Rare Highlights: Guard and Grace, Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Hearth & Dram

By Eric Elkins


With more than 20 restaurants prepping for August’s tasty steak and cocktail event, knowing their approaches will help you prepare for each savory bite. We chatted with three participants to get an early preview of what to expect.


You may know Denver’s celeb chef Troy Guard from your visits to TAG or Mister Tuna, Los Chingones or FNB, or another of his many restaurants all over the city. But for RARE, The Denver Steak Championships, he’s bringing inspiration from his modern steakhouse, Guard and Grace


“Our chefs are experts in cooking steaks to perfection,” he says. “Then we add in lots of love and a dash of our Guard and Grace steak blend that I spent months creating with Savory Spice.” 


Guard was inspired to participate when he learned of a big twist at the steak festival. “We’ve

seen chef competitions before, but I love the angle of pairing each competitor with a local

purveyor,” he says. “It’s something new and different.” 


And it’s true. Each restaurant is matched with a local spirits producer, which ups the game and

gives everyone a chance to collaborate on the best way to showcase the beef and cocktail pairing.


Adam Vero, Executive Chef at Hearth & Dram near Union Station, was inspired by the outdoor nature of the competition. 


“Meat, salt, and fire are not only a big part our menus at Hearth & Dram; they’re something that we are passionate about,” he says. “Open fire cooking and grilling of steaks and meats of all kinds have been a huge part of our lives and careers and we know this is a great opportunity to showcase something that we really love.”


Vero’s team also worked to create a custom steak seasoning with Denver’s Savory Spice. But in addition to that attention to detail, Hearth & Dram will “build the fire to give us the exact flame we need, to make sure we can sear the steak to our exacting standards and finish it very simply with smoked beef tallow and our veal demi-glace to accent the flavor of the beef without overpowering it.”


Over at Shanahan’s Steakhouse, they also take a meticulous approach. 


“Our experienced culinary team prides itself in cooking up to 350 steaks every night,” says Mary Scribner, General Manager. “Our kitchen team is skilled at cooking each steak with the perfect sear and serving it on a 500 degree plate. We then garnish the steak with fresh cut parsley and our proprietary clarified butter recipe.”


As for their approach at Rare, Scribner says, “We believe in keeping it simple with a kosher salt and pepper seasoning, so as not to overpower the delicious flavor of the meat. In addition, we are looking forward to introducing everyone to Shanahan’s signature steak sauce and our unique ‘secret recipe’ house steak rub.”


Craving steak yet? Rare is happening on August 15, in the Galleria space at the DCPA. Ticket prices increase as each level of early bird tickets is sold out, so buy yours soon. Not only will you enjoy perfect bites of steak paired with cocktails, but the electric string quartet Spinphony will be there to elevate the experience.


Get ready for the sizzle.

Jeff Suskin