Where’s the beef? In the valley, it’s at the Strayhorn
Recently we saw a question on Facebook — where do you get a good steak at a non-chain restaurant in the valley? That’s easy.
For us, it is the Strayhorn Grill in Loma at the Western Slope Cattlemen’s Livestock Auction. You know the old commercial where they ask “Where’s the beef?” This must be the place. We tried it early in our time here. It was a tasty, fun experience. We have always had great steaks here — and other dishes, too. The décor is rustic and comfortable and we pretty much always see a table of cattlemen drinking endless cups of coffee and shooting the breeze. It feels like cattle and cowboy country out here.
First to the steak. You can get steak at breakfast, lunch or dinner. But dinner is the whole steakhouse experience. Steak and prime rib are the stars. Our prime rib was cut thick and to the doneness we requested. The prime rib’s herby rub turns into a delicious crust and dazzling au jus. And we got all the sides (baked potato, Caesar (housemade dressing and croutons) or side salad, house-made soup). Options for non-steakers include pork chops, seafood, chicken and a vegetarian pasta. Veggie sides include a very steakhouse-like creamed spinach (fresh spinach with a wonderful sautéed pork flavor luxuriating in cream) or spicy corn. It was hard not stuffing ourselves on divine housemade rolls that are light and fluffy. What an amazing meal.
There is an active bar scene with traditional and craft cocktails, local wines and beers as well.
You can have steak any time of the day. At breakfast, you will get it (grilled or chicken fried) with eggs and all the sides. We love the added side of chopped green chile. And don’t forget pancakes, smoked meat skillets and brunch treats like banana bread French toast, migas, benedicts and more. The Strayhorn Benedict involves enchilada casserole, pulled pork, eggs and chipotle hollandaise.
At lunch there is a sirloin steak served with drool-worthy fries. This is a wonderful steak, generously cut, seasoned and cooked as you like it. Our most recent steak was nice and pink in the middle. It was tender and tasty and hit the spot on a Sunday afternoon. But you will go for the steak and stay for the fries (hand-cut, thin and just crispy enough). Fries should taste of potato, and that doesn’t happen at enough places. We didn’t think we could get through that huge pile, but they disappeared quickly. And you don’t have to do steak. There are addictive house-smoked meats, sandwiches and the best Caesar salad around.
We asked our friendly waitress about the origin of the restaurant. She said that the stockyards are owned by two men, Jim Brach and Bill Martin, but the restaurant is owned by Bill Martin and his wife, Sheryl. They started the restaurant because of their love for things Western and homecooked. They have done a great job, and they keep those cattlemen and their families coming back.
Here are a few other things we like about Strayhorn – luscious smoked meats they smoke themselves (moist, tender, a perfect amount of smoke flavor), Western Slope beef (much from Martin’s own herd), delightful chopped green chile (good flavor, nice amount of heat, great quality), amazing eggs (even poached), daily baked breads, tempting housemade pies and cakes. As you can tell, the emphasis is on housemade as much as possible.
A big plus for us is that we can eat and still enjoy a conversation. This is not a noisy place.
For those who lament a lack of steaks in the valley, think again. Loma is in the valley. So is the stockyard. Cowboy up and settle in for a fine meal of real West Slope meat.