The Famous Steak House (Colorado Springs, CO)

Colorado Springs has a lot of the old, classic “Out West” vibe going strong, and one place that really stands out is in the selection of fine dining restaurants: Colorado Springs has quite a few high-end steakhouses right in town: Saltgrass, Mckenzie’s Chop House, Peppertree, and the Famous, just to list ones easily walkable from my hotel. After several long days of work, we decided that it was worth going out and celebrating, and since I had wandered by The Famous a few times, we decided to drop in and give it a try.

With a name like “The Famous Steak House”, you expect an old school steakhouse experience, and the Famous doesn’t disappoint: half of the restaurant is the main dining room, filled with deep, heavily-padded, leather-clad semi-circular booths with large tables, candles, and stone tabletops. On the other side of the restaurant is a large, well-appointed double-sided bar, and even a piano (with a pianist playing on each of my visits). They’ve got the classic ambiance down pat.

On my trips to Colorado Springs, I actually visited the Famous Steak House twice, and had two very different, but good experiences. The reason for that is that The Famous is one of those steak houses that’s got two separate menus: the menu for the dining room, and a light menu for bar dining. I think you can order off of the main menu at the bar, but for the bar menu, you have to actually be seated at the bar. It’s worth noting, since there are a lot of really good, lighter options on the bar menu, so on my first visit, my coworker and I were tired and not too hungry, so we opted for the bar menu. I opted to start with a cocktail, getting their “Pepper Blossom”, with Breckinridge vodka, St. Germaine, grapefruit, muddled jalapeno, and smacked basil. This was a good, well-rounded cocktail, with a good combination of citrus notes, peppery notes from the jalapeno, and softer notes from both the St. Germaine and the basil. A nice start to the meal.

The bar menu is quite well-named, since most of the food on it is classic high-end light bar snacks and food: oysters Rockefeller, a proscuitto plate, salad, tartare, mussels, and even corn dogs, but there’s also a steak frites. I opted for the last of these, te steak frites, which was a reasonable portion (about 10 oz) of NY Strip served up sliced with a cabernet reduction, watercress, and some shoestring frites. I was thoroughly pleased with the steak: a perfect medium rare with a dark pink center and a nice exterior sear on it, juice, tender, and not overly seasoned. The cabernet reduction was perfect for dabbing bits of the steak and the frites as well. While I like thinner fries with my steak frites (vs. thick slabs of “steak fries”), the shoestrings were a little finer than I usually prefer, but they were really nicely executed: still soft and tender on the inside, nicely crisped without crossing into “crunchy”, and not overly salted. Overall, a really good steak frites and a nice dinner if looking for something on the lighter end of their menu.

On our next trip to Colorado Springs, one evening my coworker and I found ourselves quite hungry for dinner after a very long day of work, so we decided that a return trip to The Famous was in order, this time opting to try out the dining room. Again starting with a cocktail, this time I went for the Bourbon Brûlée: Breckinridge Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry, ginger liqueur, simple syrup, and a broiled orange. Hitting the basic notes of a good Old Fashioned with just a bit more kick, I really liked this cocktail: a nice bourbon, and nice little side notes from the ginger liqueur and the broiled caramel flavors from the orange. A nice little start to the dinner.

The menu in the dining room is classic, old-school steakhouse with few frills, and steaks served up minimally without sides, with everything else a la carte. That lined up nicely with our cravings that night; one of my guilty indulgences when visiting old school places is a classic salad: the wedge. I usually don’t care much for iceberg lettuce, but it shines in a Wedge: a big block of iceberg lettuce, a smattering of bacon, red onion, and a lot of fresh, quality blue cheese dressing with big chunks of cheese in it. This was about as perfect a Wedge as these things come, and a complete joy to start the meal.

For my main course, now it was time to try the flagship of The Famous Steakhouse: the 20 oz, dry-aged ribeye. This was the very essence of simplicity: a nice, ~1.5 inch thick quality ribeye with good marbling, cooked just to the rare end of medium rare, with a minimum of salt and some melted bone marrow seasoning, cooked with a perfect sear in their 1200 degree roaster. Yeah, it’s a slab of meat on a plate. But it’s a perfect slab of meat on a plate. Fork-tender, juicy, oozing with flavor, and just the perfect amount of flavorful sear. This was one of the best ribeyes I’ve had in a while.

So, over two different visits to the Famous, I really enjoyed both of them. Looking for a lighter, but still fancy, dinner? Go and get a seat at the bar and enjoy the bar menu. Want a seriously good old-school classic steakhouse experience? Sit in the dining room. Either way, I wasn’t disappointed.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply