Steak, seafood, cocktails
Full disclosure: as a longtime Denver Broncos season ticket-holder, I am predisposed to enjoy a meal at Shanahan’s, the classic steakhouse associated with former head coach Mike Shanahan (I would never eat at a place called McDaniels, but that’s another story). It’s not just named for Shanny; the current Washington Redskins coach was working the room during his team’s bye week.
The opulent surroundings rate as eyepopping— a bar area teeming with glassware, a 25-foot-tall granite fireplace, wood and leather everywhere—and a recent meal broke the scoreboard. Starters included a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Creole lobster sauce—no “innovative” flavor disguises, just lots of sweet, perfectly shredded crabmeat. But the killer app was Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, the raw meat sliced ultra-thin and served with capers, mustard aioli and brioche toast points. My wife swooned over the Roasted Beet Salad, with peppery arugula, sweet goat cheese, aged balsamic vinaigrette…and toasted hazelnuts. “It’s like Nutella on a salad!” she exclaimed.
Then we put ourselves in the hands of chef Alec Schrader, formerly of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, where he and Shanahan’s managing partner Marc Steron once worked. A good portion of the menu is devoted to fresh seafood entrees, but we were there for the signature bone-in steaks. The meat next to the bone is more tender and cooks a little slower. Some folks swear that a charred bone adds a distinct flavor to the meat. Plus, it leaves no room for sides, garnish or anything else—taking a stand against small plate dining!
We accompanied it with a bottle of Treana Red, one of my favorite Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines, and sealed the meal with the Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée, the hint of sea salt going against the sweet custard and dark, reddish-brown caramel, accompanied by the nutty goodness of hazelnut popcorn brittle.
The extra point was the friendly, impeccable service. Our waitress referred to her crumber as a “table Zamboni,” alluding to Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, who sat at one of the private tables. At the hostess stand, the collection of rings and trophies amassed by Coach Shanahan shines from the glass cases. I wept openly when manager Mary Scribner removed one of the Broncos’ two Lombardi trophies and let my wife hold it. I took a photo and sent it to her relatives in Kansas City: “For those of you who have never seen one, this is what they give teams that win the Super Bowl…” Hey, it’s my duty to teach!
5085 S. Syracuse St., Denver