What to Expect at Guard and Grace, New Downtown

By Ruth Tobias  |  March 11, 2014

Though the grand opening for Guard & Grace is set for Friday, its ever-ambitious owner Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar, TAG Burger BarLos Chingones, Sugarmill) just decided he'd up and open the doors at 5 PM today. Grace is the chef-restaurateur’s daughter - and as the name suggests, this one’s a steak joint for the next generation. Here, 5 ways Guard & Grace plans to redefine the genre. And don't miss a first look around inside in the slide show below.   

Earthy-mod steakhouse decor. Forget thick carpets and crimson leather. An open floor plan marked by curves rather than corners, an earthy palette of taupe and russet, and lots of natural light defy steakhouse stereotypes while retaining the expected sophistication. Think suave, not stuffy: from the mod lounge facing the glassed-in wine-tasting room at the entrance to the booths overlooking the exhibition kitchen and the 70-seat, fire-pit-warmed patio.  

“We don’t have creamed anything.” Guard's words summarize the tack executive sous chef Cory Treadway will take to avoid traditional steakhouse clichés. Of course, the selection of chops - Angus or prime, with a grass-fed option - is fairly straightforward, and so is the seafood bar: daily oysters on the half-shell, littleneck clams, lobster, king crab and so on. But much of the menu is devoted to contemporary creations that reflect the kitchen’s global influences - Pacific Rim, Mexican, Italian - from crudos and flatbreads to starters off the ceramic-lined oak grill. 

Beyond steaks and chops. Just as Guard made signatures of kangaroo and lamb neck at TAG Raw Bar and Los Chingones, here a killer appetizer of sliced, grilled beef heart over Swiss potato rösti with romesco sauce (pictured, below) warrants all the buzz coming its way. In other meaty news, the charcuterie platter will eventually incorporate house-cured meats and the steaks will be dry-aged on site - some for as long as 72 days. 

Crazy wine technology. Sommelier Todd Rocchio (ex Elway’s) is using the ballyhooed wine-preservation system Coravin for the option to pour tastings and by-the-glass pours from expensive bottles while keeping the cork intact (read more about the technology here). Meanwhile, his 350-bottle list will introduce guests to a wide array of regional Italian and French wines, including Loire Valley whites for all that shellfish - though it won't be entirely devoid of the requisite California Chardonnays and Cabernets. Meanwhile, those who purchase storage-locker memberships will also be invited to private tastings of Rocchio's most highly allocated finds.

Meet talented pastry chef Ryan Walker. Based on his addictive potato rolls with Dijon butter and the dreamiest of dreamy butterscotch tarts, we're expecting great things from this guy. 

Check out some highlights on the decor in this here slide show and look for more on the food very soon. 

1801 California St.; 303-293-8500

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    The bar...

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    Bar seating overlooking the patio

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    Staffers were furiously polishing and setting throughout the dining room on Monday.

  • The controlled-temperature wine-tasting room holds some 4,000 bottles.