The signs of a modern steakhouse, Troy Guard believes, are natural light, organic materials, soft curves dividing the different areas of the flowing space in a restaurant. That is why the 9,000 square foot space at Guard & Grace, his newest project, boasts more floor-to-ceiling window space that art-covered dark walls, materials like cork and wood and fabric-covered banquettes, and feminine angles in between the bar, lounge, and dining areas.
Located at 1801 California Street, this new steakhouse will bring a much needed dining destination to the downtown area. Versatile in its space and offerings, Guard & Grace aims to be suited for a variety of purposes- a quick drink in the lounge area, a happy hour with friends at one of the two twelve seat community tables, or an all-out fancy dinner in the dining room.
Walking into the space, guests are greeted by a green wall which is alive and runs on an integrated watering system. A large walk-in wine room covers one of the entry walls. 4,000 bottles are stored there in a wine program curated by Todd Rocchio, the former sommelier at Elways' Cherry Creek. Bonus: there are 40 wine lockers available for rent and three times a year, the restaurant will hold wine sales to fill them lockers. Hard-to-get bottles will be available at a discount and those purchasing them will be able to store them in their locker to enjoy at a later time.
There is a lounge and a bar area for more casual dining, a formal dining room with a variety of seating options, and three private dining rooms that can be bought out separately or all together as one large room. A highlight: the raw bar, possibly the best seat in the house, where Guard will sell wo kinds of East Coast oysters and two kinds of West Coast ones, little neck clams, shrimp, and lobster tail among others.
The menu is extensive and just as versatile as the space. There are a variety of steaks to fit many tastes and budges, flatbreads and salads, house made pastas and gnocchi, several dishes and sides cooked on the oak-fired grill, as well as a selection of sandwiches. Sure to become favorites with the diners are the sliders (oak-grilled beef short ribs, gorgonzola aioli, and grilled onion) and the bison tartare (chive, shallot, quail egg, balsamic reduction).
A playful cocktail program includes classics like the Blood & Sand and trendier combinations like the Garden Grace (a common way to read the restaurant's name), which features a combination of fresh carrot and apple juice, gin, lemon, ginger shrub and sparkling apple.
What else? There's a large patio, special brunches to come, a solid dessert program, and a funky portrait of the chef along with daughter Grace with artichoke and Brussels sprout heads displayed on the way to the bathrooms.
The restaurant opens tonight for dinner with a grand opening following on Friday. Starting next week, Guard & Grace will serve lunch on weekdays and dinner seven nights a week.