Carnivorous foodography: Pearl Street Steak Room

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Mara Soutiere ignored the arched eyebrows and eye rolls that ensued when she and her husband, Peter, inked a lease on a small space on Pearl Street that would feed meaty, prime grade and Wagyu flesh to the People's Republic of Boulder. A steakhouse, asked the incredulous? In Boulder?

Boulder, of course, while renowned for its progressive culinary climate, actually has a core of meateries, although farm-to-table, field-to-fork, pasture-to-plate (what am I missing?) restaurants define the college town's eating habits -- sometimes to a fault. And there are no Boulder steakhouses to speak of that generate the sort of fanfare and accolades that Elway's does in Denver. Mara and Peter, who also own Sushi Tora and Tahona Tequila Bistro, also in Boulder, embarked on a mission to change that when they opened Pearl Street Steak Room last week, directly next door to Tahona.

"When you bite into a steak, you want it to be the best steak you've ever had, and while there are several steakhouses in Boulder, the quality isn't always that great for the price because of how many covers -- because of the volume -- they do, and that's something we looked at very carefully," says Mara, whose classy-meets-old-school carnivorous shrine to steer, colored crimson, black and white, seats a mere 34 people.

"We're much smaller than most of the other steakhouses, and that means we can control the consistency of our products much better, and we can also source from smaller, specialty ranches," explains Mara, whose chef, Matt Tobin, uses Holstein dairy cattle from a ranch just outside San Diego. "We had more than a dozen blind tastings, where we tried about twenty different breeds, grades and brands of cattle when we were determining which beef to use, and the flavor profile of these cattle far outmatched all of the others," she adds, noting, too, that the beef has "far superior genetics that haven't been altered," which, she says, leads to a consistent product.

I was lucky enough to get a taste of Tobin's creations shortly after Pearl Street Steak Room opened, and I loved -- LOVED -- his steak tartare crowned with a quail egg. "Matt is young," admits Mara, "but he's been with us for nearly three years, and he has a really deep understanding of food, and that really impressed me, plus his passion is French cuisine, and his expertise in that area really comes through on the menu, especially with his sauces," she says.

A display of Tobin's dishes are on the following page.

Oysters Rockefeller. Filet mignon with sauce béarnaise. Steak tartare, accompanied by a quail egg, aioli, cornichons, mustard, caperberries, caramelized shallots, ribboned cucumbers, microgreens and white truffle oil. Creamed chard greens. Gouda macaroni and cheese. Candy-apple red leather chairs surround the bar.

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