My weekend brunching this past Sunday brought a friend and I to Shells & Sauce in Capitol Hill. I had been to Shells & Sauce for dinner once before and had no clue they served brunch! Shells & Sauce is a cute Italian bistro known for their classic Italian fare, so I was unsure what to expect during brunch (pasta and eggs kind of weirds me out). The inside of Shells & Sauce is very intimate and what you would think of when the words “Italian bistro” come to mind. The first time I went here, we sat on the patio, which was unfortunately closed due to bad weather. Since my friend and I arrived around 11:30 AM, we decided to sit at the bar to avoid a 30 minute wait for a table.The bar was somewhat retro, as the counters were sleek black with colorful circles sporadically placed, which I enjoyed. Disco mindset for a Sunday morning!
While we looked at the menu, the pleasing price of $3 for a Bloody Mary really caught my eye. You oftentimes don’t find Bloodys for a meager $3 anymore, so I wasn’t sure if they would be good or bad. Ahah!… But, Shells & Sauce…. You really executed the $3 Bloody. Details will be provided in my ratings below. I ended up having two of the Bloodys, although I could have had even more if I wasn’t going to drive a bit later. On a side note, I ordered the Vesuvio Skillet Breakfast with Italian sausage and green chili, which was AMAZING! I used to order skillets all the time but switched to benedicts two years ago, so the Vesuvio Skillet was a nice reminder of the good ol’ days. I usually don’t post pictures of my food on Bloody Mary Tour, but the Vesuvio Skillet deserves to be featured. You can check out my review of Shells & Sauce’s Bloody Mary below.
AT A GLANCE 15/20
My first impression of Shells & Sauce’s Bloody Mary was that it looks simple, but good for the price of $3. The color was spot on– a very nice hue of red– and many spices were apparent throughout the drink. The appearance was clean and sleek, while the garnish consisted solely of a pepperoncini.
The only garnish ingredient was a pepperoncini, but it was quite a good pepperoncini nonetheless and it was attractively placed in the small glass in which the Bloody was served. Since the Bloody was only $3, it is understandable that was the only garnish ingredient. You oftentimes pay roughly $5 more (coming out with an $8 Bloody) for eccentric garnish ingredients. I am giving this category a score of 16 because the you truly pay for what you get. I have rated past Bloody Marys badly in this category if they cost $8-$10 and only have a pepperoncini, lime, and pickle (as an example). Shells & Sauce could have added a bit more to the garnish, but the trade-off means more money in your wallet.
The Bloody Mary was spiced perfectly and had a nice combination of dill, pepper, and celery seed. It was the perfect middle ground of spicy and mild, while the flavor was complex and deep; usually when I get a cheap Bloody Mary, I expect it to be crappy and flavorless. Shells & Sauce proved me wrong though with their full-flavored $3 Bloody.
TEXTURE AND ACIDITY 19/20
Shells & Sauce’s Bloody Mary was a perfect texture– a bit on the thicker side, but quite nutritious tasting. It was truly representative of sustenance. It was not very acidic, but had a bit of a tang. I gulped both Bloodys down quickly and easily.
All in all, Shells & Sauce’s Bloody Mary was not very unique, but it’s hard to come across a $3 Bloody anymore, except at actual bars. Brunch places oftentimes ring you in for a larger price tag, while Shells & Sauce did not. I also loved the inclusion of dill in the housemade mix– it reminded me of The Real Dill’s Bloody Mary Mix. But at the end of the day, when the price is right, you can’t go wrong!
FINAL SCORE 87/100
Check out Shells & Sauce here. Shells & Sauce is located at:
2600 E. 12th Ave., Denver, CO, 80206