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These Are the Star Dishes of Steakhouse-Tapas-Bar Corrida

Land and sea, animal and vegetable, European and local — this Boulder hot spot brings it all together

A typical feast underway in Corrida’s fourth-floor dining room overlooking the Flatirons
| Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Bryan Dayton and Amos Watts are well aware of the tensions inherent in the corrida de toros, that cornerstone of Spanish culture for which their new Boulder destination is named. For centuries, bullfighting was celebrated as a contest of man’s artistry and skill against the power of the beast, which was (to mix a few animal metaphors) both treated as a sacrificial lamb and lionized as a god itself. Today, even the sport’s supporters — now a minority in the wake of the antitaurino movement opposed to animal cruelty — are as likely to root for the horns as the sword.

Such contradictions lie at the heart of Corrida. From one angle, it’s a steakhouse; from another, it’s a tapas bar. In some ways, it adheres strictly to Spanish tradition; in others, it reflects the here and now of Colorado cuisine. The rustic and the glamorous, the raw and the polished overlap and blur. Along one wall, naked and blood-red cuts of beef age in full view next to floor-to-ceiling wine racks.

For chef Watts, the thrill is in reconciling it all — Old World ritual and New World innovation, small plates and large platters, protein and produce. Die-hard chophounds can have their steak and eat it too, with tapas doubling as à la carte sides: “Instead of creamed spinach, you could have espinacas con garbanzos. Instead of sautéed mushrooms, you could have porcini asado.” Meanwhile, herbivores can feast on vegetarian and vegan fare galore. With harvest season underway at local farms, says Watts, “We’re starting to push a little bit now.” For instance, “I got some great tomatoes in Broomfield, so I already have gazpacho on the menu.” Here’s a closer look at the yin and yang.

A 60-ounce tomahawk ribeye from Mishima Reserve’s American Wagyu and Black Angus–hybrid cattle, accompanied by a Little Gem salad
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Beef

“Our beef selection may be a little smaller than some steakhouses — but it’s about quality, not quantity,” Watts says. Indeed, it’s so dependent on availability from the ranchers he trusts (and the aging regimen that follows) that presentation and cost vary widely from cut to cut: Some are a set amount for a set weight, some are priced by the pound, still others by the ounce. “We fight that a little bit,” laughs Watts. “People are like, ‘Oh my God, what do they want me to do? I just want a filet!’” But the learning curve is worth the experience of sampling, say, Western Daughters’ grass-finished, 60-day dry-aged, bone-in ribeye next to true grain-finished Japanese Wagyu, aged for 21 days. At $40 an ounce, the Hokkaido ribeye requires a heck of a splurge — “but two ounces of that is like eight ounces of filet, it’s so rich,” Watts explains. “We cook it differently than most places, in a 1500-degree broiler, which makes a perfect crust.”

After deboning the fish, sous chef Marcos Mandez presents it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver
Diners receive both skin-on and skinless pieces of turbot, while the head is offered separately
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Seafood and pork

The current menu’s awash in mariscos, from razor-clam ceviche to softshell crab to on-trend tinned sardines and anchovies. But Watts is especially tickled by the rodaballo, or whole turbot, which is filleted and plated tableside: “We cook it over cherrywood in these special baskets” that he had to pay a tariff to import, he says. “But we really wanted to bring that experience here. The skin gets crispy, but also kind of gelatinous.”

Of course, Spain’s famous charcuterie — jamón serrano and iberico, chorizo, and so on — make their own splash here, while Watts produces the black-pepper sausage called botifarra in house, serving it per Catalan custom with white beans.

Pitted, breaded, and fried Manzanilla olives with Idiazábal cheese and chive blossoms on a pillow of romesco sauce
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver
Porcini mushrooms roasted in brown butter, glazed in beef jus, and garnished with herbs, sous-vide egg yolk, and beef cracklings
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver
“A lot of prep work goes into simple dishes” like the croquetas de jamón, says Watts, who plates them with a dab of reduced hambone stock
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Vegetables

All that said, the chef takes special pride in showcasing produce from area farms such as Red Wagon, Isabelle, and Oxford Gardens (he’s even tending plots of his own for eventual use). At least half of the tapas on offer at any given time are or can be meat-free, be it classic pan con tomate or coal-roasted beets with goat cheese and pistachio-almond crumble. There’s even a vegetable-focused dessert: a vanilla-meringue sphere filled with candied fennel, coated in white chocolate atop a pool of black-licorice sauce. And what’s more, Watts promises vegans, “We use a ton of olive oil here. It’s nuts how little butter we actually use.” (Speaking of nuts, don’t leave Corrida without a taste of Spanish Sherry, famed for its nutty aromas.)

Chorizo three ways: Manchego-sprinkled coins of fresh housemade sausage sit atop potatoes cooked in the oil of dry chorizo that’s also foamed with milk
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver
Piquillo peppers come stuffed with lentils, olives, and other veggies over rouxless (read: gluten-free) espagnole sauce, dusted with Manchego and fried garlic
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver
Watts glazes his roasted carrots in coriander vinaigrette, then garnishes them with sunflower-seed hummus, ramp purée, and Sherry-macerated golden raisins
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Corrida

1023 Walnut Street, , CO 80302 (303) 444-1333 Visit Website
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