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  • Writer's pictureEric Elkins

Ode: The Smoked Beef Belly at LoHi SteakBar

After a dozen years, our neighborhood staple for late-night oysters and bad decisions shut its doors this week. More than a place to order a steak and a cocktail, LoHi SteakBar was a node for locals — on any given night, you could sit at the bar and share shots with a slew of your fave neighbors, make a new pal, and/or stumble home with a full belly and a sloshy brain.

Sure, you could order yourself a big ol’ slab of rare meat with truffle fries and a hearty red, if that’s what you were hankering for, but the secret app I couldn’t get enough of was their smoked beef belly with fingerling potatoes.

I don’t eat pig, which limits my enjoyment of everything from ramen to pizza to a cured meat breakfast. So I’m always on the hunt for dishes that taste porky and delicious without succumbing to the “put bacon on it” flavor crutch.

With chunks of gently seasoned smoked meat fried up and tossed alongside tender fingerlings then topped with a crispy fried egg, the little app that could was something I would have eaten for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) as a meal in and of itself.

The meat was unctuous in the best possible way — almost overwhelming in its salty lubriciousness, but chewy and full of flavor, ameliorated by the melty taters and sunny egg. The side of apple slaw would lighten the load with its acidic brightness before you went in for another forkful of fatty fortune.

My daughter bussed tables and washed dishes at LoHi SteakBar when she was stuck home from college over covid, and when she’d walk home late on a weekend night, she’d bring me back a compostable to-go container laden with my perpetual request. I’d sit with her on the couch, watching her battle away and explore on Final Fantasy XIV while I’d feed my face right out of the box.

“You finished it all already?” she’d ask as I’d get up to rinse out the container and throw it into the compost bin. I’d shrug and nod, suppress a salty burp, and give her a good night hug before leaving her to her game while I’d drag myself upstairs to brush and floss and settle into bed.

The searing heartburn that would wake me out of a sound sleep at 2am was always worth it.

I’m going to miss that place.

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