pastry dough) — that’s then covered with powdered sugar and served while it’s still hot. Worth…every…calorie. And don’t forget to try their homemade berry jam with it, too. I would even say that these are better than the ones at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans (our altitude makes them fluffier).
As for your main dish, you can’t really go wrong here. If you’re a fan of hollandaise (which sadly I am not), my friends have all said that Sassafras has some of the best hollandaise they’ve ever tried. And the Oyster Po’ Boy is a proper po’ boy, overflowing with juicy fried oysters. I highly recommend getting a side of dirty rice with whatever you get (it’s got meat in it!).
My personal favorite, though, is the etouffee. An etouffee is similar to a gumbo, but poured over rice. There’s crawfish, shrimp, tons of butter and spices, and optional bacon (get the bacon). If you like Cajun food, you need to try this. I could literally eat this every day. In fact, I probably overeat every time I get this, because it’s a pretty large portion (and I’ve just had the beignets), but it’s just too good to stop! I know, first world problems.
BLOODY MARYS: I’m pretty picky about Bloody Marys. I hate if they’re too peppery, or taste like they came out of a bottle, or not even remotely spicy (I hate a lot of things). But these are damn near perfect. I recommend the “Sassafras” Bloody Mary (house-made spicy tomato mix, with a quail egg and bacon on top). Again: bacon! If you like it really spicy, the “Marie Laveau” Bloody Mary is spiked with ghost chili. I wouldn’t do the “BBQ” Bloody Mary again (and this is coming from a huge meat-lover). It’s just too sweet for a Bloody Mary.
MIMOSAS: If you’ve never had an apple mimosa, you need to try it now. It’s like drinking a boozy Martinelli’s cider — which is pretty much the moment when your inner child and adult collide.
ICED TEA: Even the iced tea is delicious (and they keep refilling it). And yes I know, it’s weird for me to be talking about a non-boozy drink, but we all sometimes need to take a break and re-hydrate. Or you know, add some bourbon 😉
And with that, I’m back to stuffing my face with beignets!
Actually, one more thing.
I found these awesome little salt & pepper shakers last time I was there, and I just had to share 😉