Steak tartare is having a moment. With whole-animal butchery becoming more common, the dish—which reached peak popularity in the middle of the past century—is appealing to a new generation of diners and chefs. “I think it may have fallen out of favor as diners stopped trusting meat sources,” says chef Hosea Rosenberg, whose steak tartare is one of the most popular items at his Blackbelly Market restaurant. “But it’s becoming a hit again.” With more and more restaurants focusing on local, top-quality ingredients, eaters can order the delicacy and know they’re not getting a raw deal.
1606 Conestoga St., Boulder, 303-247-1000
The whole-animal butchery program at Blackbelly Market made tartare a no-brainer for Rosenberg. “Even people who’ve never done the raw meat thing go bananas over it,” the chef says. Celebrating locally sourced and sustainably raised beef, he uses eye of round cuts from premium dry-aged Angus and grass-fed Shorthorn steers and hand-chops the meat to order. The shaved fresh horseradish is a pick-me-up with bright, earthy flavors.
The Source, 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721
Acorn boasts an ahead-of-the-curve menu, so it’s no surprise that the hot spot is already in on the tartare trend. But for a restaurant known for turning classics upside down, chef Steven Redzikowski leaves his tartare tinkering to a bare minimum: In his dish, the American Kobe is front and center and unmuddled by any heavy or miscellaneous flavors, leaving the quality of the beef to speak for itself.
Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St., 720-460-3738
Lon Symensma may be best-known for his Asian-inspired eats at ChoLon and Cho77, but his roots are in classical French cuisine. He gets to flex that muscle at the Cooper Lounge, Union Station’s sexy mezzanine cocktail bar. Symensma crowns his tartare with a sous vide truffle egg; instead of breaking and flowing when cut into, the yolk has a creamy texture. Fun fact: The Colorado wagyu beef is hand-ground using Symensma’s grandfather’s antique grinder.
1801 California St., 303-293-8500
“Old is always the new ‘new,’ ” chef-owner Troy Guard says. His take on tartare came out of good old-fashioned necessity: He had leftover cuts he couldn’t run on the steak-house menu that he wanted to use in a fun way. His creative interpretation of tartare—dried apricots add a touch of sweetness—was the answer. He hand-chops the beef and tops it with a quail egg. “You taste all the natural flavors,” Guard says.