Staff Meal: What Tyler Wiard Eats at Elway’s

By Ruth Tobias  |  December 20, 2013
Credit: Christopher Cina

When we spoke with Elway’s longtime top toque Tyler Wiard last week, he was in a reminiscent mood. To be sure, he has a lot to look back on, given that the legendary Cherry Creek chophouse was joined by a Vail outpost in late 2011 and another in DIA this past summer (there’s also a licensed branch in the Ritz-Carlton Downtown, which just announced its plans for renovations here). "It’s been fascinating for me to deal with a city restaurant, a mountain restaurant and an airport restaurant," he says. "They’re all so different."

Perhaps that’s why, when we asked him to single out his current favorite dish, he opted not for a seasonal creation but an old favorite. In his own words:

OK, we’re a USDA-prime steakhouse, and we’re proud of that, so I was going to pick steak. But honestly, the short rib has been a gem for seven years now. It was one of the first things I was able to put on the menu that was my own. I remember adding the charred-red pepper soup, then the au gratin, then the short rib. We serve it all year long, at all four locations.

You want the whole story? When I was a young chef [at the now-closed Mel’s], I was always wanting to go, move on, try new things. I did a stage at a place called Ouest in New York City. The chef wasn’t even around while I was there; I worked with the executive sous, and even so, I was kind of intimidated. Here I am, just a little meat-and-potatoes chef from Colorado as far as everyone else is concerned. But lo and behold, they really embraced me.

At the time, short ribs were just getting popular, but they always had the bones in them. There’s nothing wrong with that; certain chefs believe bones give you more flavor, and I’m not here to argue. But Ouest did this boneless short rib that I thought was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. So they showed me: this is how we buy it, this is what we do to it. You know I’m pretty passionate and I’m pretty hyper, and when I tried it, I was like, “Sorry, guys, but the best form of flattery is stealing.” And I took the cut and made it my own.

Really, It’s the best darn roast beef you’ve ever had - so flavorful, so tender, and just melty, almost creamy. That’s the fact. And then, I love gravy; it’s one of my top three favorite things. I wanted to name my cat Gravy, but my wife wouldn’t let me. So the rib comes in a braising liquid that’s like a gravy with mashed potatoes. Every chef, I don’t care who you talk to, loves stuff like that because we’re tasting all these fancy dishes all the time. It brings me back to my mother’s cooking.

2500 E. 1st Ave., Unit 101; 303-399-5353
1881 Curtis St.; 303-312-317
Denver International Airport, B Concourse; 303-342-777
1471 E. Gore Creek Dr., Vail; 970-754-7818