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AUS In search of the best steak

I searched the boards & found no dedicated Austin steak discussion in 2006, so are any of you AUS chowhounds able to contribute your current best steak recommendations? If you tell me a place like Sullivan's is the best, I'll listen, but I'm really looking for something with Austin flavor.

All input welcome! Thanks,

New to Austin

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  1. Austin Land and Cattle (*not* Texas Land and Cattle) is my favorite steak house. The folks at Chez Nous sure know how to cook a steak, too.

    1. Hi -

      There was a brief discussion in May:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      I love going to The Hoffbrau....it is a funky old place (I think from the 1930s) with great old diner ambiance. The steaks have a tangy butter sauce and are always juicy and satisfying. Not much of a menu, but a cool unique steak experience.

      1. Eddie V's has the requisite hotter than Hell grill needed to coax the most flavor out of the beef. The big Ribeye is built for two.Sit in the lounge and get half off apps during happy hour.

        1. Dee, oops, you are so correct, I did see the May discussion. But as you say, it was brief, and I confess, I got distracted by the Gumbo's reference and went down the Cajun/Creole rabbit trail, LOL. Anyway, thanks for offering your rec of the Hoffbrau.

          Gadbois & Scrumptious, great tips, esp. about Chez Nous doing a good steak & the happy hour apps deal at Eddie V's.

          Keep 'em coming, rare to medium rare!

          1. Hoffbrau is one of the last of the "old Austin" places, it maintains, with the exception of their additon of a chicken breast to better conform with "modern" eating habits, the same atmosphere as it had 35 years ago. El Patio on the Drag is another, Matt's another. But most of the other joints are long gone. So, as far as eating a steak that bleeds (ha!) Austin atmosphere, this is the place. In the old days they had an old manual cash register upon which the owner always rang up zeros! Taxman issues??? Anyway, the meat they use, or used to use, was not the best, but the experience and flavor are not to be duplicated. Sorry, I ate at Eddie V's exactly once and I plan to keep it that way. Not sure why it gets all the raves, I had an overpriced horrible meal. Horrible. "how far should I bend over?" is the question i should have asked. at least they were gracious enough to deduct the small fortune they charged for my rubber shrimp entree. Best steak? Buy a nice thick steak of your choice...thick...and let it dry age in the back of your fridge for a week or two...then heat a cast iron skillet as hot as you can get it for 15-20 minutes and have at it...3-4 minutes per side. yum.
            Austin Land and Cattle is pretty good, though and Chez Nous does a decent French-style steak, maybe a hanger steak if my memory serves me well...just my opinion. or cash in some frequent flyer miles and go to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn.
            Wait, I just remembrered the Backstage Steakhouse out on Hwy 71 in Spicewood, it is the domain of Raymond Tatum who was chef at Jeffery's for many years...I've eaten there and the food is excellent, very Austinish, but I have not had a steak there...but, I understand they are some of the best in town. Knowing Raymond, they probably are.

            1. I think the Hofbrau is coasting on past glories, when it served indeed a great, moderately priced steak. The last time I went the T-bone was so bad--tough, stringy, flavorless meat--that I had to try it one more time just to be sure. I got the same results the second time, and when I asked around I found that others had had the same experience, almost unanimously. Maybe they're just going through a bad phase, which sometimes happens, but right now I'd rule it out as even a possibility.

              1. There's no good steaks in Austin. I swear to god, your best bet is "Certified Angus Beef" at Saltgrass. Seriously.

                Go to Ft. Woth, Houston or Dallas for real steak.

                1. I've posted a couple of times about Backstage Steakhouse in Spicewood, which I love. But I'm not sure that steak is what they do best. They do a decent porterhouse, for example, and the sides, experience, and desserts are much better than average for steakhouses. But I think their pork dishes and some of the more unusual "Southwestern" choices are more satisfying than their steaks.

                  I mention this because you asked specifically about the best steaks. For more specifics you can search for my old posts (MPH and Backstage, as search terms, ought to bring them up). But I definitely second the recommendation that you check out the Backstage.

                  And please post back after you check it out! I'm sure other chowhounds would like to hear your take on things.

                  Best,
                  MPH

                  1. Thanks for the Backstage Steakhouse tip. Do you happen to know anything about their beef, such as aging method, grading, etc.?

                    For steak in Austin, I tend to stay in, but I'm fond of the steak at Fonda San Miguel. And the Hoffbrau can be fun on occasion.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Steven Dilley

                      Steven,

                      Thanks for the tip about the steak at FSM.

                      Backstage’s porterhouse steak is prime “Chairman's Reserve,” if that helps. I don't think the menu mentioned how it was aged, and it certainly didn't say for how long. I usually assume it's not dry-aged unless they specifically state otherwise.

                      Hope this helps.
                      MPH

                      1. re: MPH

                        Sorry to follow up on my own post, but I wanted to add some new recommended dishes to my list of things to try at the Backstage Steakhouse. I recently dined on a special of rich, perfectly-cooked sesame-crusted sea bass that was served with a ginger and tomato-based buttery sauce. The large piece of fish was served on a mound of white rice with a few peas. It also came with a really satisfying, unusual shrimp-and-crawfish “cake,” made with vermicelli as the binding agent, along with scallions, shrimp, crawfish, ginger, and serrano peppers. This was just a throwaway “extra” on the plate, but it was as intensely flavored and satisfying as the sea bass itself.

                        My friend ordered cornmeal-encrusted tenderloin that came with mashed potatoes, seasoned with chipotles and sour cream, plus a layered enchilada made with asparagus—instead of their usual spinach, due to the _e coli_ scare. The beef tenderloin was underdone (more rare than medium), but the dish was a hit due to the rich mashed potatoes, piped through a pastry tube to make them more visually arresting on the plate; the tender, rich beef; and, again, the “throwaway” enchilada, which was more like a vegetable lasagna in its seasoning than you might expect from its name.

                        I also enjoyed my usual favorites. These include:

                        * their crispy-oyster appetizer with a soy-and-ginger dipping sauce. The oysters are so fresh they make you believe that you’re dining in an open-air restaurant by the sea.

                        * the “spinach” salad, which had romaine as a substitute, due to the recent health scare, but still came perfectly dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette and accompanied by a red-wine poached pear and an ethereal walnut-encrusted warm goat-cheese fritter that melts in the mouth. I heard someone order their dressing on the side. What a waste. If there’s a kitchen in the Austin-area that you should trust to dress your salad for you, it’s this one.

                        * the three-layer chocolate malt cake, which would just be a very good, very moist chocolate cake, which is hard enough to find, if it weren’t for the touch of malt in the frosting, which takes the cake to another level of chocolate goodness.

                        I promise that this will be my last post (on this thread) about Backstage Steakhouse.

                    2. make the drive to myron's in new braunfels, on castell street. it is the best steak in either San Antonio or Austin. the space used to be a theater and is really nice. excellent wine selection and great staff. worth the drive!

                      1. In my opinion, the best "red meat" in Austin is the smoked cascabel coffee rubbed grilled elk at Hudson's on the Bend. It's 28 bucks for the entree, and not a huge portion, but if you have 100 bucks per person to blow, I have recommended it to colleagues and friends that travel the world and they all agree, it's one of the best steaks (heck, food of any type) you'll ever eat. But it's elk, so if you're looking for beef exclusively, this may not help.

                        1. Try the Steak Yoli at Gumbo's on Colorado St. They use a really nice 10oz filet and top it with <gasp> a Crawfish Beurre Blanc sauce. It will not satisfy the "My steak only wears salt & pepper" crowd, but it is a damn fine steak at a reasonable price.

                          p.s- If you do go, save room for the Chocolate custard for dessert.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: looper

                            The Tenderloin St. George is incredible! Medium Rare, of course. I LOVE this place!

                          2. There is lots of good steak around Austin, but little great.

                            Austin is littered with specialist chain steakhouses that offer reliable fare; Sullivan's and Ruth's Chris immediately jump to mind as examples of fine-dining chain establishments that you can count on. Then again, you can count on paying too much, especially if you'd like wine with your meal. Count Fleming's among these as well.

                            Caution is advised. Some of these upscale chains will consistently disappoint. Roy's and Truluck's, for example, are crapshoots for food quality. Sadly, Austin Land & Cattle (not a chain) has joined these mediocre eateries: my last several experiences there have all been subpar. I also must downgrade the Hoffbrau (again, not a chain), with a heavy heart.

                            There are more affordable chains as well, but you'll have to endure flare-o-riffic surroundings. Outback and Texas Land & Cattle come to mind. I especially cannot recommend Texas Land & Cattle.

                            The best beef in Austin isn't at steakhouses, though. The beef tenderloin at Mars is fantastic. It is unquestionably the best I've had in Austin. The cut of beef itself is pretty good, but the preparation is outstanding. The sauce must be tasted in combination with the beef to be believed.

                            Thinking about French cuisine? Chez Nous's beef tenderloin isn't the best I've had, but it is very good. You'll spend half of an average Truluck's bill on a much better experience with obviously better food. Aquarelle's beef tenderloin is decent; I've had better at Chez Nous, although I've also had worse.

                            Other Austin boutiques: Castle Hill often features a decent beef tenderloin, as does the Eastside Cafe. Moonshine offers a couple reliable steaks that are better (and more affordable) than any you could procure at Truluck's. Wink is hit-or-miss with their steaks, although don't hold this against them, as most of their menu is fantastic.

                            1. When I see "Hofbrau" mentioned in a search for the best steak in Austin, I know this thread needs a good "Stop the madness!" I have a lot of great memories of legislature lunchs with my pop and and his fellow Texas legislators. The lime-butter 'gravy' was unique and quite sensational for a 10 year old. But the steaks were never "good". The draw was always the price and ambiance. I've spent the last thirty years outside of Texas, but I've returned a few times. When I've found myself in Austin for those few times, I always try to set aside a Hofbrau lunch. As I tell my daughter, "It ain't the steaks, sweetheart, it's the Hofbrau."

                              1. don't normally like chain restaurants.. but Ruth's Chris is still the best steak in town if you ask me... have the NY Strip every time and they are consistently great... love the butter sauce that it seems to be drowning in.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rumurphy

                                  Y'all please stop what you're doing and take the short drive out 71 east to Garfield.Little Thailand has a Thai-style Ribeye that is superb.Order it "pink and juicy"their watchword for medium rare,sit in the bar and chat with Dick,the owner as his wife wok sears your steak.You won't regret it.