Best Nine-Dollar Steak - 2004
Club 404 - CLOSED
Club 404 is unique to the Denver dining scene, an irreplaceable landmark in a city that doesn't have many left. There are regulars who've been coming here since Nixon was in office, and one owner, Jerry Feld, who's had the 404 since the Eisenhower administration. There are twinkle lights behind the bar, as well as an albino frog in the aquarium and souvenirs of fifty years' service pinned up everywhere, like the fetishes of cargo cultists. But what's best about the place is the menu, another relic from a bygone era. At Club 404 you can get a steak -- the 404 T-bone -- for $8.95. It's preceded by a salad in a plastic bowl and dressing in a giant syrup jug, and when your meat arrives, it does so with out-of-the-box mashers on the side topped with gravy from a can. Still, the steak is good -- bloody, tender, meaty but not too thick, a rind of grill-crisped fat running all the way down the edges -- and a meal at 404 is exactly what you'd expect in a joint like this: generous, filling, handled with decades of experience, and cheap. There are steakhouses downtown where it costs twice as much to park as it does for an entire dinner here, and if you're willing to suffer a cut less delicate than the prize T-bone, dinner can be had for five bucks.