Earls Brings an East Coast Classic to Denver

I once thought that a well-made lobster roll could only be found in New England. After sampling the lobster and prawn roll from Earls Kitchen + Bar, I am willing to admit I was wrong – good lobster rolls can exist outside of New England, and we have a perfect example right here in Denver.

The Earls in Cherry Creek generously hosted us for a first-hand look at their new Spring Menu, which is now available at all Earls locations. While the showcase featured a wide-variety of delicious drinks and perfectly prepared dishes, the highlight of the night was the Lobster + Prawn Roll.

Denver's best lobster roll.

Denver’s best lobster roll.

Executive Chef Kyle Marley and his capable team showed incredible restraint when it came to the mayonnaise, which is the downfall of many lobster rolls. I’ve found in the past that even the best, most delicious lobster meat can be ruined by a chef carelessly creating a mayo-heavy mixture that covers up the natural sweetness of the lobster meat. Instead, Earls went light on the mayo and let the combination of knuckle and claw meat take center stage.

Add in some finely cut celery and Earls puts together the best lobster (with prawn) roll I’ve had west of the New York state line. While any potential for enjoying the roll outside was dashed by a May snow storm, the lobster and prawn roll would be a great meal to enjoy on the Earls patio paired with a Rhino Ale, an Earls exclusive beer brewed by our very own Breckenridge Brewery.

Like most widely available offerings from Breckenridge, the Rhino ale is a simple beer done exceptionally well. No barrel-aging or exotic ingredients to be found – just a well-crafted American pale ale with a bitterness that perfectly compliments the sweet lobster and prawn meat. Dwight Hoover, managing partner at Earls, shared some insider info that Breckenridge has also brewed up a Pilsner for Earls that should be hitting area restaurants in the next couple of week – if you’re a Pislner fan, we recommend checking in with your closest Earls during June to sample the new beer.

An Earls twist on a traditional whiskey sour.

An Earls twist on a traditional whiskey sour.

I know what you’re thinking – it’s Derby weekend, we don’t want to drink beer. Earls has you covered there, too. Their Whiskey Smash, which is a mint julep-esque take on a whiskey sour, is served up in a chilled julep tin – perfect for pre- or post-gaming the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. The trio of Jack Daniels, fresh-squeezed lime juice and apple juice combined with house-made honey syrup and mint leaves creates an extremely refreshing drink and dangerously delicious cocktail.

The Whiskey Smash is a great example of the homemade approach that dominated the evening. As a point of pride, the team at Earls noted that all juices are done in-house, as well as a variety of syrups the restaurants creates in-house to give its drinks that kick that only fresh-squeezed juices and some TLC can impart.

The fresh, house-made approach extends to Earls’ kitchen and its signature “wet” steak rub, which is a mixture of nine ingredients including hand-squeezed lemon juice and three fresh-chopped herbs. We sampled the steak rub on a hand cut, Certified Angus Beef filet that was perfectly cooked. Even though Earls isn’t a traditional steakhouse, my steak came out perfectly seared on the outside to lock the juices in and beautifully pink on the inside.

All in all, Earls hosted an amazing event and put on a showcase worthy of the high-quality food and drinks being served. Never been to an Earls and want to know what’s on the menu? Check out the new social menu available on the Earls Facebook page to get a sense for the menu and then head over to any of the three Denver-area locations to (hopefully) welcome the warm weather with a cocktail and a fresh lobster roll. You can also scroll down for a few more shots of our meal at Earls Cherry Creek.

The Whiskey Smash with Leroy's Crispy Dry Ribs

The Whiskey Smash with Leroy’s Crispy Dry Ribs

A Rocky Mountain classic with beef carpaccio

A Rocky Mountain classic with beef carpaccio.

Earls Certified Angus Steak with its signature Earls Cuvee red wine from Napa, Calif.

Earls Certified Angus Steak with its signature Earls Cuvee red wine from Napa, Calif.

A made-from-scratch chocolate banana cake spiked with rum.

A made-from-scratch chocolate banana cake spiked with rum.

About Peter MacKellar

A native Coloradan who thinks our fine state offers the best beer and snow anywhere in the U.S., Peter recently moved back to Denver after spending a few years in New York City.