Brazen serves weekend brunch at its four-year-old spot tucked into a West Highland shopping center where Elitch Gardens once stood. Owner Chris Sargent brings his Brooklyn flair and attitude to the lively spot — and the neighbors seem to love it. Sargent notes that he came up with the name of the restaurant after being called brazen more than a few times himself.
What first caught my attention about brunch at Brazen was the service. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to be genuinely happy to work there — a credit to Sargent’s fun and laid-back approach. The brunch menu just builds on the overall experience.
Chilaquiles, a standard Mexican breakfast dish, gets a Brazen twist by turning it into something more akin to breakfast nachos. Housemade tortilla chips are topped with cheddar, pico de gallo, pork green chile and fried eggs. My first step was to break the egg yolks and mix them in with the other toppings to coat each chip. The toppings blended perfectly into a savory slurry, while the chips stayed relatively crisp, which meant that they could actually hold the weight of the toppings.
The house green chile is used again on loaded fries, which should be number one on your brunch list if you want to add more green chile to your diet. In addition to the spicy sauce, the skinny fries are topped with aged cheddar and pieces of thick-cut bacon. It’s comfort food at its best, and the fries are sturdy enough to stand up to the hearty green chile.
Churros are listed on the menu under "appetizer," which works for me since I believe dessert should be eaten first. These were coated in sugar for a slightly crunchy coating surrounding a chewy middle. Despite the sugar, the churros weren’t overly sweet, so going heavy on the milk chocolate dipping sauce and strawberry-rhubarb jam didn't result in a sugar coma. Mixing the two sauces, the first hot and gooey, and the second cool and fruity, made for an incredible combo; the warm chocolate hardened around the cool jam and the deep chocolate notes complemented the tangy fruit relish.
Waiter Drew Hanson notes that flavor profiles and ingredients are repeated throughout the day to tie Brazen’s menus together. The strawberries and rhubarb in the jam are also used (when in season, so check with your server) in one of the bottomless mimosas, which can also be ordered with more standard orange or grapefruit juice. You can also order a beermosa made with pale ale, vodka and orange juice, which tastes surprisingly like a Belgian white ale, such as Blue Moon.
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While Brazen doesn’t have a separate kids' menu, Hanson points out that any dish can be modified for kids who want something simpler, and the kitchen often makes plain waffles with chocolate sauce or plain sliders for kids upon request. Brazen utilizes fresh produce and even grows microgreens in planters along the chef's counter to use as garnishes.
Brazen's entrance faces a vast patio that opens onto a greenbelt, which is just starting to see use as the weather warms up. But even if it's a little chilly, you'll stay cozy in front of heat lamps and fire pits scattered around the patio, and Brazen also provides thick red blankets draped over every chair.
Brazen is located at 4450 West 38th Avenue and serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 720-638-1242 or visit the restaurant's website. Hot tip: The patio is dog-friendly, and as long as your dog is friendly, they are welcome to sit at your feet while you enjoy brunch.