I've got a secret — and I'm not even the governor of New York. I use Elway's in Cherry Creek like a prostitute. Truth is, Elway's is dependable, gives good service, and I know what I'm going to get there. Yes, the bar crowd may be a little long in the tooth, and the place isn't priced like joints you'll find on Colfax, but if you just want to stop by and get a great martini and a fantastic steak, Elway's always delivers a happy ending. Knowing this, I was really looking forward to having a cocktail at the second Elway's, which opened in January in the new Ritz-Carlton. But when I sat down in the lounge area and ordered my $16 Añejo Manhattan, made with Cuervo Reserva de la Familia, Vya Sweet Vermouth and Navan Vanilla Cognac, I felt like I got fucked. The drink wasn't the problem: Since Cuervo Reserva de la Familia is aged in oak barrels, it has a bourbon quality that was delicious in this cocktail, and the setting was impressive enough. But I'm guessing that when Eliot Spitzer paid for his overpriced call girl, he got fantastic service. I mean, isn't that why you pay a premium? Our waitress — let's call her server #9 — was just not up to the task. She made me feel like I was paying her not to care about us, when it's supposed to be the other way around: I thought I was paying to not have to care about her. Where the Cherry Creek Elway's often feels almost too warm and friendly, I found the downtown Elway's stiff. And not in a good way.
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