Before going to Denver, I was told not to leave without eating dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange. This steakhouse has been serving up steaks, Old West classics, and exotic meats since 1893. It’s located in a historic building in Denver’s oldest neighborhood.
Martin, Gönül, and I arrived around 7:20pm on a Sunday night without reservations. The host said it would be a good hour before we could get a table and asked us to take a seat in the bar or the waiting room upstairs. Both were jam packed with people. During this time, we were able to browse the menu and select our meals for the night. One of the servers also brought us drinks as we waited.
I also had time to wander around the restaurant and admire the decor. The many trophy animals (some of them comically positioned) and Native American artifacts and art gave the place a lot of character.
We were finally seated at 8:30pm and put in our order right away. Our decision was to order three different appetizers and two main dishes to share. We all wanted to try different exotic meats we hadn’t sampled before.
We started with the house specialty, Rocky Mountain Oysters, which are probably an acquired taste to most. I wasn’t sure what to expect from eating fried bull testicles, but they were delicious.
Next up was a dish of elk, beef, and buffalo sirloin tips. It was also delicious but we couldn’t make out the unique flavors of the meats because the sauce was too dominant.
Our final appetizer was alligator tail. Tastes a little like a fishy chicken.
Our two main courses were baby back ribs and elk steak. The ribs were incredible. They fell off the bone and had the perfect flavor. None of us were too crazy about the elk. It was tough and gamey.
Overall, we enjoyed the experience and I would definitely go back. Our only mistake was not making reservations, but it worked out just fine. Service was very good. Our waiter was on top of things all night despite the fact the restaurant was extremely busy. The prices are definitely not for budget travelers but it came out to a reasonable US$50 per person after tip.
Buckhorn Exchange is located not too far from downtown Denver and Civic Center Park. Denver’s light rail system has a stop right in front of the restaurant at 10th and Osage. If driving, there is a parking lot across the street or street parking.