The Buckhorn Exchange -- "We Had a Ball!"
After all, Denver’s original steak house boasts the stature of holding City Liquor License No. 1. Upon entering the narrow doors onto old wooden floors, you immediately feel like you’ve stepped back into the days of the Old West.
Throughout the historic brick building, the walls showcase a 575-piece collection of taxidermy. If you’ve never seen buffalo, mountain lion, mountain goat, a two-headed calf or jackalope, here’s your chance to get up close.
As we passed up steak and buffalo prime rib entrees at the restaurant downstairs, several committee members looked back, fornlorn. We headed upstairs to settle into the comfy overstuffed chairs and to better access the alligator appetizers by the bar.
The service was friendly and timely. As Docket Committee writers enjoyed a second round, the conversation started to turn a bit dark. Graphic war stories we’ve heard and violent video games came up. By the time we had discussed the topics of recent violent tragedies and guns, we began to wonder whether the trophies on the wall were speaking through us.
Before we had a chance to marvel at the antique,125-gun collection, our server brought the appetizers. No matter how many times Buckhorn wait staff deliver the infamous fried "oysters," it’s got to be one of the highlights of the job. Committee members commented on the fare:
"Tastes like chicken."
"Anything battered and fried is hard to screw up."
"No thanks, I’m vegetarian today. Pass the fried artichokes, please."
"Pardon the pun, but we’re having a ball."
Set in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, about five minutes south of downtown, the National Historic Landmark also is conveniently across the street from the Osage LightRail stop, in case the spirits of the wild West overwhelm. And don’t miss the lunch special, Grandma Fanny’s Pot Roast sandwich, or the desserts, such as the double-chocolate Rocky Road Brownie.
"It’s a classic place to take out-of-town guests," said Doug McQuiston, Docket writer.
Reservations are recommended. The Buckhorn Exchange is on 1000 Osage St. Telephone: (303) 534-9505.