I know what you’re thinking: Of all the dishes at chef Troy Guard‘s brand-new steak house why would I focus on the oak-grilled carrots? Let me just say this: Guard & Grace is not your typical steak house. Forget clubby and dark—the sleek space is filled with light and feminine, sweeping lines. The carrots are from the same narrative: vibrant, graceful, and far from ordinary.

Order this dish as a starter and receive a stack of multicolored carrots, tender and roasty from the wood-fired grill and plated with tangy house-made yogurt, shaved fennel, a bright carrot-top salad, and a sprinkle of pistachio. (Come summertime, Guard’s team will grow their own carrots but for now, three heirloom varieties stand in.) The appetizer is balanced and light—something you rarely say about steak house fare.

And that’s just it: Guard has gone to great lengths to bend and modernize the genre. His menu doesn’t rely on butter and cream-laden standbys. Instead, there’s a pull-up-a-seat raw bar (order the chilled lobster with avocado and hearts of palm), the option of grass-fed beef, seafood that ranges from grilled octopus to salmon crudo, and even flatbreads made with flax and chia seeds. More progressive restaurant than old-school power lunch spot, Guard & Grace is a welcome and refreshing addition to downtown’s dining scene.

Extra: Love Guard & Grace’s carrots? Make these spice crusted carrots with harissa yogurt from Bon Appetit for a similar result.

1801 California St., 303-293-8500

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.