Thursday, July 03, 2008

Lunch at Denver's Oldest Restaurant

After an exhausting half-day in Denver, there's nothing better than sitting down to a nice, steaming-hot plate of rocky mountain oysters. For that, we made our way to the Buckhorn Exchange, Denver's oldest restaurant. The place has been serving patrons since 1893. Even President Theodore Roosevelt ate here in 1905. How cool is that?

Buckhorn Exchange: Denver's Oldest Restaurant. (07/03/2008)
Buckhorn Exchange: Denver's Oldest Restaurant. (07/03/2008)

The Buckhorn Exchange is tucked away in a part of Denver where you would never think to find it. But it's definitely worth seeking out. As Denver's oldest restaurant, the place is as much a museum as it is a restaurant. The place is stacked with memorabilia, historical items, and an absurd quantity of taxidermy hunting trophies. I loved it!

The place serves everything you'd normally find at a steak house, but so much more. Where else can you order a New York steak that weighs four pounds? (Granted, the four pounder, which costs $178, serves five or more people). Other unique menu items include rattlesnake, fried alligator tail, buffalo steaks, elk ... and of course the house specialty appetizer, the rocky mountain oysters I mentioned earlier (sliced bull testicles that have been breaded and deep fried).

Main dining room at Buckhorn Exchange in Denver. (07/03/2008)
Main dining room at Buckhorn Exchange in Denver. (07/03/2008)

We got there just after 2:00 p.m., right after the dining room closed for lunch. I was worried that we missed our only opportunity to have our rocky mountain oysters. Luckily for us, they were still serving food in the lounge upstairs.

Although the lunch we ordered was pretty standard fare (I think the most exotic thing was my buffalo burger). But I simply could not resist the call of the famous rocky mountain oyster appetizer. Tim had already told me he wasn't going to try one ("I don't eat beef," was his excuse). Amy was out too. Jon said he'd try them (although he actually thought they were oysters, until I explained it to him after we ordered).

Jon, Tim, Amy and James at the Buckhorn Exchange. (07/03/2008)
Jon, Tim, Amy and James at the Buckhorn Exchange. (07/03/2008)

About 20 minutes later, the waitress brought out the a plate of rocky mountain oysters, fresh out of the deep fryer. And there was a ton! Far more than enough to feed the only two daredevils who were willing to try them. Finally, it was the moment of truth.

I grabbed one, dipped it into the dipping sauce, and popped it in my mouth. And you know what? It was good! It was kind of like eating calamari, but not as fishy. Basically, if you like popcorn chicken, you'll probably like the Buckhorn Exchange rocky mountain oysters.

Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Buckhorn Exchange. (07/03/2008)
Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Buckhorn Exchange. (07/03/2008)

Jon liked them too. Even Amy tried one (a small one). I was proud of her for trying it. Tim was the only holdout (that whole beef thing, you know). Now I have to find some place that serves chicken testicles.

We couldn't even come close to finishing the rocky mountain oysters. There were far too many, plus we still had our lunch plates coming. So we packaged them up to go and took them to my cousin's house in Manitou Springs.

James likes the rocky mountain oysters at Buckhorn Exchange. (07/03/2008)
James likes the rocky mountain oysters at Buckhorn Exchange. (07/03/2008)

When I told Anita about them, she wanted to have her three boys try them, but she didn't want us telling them what they were until after they tried it. Guess what? They liked them too! And then when we told them what it was, they were totally unfazed. It was no big thing. All they know is that it was fried food and it tasted good (those boys will eat just about anything).

Buckhorn Exchange is located at 1000 Osage, in Denver. (303) 534-9505. Reservations recommended. Open 7 days a week.

1 comment:

beastandbean said...

Ha! Hilarious...sounds like you finally found some balls that Tim wasn't willing to put in his mouth! Ha! Just kidding. I don't blame him for avoiding the bull balls either. I think I would have pulled the vegetarian card myself if I was with you! :)

Christine and I ate at the Buckhorn Exchange when we were in Denver too and it was awesome. But you're right about it being out of the way. Man, it took us like over an hour to find that joint...it's like, barely in Denver! But, as you said, if it's good enough for Teddy Roosevelt, then it's worth the drive!

Go, Buckhorn!