First look: Guard and Grace opens tonight

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All photos by Lori Midson.

Like all of chef-restaurateur Troy Guard's food temples, Guard and Grace, his new steakhouse, which opens tonight, is poised to be a powerful star performer. This is the third restaurant that Guard has opened in a short, five-month span, and its size, a whopping 9,000 square feet, positions it as the largest restaurant in his portfolio, an ever-growing empire that includes TAG, TAG Raw Bar, TAG Burger Bar, Sugarmill and Los Chingones.

See also: Photo preview: Guard and Grace opens February 13 -- and Cory Treadway will lead the line

And like his other restaurants, Guard and Grace, the name of which honors his daughter, is a departure from the conventional. A steak house, yes, but Guard, who's renowned for his playful and uncommon twists, tricks and turns, created what he calls a "progressive-modern steak house," a declaration that manifests itself in the space and on the menu.

Stretch windows, vertically soaring from floor to ceiling, surround, almost entirely, the L-shaped quarters, allowing an immense amount of natural sunlight to seep in and cast its spotlight on everything it streaks, and that light, says Guard, was inherent to his architectural plans. "We knew that we wanted to focus on having a ton of light, especially since so many people are stuck in windowless offices all day," says Guard, whose steak house resides on the street level of CenturyLink Tower, the second largest skyscraper in Denver. And unlike the clubby atmosphere that most steak houses subscribe to, Guard and Grace is the antithesis of that, exposing, instead, a wide open and airy space that's full of feminine curves and transparency. There's also a huge, seventy-seat sidewalk patio, as well as a 100-seat private dining area that can be split into three separate rooms.

An open kitchen sweeps across most of the space, and no matter where you sit -- in one of the elevated, crescent-shaped booths (tables 206, 207 and 208), at the bar, at one of the groovy swivel chairs in the dining room, at one of two community tables, or in the swanky lounge conducive, says Guard, to "socializing, mingling and celebrating," the kitchen is front and center, a focal point that's rarely revealed in a steak house. And that kitchen doubles as an activity hub and display area: a temperature-controlled charcuterie case exposes ropes of meats; a pasta station is in full view; and there's an iced raw bar, too, showboating oysters, shrimp, crab legs, lobsters, clams and caviar.

A "living" wall, flush with leafy, decorative foliage, greets guests when they walk inside, giving the space a sense of warmth, and a towering wine cave acts as a tasting room, insomuch that guests are allowed to come in, take a look around and sample tastes (within reason) from the 4,000-bottle selection, a collection that's curated by Todd Rocchio, the former sommelier at Elways' Cherry Creek. And if you want to store your favorite bottles, there are forty wine lockers to do so.

Another welcome surprise: While most steak houses display boardroom artwork, Guard and Grace, utilizing the little wall space it has, exhibits a pair of graphic-heavy cows diagrammed in the style of butcher charts. To see which part of the steer you're swallowing, just look at the cows.


Location Info

Guard and Grace

1801 California Street, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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7 comments
StevenGregory
StevenGregory

It's beautiful and that grill charred octopus tentacle reminds me of plentiful delicious seafood in Crete (without the fussy presentation, of course). My hesitation: those lovely polished concrete floors seem to promise a loud environment, always a downer.

Anna Lewis
Anna Lewis

I can't wait to check it out tonight!

StevenGregory
StevenGregory

@LoriMidsonCafeSociety @StevenGregoryHow would you describe the noise level? I'm having an increasingly difficult time enjoying splendid food in cacophony.

StevenGregory
StevenGregory

@KTInteriors @StevenGregoryThank you very much for this info. I look forward to a great experience. As I mentioned before, that grill charred octopus really has my taste buds tingling.

KTInteriors
KTInteriors

@StevenGregory

Hi, I am the lead designer from KTI (www.ktinteriors.net) that designed the restaurant and thought we should address your concerns.  While Troy Guard does love an energetic vibrant atmosphere,  the design team took great care in addressing the acoustics of the restaurant.  We agree a noisy environment can ruin a great meal!  The floors are wood through-out with carpet in the banquet rooms.  There are discreet sound-deadening panels on the ceiling above the suspended beams and absorptive baffles hidden above the wood panels in the kitchen.  The fabric on the back of the booths and the cork at the bar face were all carefully chosen to provide a more sound absorptive material.  We hope you’ll check it out!

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