Like it or not, steak houses, such as the elegant Capital Grille in Larimer Square or the modern Edge Restaurant & Bar, set expectations high. I want gracefully lit (if masculine) dining rooms, impressively cooked steaks, and details that are fussed over so I don’t even notice them. At the end of such a meal, I don’t mind paying the final bill because every bite, every moment, was worth the price.

To that end, I was disappointed when I pushed away from the table at the new Pearl Street Steak Room in Boulder. The young venture from Peter and Mara Soutiere is still working out its kinks, and the dining room needs finessing before it can be called exceptional. The space, though small, feels cold and sparse, with lighting that glares rather than softens. Plates are awkward, as they don’t allow the beautiful Oneida steak knives to sit easily on the edge and make graceful dining next to impossible.

Details aside, the true measure of a steak house is the steak itself. Although the Soutieres spent months researching the Australian Wagyu and naturally raised California Holstein they serve, steaks served solo on the plate can’t wow customers if they arrive less than perfectly cooked. Deeply charred, the meat in both the Holstein and Wagyu rib-eyes was overcooked, a travesty for any cut but especially when paying $46 and $45, respectively.

One bright note: Chef Matt Tobin’s duck confit appetizer, with golden brown, crispy skin accented with a smooth port wine reduction, sweet potato hash, Haystack Mountain goat cheese, and a duck egg.

1035 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-938-9604