Chef Khamla Vongsakoun is Bringing Globally-Inspired Flavor to Downtown Denver’s Guard & Grace

Ordering a flight of filet mignon may seem like an extravagant course of action.
However, when faced with the decision between prime, angus or grass-fed beef — so tender you could cut through it with a butter knife and so flavorful you may actually forego a variety of delicious accouterments — requesting Guard & Grace’s famous filet mignon flight may seem more obligatory than excessive.
After all, Troy Guard’s dashing modern steakhouse has consistently impressed diners with its polished dishes, ambiance and impressive measures of hospitality since its opening in 2014.
The gorgeously designed restaurant in the heart of downtown Denver’s business center may appear to have the least avant-garde menu out of Guard’s extensive list of concepts — although, there is something to be said for a steakhouse that simply gets it right.

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Now, Chef Khamla Vongsakoun has taken the reigns in this dignified kitchen. Vongsakoun — a Denver native who formerly helmed the kitchen at Top Chef-alum, Gregory Gourdet’s Departure restaurant in Cherry Creek — isn’t looking to “fix something that isn’t broken.” Since Departure’s unexpected closure earlier this year, Vongsakoun has set out to bring forth his myriad of culinary experience to Guard & Grace, “paying attention to moving forward while maintaining a tight identity.” Growing up cooking and eating Vietnamese, Laotian and Chinese cuisine, Vongsakoun developed a palate and skillset for creating complex Asian flavors early in his career. Despite his impressive culinary resume — previously working at Stephen Starr’s Buddakan in Philadelphia, the Tao Group in New York City and Kittichai at The Thompson Hotel — Vongsakoun maintains an incredibly humble and respectful approach to cooking.

 

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With this said — Guard & Grace’s guests may expect a subtle shift in flavor — with rotating specials and new menu items highlighting Vongsakoun’s love of southeast Asian cuisine.Ultimately, imagine high-caliber ingredients executed with refined technique and a little Asian flair. Indian-style curry lamb loin or the whole deep-fried branzino topped with a Thai dressing, finished with a mango and herb salad are just a couple of the options to expect from Guard & Grace’s new menu. In addition — a sushi program is in the works. If you are hesitant about sushi in a steakhouse, stop in for the tuna sashimi ($19) with jalapeño, ponzu and black lava salt. The quality is undeniable and a direct reflection of Vongsakoun’s desire within his new role — “getting back to the roots and letting the ingredients speak for themselves.”

In the meantime — feel free to order that filet mignon flight ($82).

Guard and Grace is located on the lobby level of the CenturyLink building at 1801 California Street, #150, Denver, CO 80202, and is open Monday through Friday for Lunch 11am-3pm and for Social Hour from 3pm-6pm; Monday through Thursday for Dinner from 5pm-10pm; and Friday and Saturday for Dinner from 5pm-11pm. The restaurant is open for dinner on Sundays from 4pm-9pm.

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