With a playful twist on tapas-style dining, Session Kitchen encourages sharing globally inspired, locally sourced, seasonally influenced cuisine in large and small portions. Weekend brunch is the re-conceptualized version of its lunch menu, which management did away with a few months back, so it's still a relative secret - meaning there are tons of open tables. It's a great way to try one of Denver's most unique restaurants if you haven't gotten over there yet. I went on opening week for dinner and they hadn't worked all the menu kinks out yet, with patrons being a bit confused by the session concept, but I'm glad to have gotten the opportunity to give it a second chance -- ordering is much more straightforward now, with the menu simply separated into large and small plates.
Open for brunch Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., it's a safe bet you won't have any trouble getting a table because the dining room is gigantic -- so stumble in as late as you like. They have a dog-friendly patio bar that allows for ample people watching on South Pearl, especially when the farmer's market is going on. Overall the staff was great, super-attentive and knowledgeable about modifications and dietary restrictions.
Perhaps even more remarkable than the food is the space. With an interior set to impress based on sheer size coupled with thoughtful design touches, Session is a truly immaculate environment. With a bit of a Vegas vibe, bicycle spoke seats and colored light that change with the tempo of the music, it's a sensory overload -- in a good way. It's a living, breathing gallery; methodically scan the room to take it all in -- and then look again, because you're sure to have missed some of the local and international art strategically placed throughout the room. One major win was the music, which I immediately noticed were great tunes to ease you into the day without being overly loud or aggressive -- perfect mood for food during the breakfast hour.
Session Kitchen is owned by the Wynkoop and Breckenridge Brewery Group, so you know drinks are aplenty. With two full bars, it's more like a drink lab of delicious concoctions mixed in the same flasks and beakers you used in science class, plus a healthy wine and beer selection. A few specialty cocktails caught my eye that were also on the dinner menu, one made with a pho-flavored syrup (not to be confused with the Vietnamese soup itself) and another that included smoked, frozen cantaloupe. We decided to keep it simple with hand squeezed OJ (served over ice with lots of pulp!) and Novo coffee.
For the "Jam Sessions" (small plates), many of the salads and sides are also offered on the dinner menu, so once you get over the thought of eating veggies for breakfast the options are really quite tasty. On the waitress's recommendation, we went with the grilled green beans, thankfully made as unhealthy as possible, doused in lemon juice, a Marcona spice blend and Roquefort -- some of the creamiest blue cheese I've ever had -- from the local Ugly Goat Milk Company. Thankfully, they brought that on the side as a modification for my gluten-free friend so I could indulge in stinky cheese heaven to my heart's content.
Keep reading for more about brunch at Session Kitchen...
Then came the loaded avocado, a definite winner and one that had us throwing around the term "amazeballs" quite frequently. Essentially an avocado explosion, it takes pure genius to serve guacamole with shrimp, pico de gallo, bacon, chives, and horseradish crème fraiche inside an avocado. Our final small snack was the brie corn bread, which came on a plate of kombucha hot sauce. I thought it was a bit of a let down -- basically a glorified mozzarella stick in ball form, but my gluten-free friend was in heaven as it was one of the first fried foods she's been able to eat since her diagnosis, as the kitchen uses a separate fryer and fresh oil. It was refreshing to learn how seriously they take customers' needs; servers are required to not only note dietary restrictions on the ticket but also to alert the entire kitchen staff so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate any plates. Somehow, we still had room for a few bites of our entrees, the "Sweet and Savory Sessions," but in reality we could've been quite satisfied with one main dish, which was more than enough food. I went with the beef & cheddar biscuits, which were a mass of picked onions and jalapeños (very strong, definitely needed a breath mint after that one) and thinly sliced roast beef covered in gravy and a sunny-side-up egg. It was tasty, but a cross between what I envision the famous Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits to be like (even though I've never been there, thank you Pinterest), and a deconstructed sandwich from the Denver Biscuit Company. My companion went with the recommended pork green chile hash, which looked like an unassuming plate of sunny-side-up eggs on hash browns, largely concealing the treasures beneath -- including Fritos for crunch, pork chunks and copious amount of cheddar that would make any cheese lover happy, with every bite deliciously stringy.
We couldn't possibly fit in dessert, but they do have cronuts on the menu, so if you haven't gotten to try that crazy fad yet, here's the opportunity to do it locally.
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Brunch: it's a time-honored tradition, a mingling of friends over bottomless mimosas for chatting and gluttonous gorging on pancake stacks and egg creations. If your typical Sunday morning debate goes back and forth between heading to the reliable greasy spoon or someplace new and trendy, indecision could have you growing roots in the couch. Meanwhile, wait times at Denver favorites won't get any shorter. So that's where Out to Brunch comes in: In this weekly feature, Lauren Monitz will explore new places and revisit the old faithfuls to help you decide where to go on your next brunch adventure.