What: LoHi SteakBar reopens under new ownership with a new look and a streamlined menu.
Where: 3200 Tejon Street Denver, Colorado, 80211
When: October 9th was its opening date after renovations.
Pros: New proprietors Taylor Drew and Joe Pettenger have truly reinvented the spot. The highlight of the menu is the steak, and now it has a minimalist and perfected stage on which to shine. The prices are really reasonable and for a delicious steak dinner, it won’t set you back.
Cons: The chilled Chocolate Mole Irish Coffee is really rich, and should be ordered as a dessert/aperatif.
Sitting on 32nd and Tejon St. in the Lower Highlands, what is most likely the trendiest corner in Denver, you will find the LoHi SteakBar. The spot underwent a minor face lift getting rid of the clutter, and really letting the new cocktail and food menu speak for itself. At the helm of the reinvention of LoHi SteakBar sits new co-owners, Executive Chef Taylor Drew and the Front-of-The-House/Cocktail Mastermind Joe Pettenger.The two have experienced so much together in life and the Denver dining scene, and have brought the absolute best of what they know to LoHi.
Drew worked at Bonanno Concepts for the past five years, learning from the best at Osteria Marco whereas Pettenger picked up the trade at famed local spots, Russell’s Smokehouse and Mizuna. Drew and Pettenger bring a youthful and vibrant energy to the space, one that is matched by the accessibility of the new menu itself. The two have learned from the best in the Denver dining scene, and their culinary journey has deservedly brought them here. There is no covering and no hiding behind complicated flavor profiles or muddled interior. LoHi is what it should have always been: just great steak.
During our review, Pettenger talked with 303 Magazine about his relationship with longtime friend and LoHi business partner, Taylor Drew:
“We get to feed off each other, which is really nice. Me being the general manager and Drew as the back of the house, we are able to really help each other out. We have different views and a lot of it’s divide and conquer. We kept both sides of the staff. We really kept the heart of what makes LoHi SteakBar great.”
The open feel of the bar would make one think of bar food but in the best way imaginable. It’s a sort of hybrid of elegant steakhouse, juxtaposed with a classic bar menu and even vegetarian options that are usually unheard of at a steakhouse of this caliber. The best part? The cost. You don’t have to spend hundreds just to get a good steak dinner. It is this amazing contrast of the bar food with the elevated atmosphere that makes the spot unique— think steakhouse for the working class.
At LoHi, the tables are a beautiful wood butcher block with a wonderful patio along Tejon. The open-air garage door allows the space to flow in during warmer months. While LoHi SteakBar is minimalist in decor, it serves a purpose. It allows the dish to speak for itself. The menu went from a muddled, somewhat confusing daily specials list to a streamlined Happy Hour from 3:30-6:30 and 10pm to close every day. Plus, they have an amazing brunch that will appease even the brunchiest of brunch snobs in the neighborhood.
A shining star on the palette and example of this minimalist yet straightforward concept would be the Beef Tartar, served with an over easy egg, capers and crostini. The steak quality speaks for itself. It is all upper, 2/3 cut and butchered in shop. You also feel a true French influence with Drew’s menu, one that speaks volumes on his elevated cooking style.
My favorite food item on the new menu would have to be the butcher’s cut Steak Frites. Il goûte comme la France, encore. The thing about this cut of steak is that it is extremely hard to work with, for most. You have to coax the best out of it. It is not easy, and in house butchering shows that Chef Drew truly understands the complexities in it. This dish, priced moderately at $22, is one of the best steak dinner deals you will find in Denver. With a simple garlic herb butter, the steak is given room to shine. And it does.
Another addition to the menu was the “Plates” option, ranging in vegetarian dishes, Shepherd’s Pie, and even chicken and waffles. You must try the Chicken and Waffle Sandwich but to eat this as a true sandwich would be a hot mess. Diners are encouraged to tackle the monster dish in any way they like. I chose fork and knife. Drew has a rather perfect gravy atop the chicken and waffles, something unique to such a popular Denver dish. He finishes it off with just a touch of maple syrup to add a sweet balance.
Other changes include a smaller, more accessible cocktail menu and recipes. Pettenger knocked this one out of the park. The cocktail menu is perfected and much more focused. The best drink in my mind would be the stunning and light Sparkling Pear with St. George Spiced Pear liqueur, lemon topped and Prosecco. If you love cider, you will love this drink. Runner up for most wicked and delicious new cocktail is the Whiskey Smash made with Breckenridge Bourbon, St. George Raspberry liqueur, fresh mint, and a delectably ripe raspberry to top it off. Each drink is consistent, from bartender to bartender, and perfectly crafted.
LoHi SteakBar is always bustling. Even during my tasting, diners kept coming into the unopened space for an early lunch. Change is good, especially when the change is inspired by the best cocktail and food palettes from the creative minds of Drew and Pettenger. Experience the new LoHi SteakBar for yourself, as she is officially open and ready for business.
All Photography by Lindsey Bartlett.