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The National Western Stock Show returned to Denver last week, kicking off 16 days of rodeos, horse shows, and other Western-rooted activities. While you can definitely seek out burgers and dry-aged beef cuts at the event, there are plenty of other restaurants in and around this historic cowtown preparing tender ribeyes, juicy T-bones, and well-fired filets. Here, 11 of our favorite places to indulge in something medium rare.
When A5 burst onto the scene in early 2022, it modernized Denver’s steak house scene with its neon decor, bolo-wearing cattle artwork, and a menu that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Case in point: the beef tartare katsu sando, raw beef tenderloin molded around a gooey quail egg, sandwiched between two slices of Japanese milk bread; and the poutine with curry gravy. From the grill, you can’t go wrong with any of the under-the-radar cuts (think: tomahawk ribeyes, bavettes, and strip loins). But be sure to order your steak “Chef Max Style,” which adds a side of roasted alliums and bone marrow to the shareable platter. A suite of palate-pleasing sides round out the experience such as bacon and kimchi fried rice and confit sunchokes. 1600 15th St.
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For 65 years, Bastien’s neon sign has towered over East Colfax Avenue, welcoming patrons to the “Home of the Sugar Steak.” The property was previously home to the Moon Drive Inn, a hangout purchased in 1937 by the Bastien family, who still operate the namesake bar and restaurant. Complete with black leather booths, wood paneling, and soft lighting, the building has an old-school feel and a retro menu to match. All of the steaks are presented with your choice of potato side (we like the classic baked spud) and soup or side salad. Go for the famed sugar-rubbed rib-eye or New York strip, cuts shrouded in caramelized sugar and spices and cooked rare or medium rare only. Or get yours prepared Aesop-style, stacked atop garlic toast, horseradish-zinged spinach, and fried eggs. 3503 E. Colfax Ave.
Hosea Rosenberg’s Boulder butchery is a refined spot for ranch-raised meals—and you can be sure that the whole animal makes it to plates. Evidence of this nose-to-tail approach is the crispy pig ears, which are thinly sliced and served with red pepper jelly and a runny egg (best enjoyed folded in with the meat). Head butcher Kelly Kawachi oversees the program and educates customers about the value of buying goods from local meat merchants that source responsibly raised livestock from ranches like Longmont’s Buckner Family Ranch, Hotchkiss’ 7X Cattle Company, and Brush’s McDonald Family Farm. You can best experience her work in the butcher’s cuts of beef or lamb, which are grilled to perfection and served with locally sourced sides such as braised onion and mokum carrots. 1606 Conestoga St., #3, Boulder
Columbine Steak House and Lounge
A visit to Columbine Steak House and Lounge is a rite of passage for every red-meat-loving Denverite. The cash-only joint, which opened in 1961 and hasn’t changed much since, slings some of the most affordable slabs of beef in town. Case in point: A 22- to 24-ounce bone-in porterhouse steak—accompanied by an iceberg lettuce salad, buttery Texas toast, and a baked potato or fries—will only set you back $28. Dig into your hearty meal on the fast-casual-style diner side, where the proteins are fired on a well-seasoned grill; or venture to the full-service bar and lounge, a time-worn room equipped with a jukebox and Galaga arcade game. 300 Federal Blvd.
Send your taste buds further than the American West with meaty offerings inspired by the Old World at Boulder’s Spanish steak house Corrida. Owner Bryan Dayton and chef Samuel McCandless source much of their beef not only regeneratively (meaning the animals are raised with practices that combat carbon emissions), but also butcher them at an older age (around three years as opposed to the industry standard one and a half), creating a more mature, complex beef flavor. Couple that with an impressive dry-aging program—some steaks are aged 48 to 55 days before serving—and the results are some of the most refined and delicious on the Front Range. Also worth sampling: the restaurant’s lineup of Mediterranean tapas, from dry-cured Iberican ham to tinned sardines and clams. 1023 Walnut, Ste. 400
Edge Restaurant & Bar
At the swanky Four Seasons Hotel Denver, you can always expect polished hospitality, prime A-list people watching (past guests include South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone)—and an excellent steak house experience. Four Seasons veteran Craig Dryhurst helms the kitchen at the Edge, which dishes dry-aged cuts sourced from across Colorado and beyond. Start with the Edge wedge, a hunk of iceberg lettuce laden with bacon, crisp shallots, heirloom tomatoes, and blue cheese mousse, and the charred Spanish octopus with white bean purée, fried cheese-stuffed peppadew peppers, frisée, radish, and chorizo. Then turn your attention to something from the wood-fired grill such as the flatiron steak or the coulotte (a lesser-known cut renowned for its juicy and tender qualities). 1111 14th St.
Guard & Grace
Denver restaurateur Troy Guard’s sprawling, nine-year-old fine dining establishment is a carnivore’s paradise, with abundant offerings from land and sea. Start with the oak-grilled octopus, tender tentacles set atop a white bean and celery salad studded with Spanish chorizo and drizzled with tangy sherry vinaigrette and red pepper sauce. Then split a specialty filet flight: three four-ounce portions of three filet mignon: grass-fed, Wagyu, and USDA Prime (sourced from young, well-fed cattle and revered for its abundant marbling). Tasting them all prepared in the same way (cooked to your choice of doneness and crusted with a house spice blend) makes it easier to experience the difference between each variety. End your meal with a trio of silky chocolate chip cookies—a buttery indulgence that’s become a staple of Guard’s menu. 1801 California St.
Manning’s Steaks and Spirits
This Lakewood restaurant situated off West Alameda Avenue is a neighborhood favorite, as evidenced by all of the regulars who pack the bar and dining room on any given night. There, they pair Wyoming Whiskey–infused old fashioneds with stacked burgers and sandwiches and platters of linguine loaded with the likes of steak tips or seafood. If you’re hankering for a filet, bison tomahawk, or rib-eye, though, the spot’s small, yet thoughtfully prepared roster of options come with your pick of one side. Our go-to order is the peppercorn-crusted rib-eye with potatoes au gratin, a vessel of soft spuds enshrined in oodles of butter and melty cheese. 11100 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood
Ten-month-old Sapore, located in the Roxborough neighborhood of Littleton, is a suburban destination for Italian steak house fare sourced from local purveyors. Here, chef Brent Turnipseede, formerly of American Elm, crafts not only fresh pastas such as tortellini stuffed with fungi from Mystic Mountain Mushrooms, but also hearty proteins made to share. Start with the paper-thin beef carpaccio: slices of raw house cuts drizzled with black garlic aïoli and watercress vinaigrette alongside lacy Parmesan crisps.We like the tender Buckhead Reserve rib-eye paired with a side of creamy polenta mixed with smoked Scamorza cheese, pesto, and more Parmesan. 8361 N. Rampart Range Rd., Unit 101, Littleton
While you’re unlikely to spot former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan at the eponymous steakhouse he co-founded in 2009, you can ogle his Lombardi trophies and Super Bowl rings before noshing on a killer lineup of starters and beautifully prepared proteins in the Denver Tech Center. Look beyond the seafood tower on the menu to enjoy flavor-packed starters such as the rib-eye steak with peanut dressing and ponzu sauce and hamachi sashimi with wasabi caviar. For an entrée, your choice of Prime steaks and chops ranges from a 36-ounce Wagyu rib-eye (a splurge at $75) or the bourbon-maple-glazed Berkshire pork chop. Visit on Sunday night to take advantage of the $79, three-course prix fix menu with herb-crusted rib roast. 5085 W. Syracuse St.
The golden steer mounted on the exterior of downtown’s Urban Farmer hints at the restaurant’s commitment to high-end meats inside this modern establishment with a focus on farm-to-table cuisine. Each steak—from the grass-fed flatiron to the king Prime beef—is stellar on its own, but we recommend elevating your order with one of the many additions, such as blue-cheese-infused Wagyu fat or a peppercorn quartet crust (a blend of green, black, pink, and Korean spices). The red-meat averse can also find seafaring and vegetarian offerings like Colorado striped bass and roasted local mushrooms. Whatever you choose, the rustic, leather-and-wood-lined interior is a relaxing spot to sample the bounty of Mother Nature. 1659 Wazee St.