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Who serves a good black & blue steak in Austin?

hooliganyouth Mar 9, 2007 10:13 AM

Does anyone even serve black & blues in town? I love 'em but never see it as an option. In fact the last time I got a steak in a restaurant the waiter didn't even know what I meant.

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  1. ftf Mar 9, 2007 10:27 AM

    Austin Land & Cattle has it as an option on their menu, but I've never tried it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ftf
      hooliganyouth Mar 9, 2007 10:30 AM

      It wasn't a bad steak but overdone for my tastes. I think I'm just gonna have to get a cow and a flamethrower.

    2. r
      rollledspleen Mar 9, 2007 10:36 AM

      I bet if you called ahead to your favorite quality steakhouse they would accomodate you. The meat has to be well chilled to get the black and blue you are looking for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rollledspleen
        hooliganyouth Mar 9, 2007 10:38 AM

        Never even thought of that...good thinking.

      2. s
        sweetbasil Mar 10, 2007 11:06 AM

        I've had an EXCELLENT black & blue (aka Pittsburgh) at Gumbo's in Round Rock. The first time we went and ordered it the waiter told us the kitchen staff cheered when he put in our order and the manager gave us free dessert. Most Austinites like their meat tough and grey, IME.

        Anyway, get their Steak Yoli and you won't be disappointed. The steaks have been perfectly cooked every time we've gone.

        1. e
          ellinwoo Mar 10, 2007 01:55 PM

          Austin Land and Cattle, and it's very good.

          1. adkim Mar 10, 2007 01:58 PM

            Curious, black and blue means blackened on the outside extremely rare on the inside?

            8 Replies
            1. re: adkim
              tom in austin Mar 10, 2007 02:33 PM

              Bingo. And "Chicago" means blackened on the outside w/o being cool on the inside. Black & blue can make you a little queasy if you're eating a huge piece of beef, in my opinion. Hooliganyouth, what cut of meat do you usually order for the black & blue?

              I love me some steak. If you find an amazing steakhouse (sadly, Austin Land & Cattle defintely doesn't qualify), please let me know.

              Is Gumbo's Round Rock related to Gumbo's Downtown? If it is the same place, I can plan a visit immediately.

              1. re: tom in austin
                r
                Rene Mar 10, 2007 03:08 PM

                I don't know if they are still related, but I've had the steak Yoli and the steak George at Gumbo's downtown and they werre both exceptionally good.

                1. re: Rene
                  MPH Mar 10, 2007 03:19 PM

                  I tried Gumbo’s recently, after reading about it on this board. The tenderloin St. George was a well-cooked, good-quality steak, essentially served with a crabcake on top of it. I don’t like their crabcakes (see below for details), so that was one problem with the dish for me. The other was that the red-wine pepper sauce that came with the tenderloin was terrible. Plus, the accompanying potatoes and vegetable of the day tasted like afterthoughts.

                  There's a deeper issue with Gumbo’s sauces and stocks. The flavors just aren’t bright. You can usually at least taste the butter in sauces, but Gumbo's sauces are thin and flat. Even ones that contain Cajun blackening seasoning and raw garlic are oddly bland. Plus, no restaurant with “Louisiana” in the title should produce such a dismal version of béarnaise sauce. It hardly seems possible, but all their sauces taste canned.

                  Given the restaurant's name, I had to try a bowl of gumbo. It, too, tasted like it had come from a packaged brown-gravy-like soup base (maybe too much raw flour used when making the roux). It had no seafood flavor whatsoever. I understand why sometimes seafood gumbo isn’t made with seafood broth, because the broth plus the seafood could be overwhelming. When the seafood itself imparts no flavor to the gumbo, however, using a seafood broth would be better than nothing. The best-tasting part of this dish was the rice, which is not a good sign. I wanted to spit out the one bite of gumbo that I took.

                  Personally, I don't like the dry, stringy crabcakes that are served at Gumbo's, which are an essential part of the tenderloin St. George. I liked the ones at III Forks better (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/336638 ), though I didn’t like much else there. At Gumbo’s, the crab was simply not that flavorful, and the curiously mild sauce did not help matters.

                  The other dishes sampled all had their problems. The "grilled shrimp Robert” featured shrimp of poor quality. Like the frozen seafood you find at many grocery stores, these shrimp were watery, tiny, and tasteless. [I didn’t try the shrimp cocktail at Gumbo’s, though. Maybe they save the “good” shrimp for that.] Gumbo’s crawfish Eddy in a creamy tarragon sauce was better, if only because the crawfish were of better quality than the shrimp. The sauce was faintly spicy, but this dish was also pretty bland. The cornmeal-dusted fried oysters from the oysters Rockefeller appetizer were quite good: crisp and well-fried. However, the oysters traditionally served underneath the fried oysters in this appetizer were doused in a very sweet spinach Pernod sauce. The sauce was very rich from all the butter and bacon, but it tasted like they’d added sugar to it.

                  The one thing that I really liked at Gumbo’s was the New-Orleans-style custard. It was rich, eggy, and good—like a very custardy flan. One of my dining companions ordered the bread pudding and didn’t care for it. I'm afraid I can’t remember details. I was too busy scarfing down the custard.

                  I can see why people who work downtown would like Gumbo’s, especially if they're dining on an expense account. In my experience, however, their chow didn't seem worth a special trip. Given their high prices and flavorless sauces, stocks, and appetizers, I can't imagine going back, except maybe to have more of that custard.

                  1. re: MPH
                    r
                    Rene Mar 10, 2007 05:51 PM

                    I have to wonder if they have changed hands. My expereiences are absolutely nothing like yours ... and I do respect your oprinions. The George was a crab and crawfish or something sauce, rather than a cake. Hmmm... something must have changed!

                    1. re: Rene
                      MPH Mar 10, 2007 07:27 PM

                      Rene,

                      It's always possible. Or they just had an off night. When was the last time you went? I was there for an early dinner on a weekend, sometime within the last six weeks.

                      I should have been more clear. The crab on the tenderloin St. George wasn't exactly a crabcake, but it was an unmolded version of one. In other words, it was the same kind of crab, with the same flavoring. Since I'd just had the crabcakes as an appetizer, the similarity between the two was very obvious. The steak itself was well-charred, with pretty good texture and flavor for a tenderloin. It's just that the crab topping and the sauce were not; neither were the sides or the appetizers.

                      Best,
                      MPH

                      1. re: MPH
                        r
                        Rene Mar 10, 2007 07:49 PM

                        MPH,

                        It's been several months but not even close to a year. I googled the restaurant and this link to the Round Rock restaurant has a photo and description that supports my observation visually:

                        http://www.gumbosroundrock.com/about.htm

                        I found the tenderloin to be outstanding - tender and cooked to a perfect rare side of medium rare. I loved the Oysters Rockefeller. I think that something must have happened with ownership as I have been a somewhat regular customer for more than ten years... back when the original was near Wells Branch Pkwy. I think that Yoli has opened a couple of other places. If I recall correctly, they franchised a Gumbo's in Dallas but I don't know how that worked out.

                        I'm going to put the RR location on my to do list as I have not been in a couple of years. I think the location in the Brown Building is absolutely beautiful and always want to go there.

                        Best to you!

                        Rene'

                    2. re: MPH
                      s
                      sweetbasil Mar 16, 2007 04:09 PM

                      MPH, I've never been to the downtown Gumbo's, but have not had a lackluster meal yet at the Gumbo's in RR. In fact I've been impressed (for Austin). Different management?

                      1. re: sweetbasil
                        MPH Mar 16, 2007 05:18 PM

                        I’ve been trying to unravel this, based on information from the Austin Business Journal, the Gumbo’s Round Rock website (http://www.gumbosroundrock.com/about.htm ), and general investigation. The first Gumbo’s was opened in 1994 in rural north Austin, by Michael and Yoli Amr. Michael Amr is also described as the “founding chef.” That original location was then moved to Round Rock and “upscaled.” In May of 1999, the Spicewood-based restaurant-company Fired Up, Inc. (the parent company of the Johnny Carino’s restaurant chain), bought the Round Rock location and opened the downtown location in the Brown Building.

                        In 2003, St. Gumbeaux, Inc., bought back the Gumbo’s locations and the Brown Bar. SGI is owned by Michael and Yoli Amr, the creators and founders of the “Gumbo’s concept,” to use their own marketing jargon, plus someone named Mike Quigley, whom I would guess is the investor who made the buy-back possible. That year, ownership passed from Fired Up to P2Q Enterprises LLC, in which Quigley is a major investor, to SGI.

                        In 2005, Shuler and Denise Page purchased the Round Rock location from SGI. Thus, the current Round Rock location is owned by totally new people. The chef at the Round Rock location is David Gore, who has “been there since the beginning.” This implies that he worked for Michael and Yoli Amr, in some capacity, starting in 1994.

                        I don’t know who is doing the cooking at the downtown location. The Amrs (plus Quigley) may own the place, but that doesn’t mean that Michael Amr is back in the kitchen.

                        It’s certainly possible that the chow at the Round Rock location, owned by completely new people, is better than that served at the downtown location, owned in part by the founders. Has anyone recently tried both? Perhaps some 'hound can compare their respective strengths and weaknesses.

              2. w
                Willisinaustin Mar 11, 2007 09:26 AM

                Austin Land and Cattle

                1. Chicago Wine Geek Mar 12, 2007 01:47 PM

                  I've been 3 times and I am NOT a fan of Austin Land and Cattle. One of the best steaks in town is cooked by Chef Chris at Finn & Porter in the Hilton downtown. If you ask him, I'm sure he'll take good care of you and make you a perfect black and blue.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Chicago Wine Geek
                    tom in austin Mar 12, 2007 04:28 PM

                    I've attended the decline of AC&L. I don't know why they've declined over the past six years, but it has undeniably occurred.

                    Great to hear about Finn & Porter, which I have not yet tried. I'll go ASAP. Can you give me a detailed review of your experiences there?

                    1. re: tom in austin
                      Chicago Wine Geek Mar 13, 2007 09:58 AM

                      Tom,

                      Not too sure how detailed I am, but here's my experience. I travel to Austin a lot and have stayed at the Hilton over 100 nights since it opened. I've eaten at Finn & Porter a lot. Chef Chris Bauer had a full page in the Austin Chronicle Best Of issue last year and one of the "best chefs in Austin". The speciality of Finn and Porter is...well.....three things. Their steaks are prime and aged 30 days on site. Bone in Ribeye is awesome, as is the strip steak. They also do an amazing veal chop. They fly in their seafood in almost daily (might be daily). The fish specials are always really good and creative. And they have an outstanding sushi bar. The sushi is some of the best I've had in Austin from somewhere that's not only sushi (like Uchi). They almost always have outstanding O-Torro. Crab cakes are really good and they make a wicked fois gras appy. There is always something on the menu to please everyone. One other note: They recently have been offering up their semi-private table (seats 6 - 12) with 48 hour notice and you can help create the menu for your party. Just tell them what you like and they will create a custom menu and even pair it with wine if you like. Hope that helps.

                      1. re: Chicago Wine Geek
                        Nab Mar 13, 2007 10:14 AM

                        Y'know F&P's steaks are really quite good (unfortunately no wagyu on the menu, which I'm sure would cost about $1000). And that foie gras appetizer (with yogurt panna cotta, cinammon crisp, brioche salad, 25-yr balsamic) makes for a nice dessert if you ask me. Their sushi, on the other hand, I wasn't as enamoured with. I think this is primarily the price-tag, since the sushi quality and cuts themselves weren't bad, but it just wasn't top-notch sublime. For example, the o-toro I had wasn't as fatty as I like, and the fact that it cost me like $15 just added insult to injury. But, I actually think this is a place that I would recommend to somebody for an upscale steak vibe. Haven't had the seafood/fish dishes, so I can't comment there.

                        1. re: Nab
                          Chicago Wine Geek Mar 14, 2007 08:52 AM

                          The o-torro isn't cheap ($12 I think) but for me its been awesome every time but one. If my heart is set on sushi and I'm leaving the hotel, I only go to Uchi. If I'm taking Dell guys out for lunch then it is always Origami.

                  2. c
                    cameronaus Mar 12, 2007 03:41 PM

                    Had a very good bone-in Kansas City strip at Fin & Porter in January.

                    1. a
                      addlepated Mar 16, 2007 08:37 PM

                      My husband ordered a steak rare at Backstage Steakhouse tonight, and it was cool and red on the inside. I'd be willing to bet they would go to black & blue if you asked.

                      1. s
                        sleigh Mar 17, 2007 09:25 AM

                        Eddie V's, and Truluck's..........and of course iii Forks...........all of them know exactly how to cook a steak to perfection!

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