Brunch at Syrup Hits the Sweet Spot
Photos by Lauren Monitz
With all the food-named breakfast and brunch spots in town - Toast, Jelly, the Delectable Egg -- it's hard to know what really distinguishes one from the other. There's no secret with Syrup. With an entire menu of homemade syrups and flavored butters, it's hard not to opt for one of their sweet pancake creations (or at least get one on the side), even if you're the most savory of breakfast fans. See also: Frittatas and Friends for Brunch at Fooducopia
Syrup's two locations, downtown and in Cherry Creek, are open for business Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The LoDo location hides inside a maze of an office complex, so if you can find it amidst the more corporate side of Denver, it's a little haven of cuteness. And apparently a lot of people can, because there was a 20-minute wait smack dab in the middle of football Sunday. Bonus? They validate parking at the attached garage.
Syrup attracts an interesting mishmash of young, hip moms with strollers in tow, large groups wasting away the day, and everyone in between. The ambiance is dark with not much natural light and no patio, but with chic, modern grey and green walls clad with an endless row of mirrors, swanky, patterned light fixtures and white, decorative chairs that weren't as comfortable as they looked. Our server seemed a bit overwhelmed and more abrasive than necessary because it was busy, but not busy enough to justify being short (but really, is it ever justified?).
Syrup has a full menu of brunch cocktails, coffee creations and $4 you-call-it beers. I wanted the tempting specialty sangria with a garnish of strawberries, pineapple and oranges, but the bar was out of white wine so I shared a mimosa carafe with the girls. Instead of $6 a glass, you can get a liter for $12, and I'm glad we did because it was a great blend -- sweet, crisp, and with enough sparkling wine to balance the orange juice.
The menu is extensive (four pages of nothing but breakfast items!) and much more affordable than some of the other brunch spots in town. A flight of four silver dollar pancakes, three mini waffles or beignets, each with your choice of two accompanying syrups, will set you back just $5.99. Unlike Snooze, where the pancake flavors are the cornerstones of the flight, Syrup lets you choose the sauces to dress traditional buttermilk or buckwheat cakes. Feeling like I had to try the signature dish, I went with the mini 'cakes and butterscotch and maple vanilla syrups, although it was a tough choice. The syrups all looked equally delicious, and it was hard not to opt for a seasonal fruit or Kahlua Cream. They're good pancakes -- my only complaint is they were a little hard to cut -- and the butterscotch syrup was by far my favorite, albeit quite a sugar rush. There's also have an extensive a la carte menu, so for sustenance so I added an egg and hash browns for $2 each, guilt-free.
Two of my girls ordered different forms of egg dishes, which both tasted like lox plates minus the bagels. The New Yorker came Benedict-style, with smoked salmon, spinach and tomato, while the Lenny was an omelet with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, onions and tomatoes. I'm not generally a fan of omelets, which are often dense and heavy, but this one was fluffy, light and delicious, definitely something I would order next time. Our other companion went with the Carolina, another Bennie with pulled pork, Hollandaise and a drizzle of homemade barbecue sauce, which added an interesting touch of sweetness to the savory. The eggs on both Benedicts were perfectly poached, more so than my medium egg on the side, which was a bit overdone, but served its purpose as a protein. For the price at Syrup though, that's a minor complaint. And as good as everything else was, you really can't go wrong.
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