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PRIME TIME

On our second visit we ventured into unknown territory and tried the lobster tail ($37). Big mistake. I don't mind paying $37 for a nice, hefty tail if it's cooked right--but this thing arrived looking like an airbag right after the accident and had the same consistency. It had been overcooked until it was dry, tough and chewy, and no amount of melted butter (not clarified, by the way) could soften it--or us--up. We'd ordered the lobster as a "complete dinner" (another $4 brings a side dish and soup or salad, along with a collection of steamed vegetables accompanying the main event), and the sides improved things a bit. Although the salad was a loser--iceberg with two tomato wedges and a few red-onion rings--the beef barley soup was stunning, a concentration of reduced beef stock and plenty of beef chunks and vegetables. The broccoli au gratin ($4.25) brought enough well-cooked vegetables and creamy sauce for two. And while the twice-baked potato resembled a burst couch cushion, it was actually a comforting blend of American and white cheddar cheeses with whipped potato.

But the chocolate Bundt cake ($3.25) we ordered for dessert was as dry as the lobster, and the mixed-fruit pie ($4.50) filled with strawberries, apples, raspberries, blackberries and rhubarb was nothing more than a syrupy mess in desperate need of sugar. Only the autumn nut pie ($4.50) was a treat, with walnuts, pecans, almonds and pine nuts combined in a sound take on pecan pie.

The Summit faces an uphill battle if it wants to be included among Denver's best steakhouses. As it is, this place is past its prime.

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