My meals at Westerkamps Steakhouse and Meat Market, which I review in this week's Westword, unleashed a strange but insatiable craving for steak -- cheap steak, like a griddled flatiron or hanger, preferably sided by a couple of eggs and a pile of potatoes. Which is how I found myself at LoHi Steakbar one night last week, ordering up steak and eggs.
When veteran Denver chef Sean Kelly first put together the original LoHi Steakbar menu, he generated accolades for his steaks and fries that wouldn't break the bank. But as Kelly became involved in other projects, stepping away (for the most part) from the LoHi kitchen, the consistency definitely began to slip. Now that he's stopped cooking at LoHi altogether, as well as at Ernie's Bar & Pizza, where he was also in the kitchen (he's still a partner in both projects) to work on the menu at Green Russell, LoHi could use someone like Kelly to whip things back into shape.
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This was apparent in my first bite of steak and eggs, which come with thick slices of buttered toast, a griddled cross-section of tomato and a pile of golden frites. The accoutrements were fine -- great, even -- but the stars of the plate, the steak and eggs themselves, needed some help. My cut of meat definitely needed some seasoning, but that wouldn't have helped with the texture, which was actually gristly. My eggs, which I'd ordered over-easy, were overcooked, and showed up bordering on over-hard. That was extra disappointing, since I wanted to dip the fries in the yolk.
I think I'll take my $14 back to Westerkamps next time, where it'll buy me better steak, better eggs, a pile of potatoes and a ladle of great green chile, too.