Thou shalt not bring thy phone to dinner. 

By Elyse Inamine
Updated July 26, 2017
Butter-Basted Rib Eye Steaks

Restaurateur Bryan Dayton and chef Amos Watts ate their fair share of meat as they traversed through Spain, all in the name of R&D for their upcoming restaurant, Corrida in Denver. (10 days packed with second and third lunches and marathon destination-worthy dinners, with winery tours slotted in between. Tough job!)

“They always say Italian food is so simple, and so is Spanish food,” says Watts. “It’s the way I like to cook anyways.”

That’s why Watts and Dayton are focusing on spare, honest preparations of marbled, beef—just like they had on the road earlier this summer.

Here they lay out how the rules they follow to bring Spanish style to their steakhouse.

1. Keep It Simple.

“Just olive oil, salt and pepper,” says Watts. “It’s all about the celebration of the beef itself in Spain.” At Corrida, the two are skipping the steak sauce for the bare minimum seasonings to bring out the flavors of their local wagyu.

2. Salad Is Your Friend.

“Every time you order a protein [in Spain], there’s a bright, refreshing salad served with it,” says Dayton. So instead of creamed spinach at their restaurant, little gems are getting tossed in light vinaigrette of olive oil, garlic and red wine and sherry vinegars.

3. Bring Back the White Tablecloth.

“Whether it’s a mom-and-pop spot or a three Michelin-starred restaurant, everyone has a tablecloth,” says Dayton. The same goes for Corrida, where it’ll sub for bread plates. “It says ‘get dirty; this is your family table for a little bit.’”

4. Ditch Your Phone.

“Over there, no one is on the phone ever. They’re enjoying their community at the time,” says Dayton. So, they’re installing a cell phone valet service for customers to check in their phones to charge while they dine.

5. Mashed Potatoes Are Out.

“We saw potatoes in so many ways, like patatas bravas or cooked in beef fat and fried into croquetas,” says Dayton. The two are tinkering their taters now, but promise there will be potatoes.