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Best "Bang for Your Buck" Steak in Town

I'm trying to figure out where to go for a good quality steak at a good price in Austin. I know that Texas Roadhouse has very affordable prices, but I've heard the steaks are not of great quality. I also know that Austin Land and Cattle has excellent steaks, but at a price.

I know that you get what you pay for, but is there a steakhouse in Austin that gets it right in quality AND price? How about Texas Land and Cattle or Saltgrass?


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  1. I've had very mixed experiences with Texas Land and Cattle, with the most recent experiences being about at the level of Texas Roadhouse, so I'd recommend against it. Saltgrass is owned by Landry's, so as a matter of principle, I avoid it.

    Mesa Ranch has always been a decent value to me, just slightly more expensive than Texas Land and Cattle, and offers one of the best NY strips in town. I believe there have been several discussion threads on Mesa Ranch.

    Last weekend, I tried Nancy's Steak House in Bastrop, based on Dale Rice's review in the Statesman. I was very impressed with it and thought of it as a small town answer to Texas Land and Cattle.

    Hope this helps...

    3 Replies
    1. re: exlnghrn

      Just to be sure we are talking about the same thing...
      TEXAS Land and Cattle Co. is a chain of medicore to bad steakhouses
      AUSTIN Land and Cattle Co. is an excellent and fairly inexpensive local steakhouse.

      1. re: Alan Sudo

        When I'm craving a perfectly turned out slab of steak, it's off to Austin Land & Cattle for me. I know the price may be higher than brattpowered is looking to pay but it's worth it when you eat a quality steak. The sides are eh, always the same spinach, carrots and your choice of garlic mashers, loaded baked, etc, but the steak is phenomenal. I like my meat rare, so it's black & blue for me.

        1. re: Kaya_n_Austin

          ALC is good. I had their filet a few times - seemed like decent quality. We used to go there once a week on Thursday evenings with friends. I liked that it was locally owned. I liked the low "mood" lighting. Consistency varied widely depending on whether Scott or Christian were cooking. This always amazes me about steak places. Seems like cooking a steak to order (rare, medium, well-done) would be a pretty exact science after awhile. I know this thread is about steak but I switched over to ordering the seared ahi tuna and subbing the starch for a house salad. Their tuna wasn't the highest quality (sometimes had tendons or fat - not sure which- running through it). I'm addicted to their spicy balsamic dressing though. Yum!

    2. Unfortunately, I go to Saltgrass when I want an "under $20" steak. I don't know anything about Landry's - I've never been to one. Saltgrass serves "Certified Angus Beef" which should be high choice/low prime...actually a better cut than many of the steakhouses serve. However, Saltgrass varies a lot by location for some reason (I'm referring to the preparation). The one way north on I35 is far better than the one on 183.

      If you are in Corpus, there's a place where I just ate (twice) called Katz 21. The serve 21 (or 28?) day dry aged prime (I don't know the source). I don't think that you can get that in Austin, although a waiter at the Belmont claims that they do it in house. If it is true, the $22 NY Strip would be a great value, and it comes with sides.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rudeboy

        From what I understand, "certified angus" means nothing as far as quality, it's a breed. if it actually was "low prime", they would sell it as prime, because they would get more money for it.

        1. re: LeroyT

          I know that just saying "angus" or "black angus" doesn't mean much - but "Certified Angus Beef" or CAB is a brand name. This is what they promise:


          It just provides a little bit of predictability when I see the label.

          1. re: rudeboy

            Having worked at the Saltgrass many years ago the CAB label does indeed, as rudeboy reports, have some cred. That's why Saltgrass waiters are forced to do the spiel on CAB and hold up the little table plaquard on the topic. If you can manage to get the steak cooked right at a Saltgrass they aren't all that bad. The center cut filet can be quite tasty nice and rare. Plus, I'll always have a soft spot for their baked potato soup and shiner bock beer bread, both of which used to be made in house at each location...but it changed a lot after the Landry's buy out. All is all, Saltgrass can, at times, provide a decent steak but it's certainly not my first choice.....of course it may just be bad memories of bolo ties for me.

      2. Option 1: high quality, high price: Fleming's. Always a good piece of cow.

        Option 2: decent quality, low price: a 2 inch ribeye from Randall's on special, and the Big Green Egg in my neighbor's backyard. I nearly always grill my own these days.

        1. I know that a lot of people will disagree, but I think the Sirloin Marsala at Carrabbas is one of the best 'cheap' steaks in town. Obviously, it's not a steakhouse, but they do a pretty good job imho. For $17, you get the bread, salad, steak and a side. They have a filet for about $20, but I have yet to try it.

          I've only eaten at Saltgrass once and that was enough for me. Texas Land and Cattle has dropped off a lot in the last few years.

          I would agree with TAF that cooking a nice ribeye at home will surpass much of what you can get at a restaurant here.

          9 Replies
          1. re: ssouth

            Funny you should mention Carrabbas. One of the 'Hounds I've grown to trust–Tom in Austin–mentions here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/420825 that he's had the steak at Carrabbas numerous times (he's somewhat of a steak aficionado). He doesn't say that it ranks well, necessarily, but based on the number of times he's ordered it there, perhaps he can comment on the quality:value of their preps. He also does a marvelous statistical table on the various steak offerings at chains around town, so it's definitely worth a gander.

            1. re: Twill

              I hate to belabor a point but Little Thailand in Garfield,a fifteen minute ride from downtown Austin does a wok seared Ribeye for under 15 bucks that will blow your doors off.Ol girl comes with Fried Rice,Sauteed mushrooms and a good salad with homemade dressing.Ambience is beyond belief;sit at the bar in the back and spin the free jukebox[no selections dated past 1973]...hang out with Dick[tall tale teller]and let Surin[the chef]work her magic.You will not be disappointed.This is my favorite steakhouse in the region.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                I've been wondering the same thing lately as I've been cooking some steaks at home. I will have to check out LThailand and Nancy's. I've had some great ones from CenMkt that were "prime" ribeyes(not sure if USDA or not) but worth every penney, easier to cook and more melting fat than what I find elsewhere.

                1. re: crippstom

                  Two points:

                  1) Yea, no one can just throw around the term "prime." If they say it, it will be (and that's USDA prime).

                  2) I also remembered Tom in Austin mentioning that he tried the Carrabbas steak 20 times. I'll have to try it next time I have to go there.

                  3) Yes, cooking a steak at home is infinitely better than going to a restaurant, except for the fact that you aren't in a restaurant having someone cook a steak for you. In some cases, like the steak I just had in Corpus Christi, I can't cook it that way at home.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    While I do (or did) enjoy the steak at Carrabba's, there are many better steaks in town.

                    The best "Bang for your buck" steak in town can be had at your house. Buy a whole beef tenderloin at Costco and do it up right. Have friends over -- invite the boss or something -- and you'll be sure to blow minds. If you're not in the mood for cooking something quite so intense, get the best quality ribeyes you can find.

                    But you're not in the mood to cook at home? Or maybe you're craving something you can't easily do at home (fries, for instance? an amazing sauce that you can't make w/o spending days on excellent stocks?) Well, the steak frites at Chez Nous and the hanger steak and fries at Enoteca Vespaio are actually pretty darn good and extremely affordable. They share top marks in town for "affordable-steak-with-fries-but-still-worth-eating", in my opinion.

                2. re: scrumptiouschef

                  I need to find little Thailand, is it right on the hwy.? I have looked but no luck seeing it yet?
                  I second Nancy's by the name it sounds generic, we had a great BIG meal there, go hungry.

                  1. re: familyof3

                    Heading towards Bastrop on 71, use your odometer as your guide. Once you pass the exit for ABIA, measure 7 miles and it will be on your left, shrouded by a few trees and just off the road facing Caldwell Lane.

                    Little Thailand
                    4315 Caldwell Ln, Del Valle, TX 78617

                  2. re: scrumptiouschef

                    I couldn't agree more. I found Little Thailand because of the board. Whenever I want a steak, that is the place that comes to mind.

                  3. re: Twill

                    I think one of my first replies here was to Tom-In-Austin about Carrabba's steak and calamari, but I can't find the reply now. Maybe it has aged off into the > the 1-year bit-bucket...

                    Net: Order the "Filet Fiorentino" ($19), and ask them to prepare it with the Chicken Bryan topping (the goat cheese and sun-dried tomato topping). That + their consistently tender and perfectly fried Calamari + sauce for an appetizer, and you have a delicious surf + turf.

                    Agree with TAF about how amazing rib-eye's turn out on the Big Green Egg!
                    I do this recipe by auto-pilot now:
                    (no nekkid pics on that site - "Nakes Whiz" is the person's handle


                    But sometimes you just don't want all your hair to smell like Eau de Mesquite Wood which mine instantly does after flipping after the first sear.

                3. Not sure what your stance is on being surrounded by dancing naked ladies during your red meat fueled feed is but...Sugars' near Highland Mall easily offers the best "bang for the buck"steak in town.

                  I like to go around 1pm on Tuesday when the booze deal is two bucks for anything at the bar,the ladies are good and lively after two hours on the job and 4 dollars will get you a nicely grilled Black Angus Sirloin and Steak-Cut Fries.The chef has access to salt and pepper and applies both liberally. Feeling sporty? Grab a house salad for 3 or so more dollars,the dressings are homemade and pretty good.

                  1. At the risk of praising a "celebrity restaurant", Bess Bistro (owned by Sandra Bullock) had great steak fritte for around $15 when I went there months ago. It was a surprisingly cool place with great food all around.

                    Here's a link to the Fearless Critic review of it:

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: skechada

                      I'm going to strongly disagree with this one. It's a small (maybe 8oz) flank steak, that's been marinated in something, and then topped with an olive/caper/cornichon/tomato relish, and then hidden underneath a pile of fries. They're more like steak tips actually, and they are already cut up into pieces. Forget about requesting a level of doneness. While it wasn't dried out, it was served medium when requested med-rare, and same thing happened to one of my friends at the table. I didn't particularly care for the relish either, which added such a tang that wasn't needed in my opinion. Fries were nice and crispy, decent overall.

                      At $19, this most certainly isn't the "best bang for your buck" steak experience.

                      1. re: Nab

                        I used to enjoy the steak-frites served up at lunch during the early days of Capitol Brasserie. Maybe someone knows where that chef went? I believe his name was Andy.

                        1. re: TAF

                          yep , Sugar's is by far the best bang for the buck.....not the best steak, but the best price, and not bad

                        2. re: Nab

                          I'm going to second Nab's opinion, down to the last dotted i and crossed t. I like the restaurant, although the waitstaff are a little intrusive (constantly interrupting our business lunch to ask about unimportant details), but the steak-frites is nothing to write home about. I think $19 will get you a much better steak elsewhere.

                      2. We were at Nancys Steak House near Bastrop, today. I had the 8 oz. sirloin and fried shrimp, along with a margarita on the rocks. I'll tell you....I was HIGHLY impressed! Every aspect of the meal was pure pleasure. The house salad was wonderful with their homemade blue cheese dressing. The steak came out medium...just like I wanted. It was perfectly seasoned and tender and the fried shrimp were HUGE and not overdone! The margarita was might near the best one I have ever had! The perfect meal for what feels like a perfect fall day in Texas.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: gin_3925

                          Wow - Sounds like a lot of food for the $$$. Do they have any other cuts beside sirloing. I need to get out there right away, it sounds damn near orgasmic!!!!!!!!!

                          The fall weather makes anything good these days.

                          1. re: gin_3925

                            Hmmm. My husband and I ate at Nancy's about a month ago and found it to be, well, a "Western Sizzler" experience. Maybe it was a bad day for Nancy's, but I am reluctant to return.

                          2. Would love an update on this thread …. the BF and I are going to Austin next week and he wants steak. Please give us recent recommendations. Thank you!!!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Tehama

                              I love Austin Land and Cattle on Lamar. I highly recommend going for happy hour and ordering partially from the bar menu. Just split a steak and have something else on top of it.

                            2. Bobs-- if you dont mind a chian
                              Austin Land and Cattle(which I allllllllways mix up with TLC)

                              for realllllllly inexpensive steak and rarelllllllllly does my dad oreder steak out because quite frankly nothing beats what we do at home on the greenegg..... but Logans actualllllllllly does have a decent inexpenive steak...and so does Montana Mikes( if they are still in business)

                              1. Hi Austin Hounds! I'm endeavoring to have the "keep Austin weird" experience next weekend… what do you all think about the Original Hoffbrau steakhouse? THank you!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Tehama

                                  Well, in that vein, it works. From a food perspective, serious meh...

                                  1. re: SlickTheCat

                                    thanks so much for the warning! We may keep on looking then.

                                  2. re: Tehama

                                    yeah, my recollection from about 10 years ago is a thin steak floating in some garlicky butter sauce.
                                    I wasn't impressed enough to back in 10 years.

                                    1. re: Tehama

                                      Horrible shoe leather steak served in a dirty dive. Run away.

                                    2. My BF wants steak for his birthday (specifically he said he wants a Texas cowboy steak, which I think is adorable [he is from Italy and who knows what he is imagining]).

                                      He doesn't want to go to any place like a 'fancy' steakhouse that we could go to here in NC (nothing like Palms, Sullivan's, McCormick & Schmidt's, Flemings, Ruth's Chris, etc.)

                                      He is looking for a place with Texas character and an awesome steak --- if there are any quintessential experiences we should try, please let me know!

                                      Thank you all so much for all your help!

                                      13 Replies
                                      1. re: Tehama

                                        Again, as several people have suggested, Austin (not Texas - that's a blah chain) Land & Cattle on Lamar and 12th street is a good "Texas" steak. You can also do the happy hour where you can try three cuts of meat with two sauces.

                                        It's local and has a really great "Texas" vibe. It's smallish, so you'll need to make your reservations.

                                        1. re: Tehama

                                          Hudson's on the Bend would be a great experience with delicious meats (I love the steaks) but the price is not that friendly...


                                          1. re: Rene

                                            also, the speciality game meat is very TX and not something that an italian transplanted to NC would likely experience very often.

                                              1. re: Tehama

                                                I really like that restaurant a lot. I typically get the tasting menu. They used to have groupons/living socials all the time. Don't know if they still do but it was totally worth it.

                                          2. re: Tehama

                                            I am aligned with Amysuehere, Rene, and Dinaofdoom on this. When ALC is on, their fillets and ribeyes are fantastic, meaning good sear, good aging, and melt in your mouth cooked on point (unless you ruin it well done). And I often have trumpeted the praises of the elk backstrap steak at Hudson's (not to mention the scenic hill country drive and the lights, atmosphere, etc.) - sit outside for God's sake this time of year. I often hear crickets when I praise them around here (probably because they don't have kale or some kind of foam on the menu <cough>), but I love that restaurant even though it's pricey. The elk is just sublime and I've had it at least a dozen times chased with a nice Lagavullin scotch and it's my idea of heaven. Outside on a nice evening with a great dining partner it's just hard to beat. Okay, I'm over doing it.

                                            1. re: slowcoooked

                                              What a thoughtful reply! Thank you! I've ever had elk (and I am quite sure V hasn't!), so that sounds like a real option. Plus, I'd been wanting to try and squeeze in a jaunt up to Lake Travis on this short weekend, so it looks like that is do-able. I've found such kickass things to do for V, that I'm now having a hard time narrowing it down. Maybe we will do Garrison Brothers in Hye and then Lake Travis and Hudson's. THANK YOU!

                                              1. re: Tehama

                                                Love Hudsons--- it is fine dining... but it is a beautiful experince!!!

                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                  Thank you! Sounds like an amazing option. I'm just hoping the weather cooperates, as I'd love for V to have his birthday dinner al fresco. Is the rain percentage really 80%? :-(

                                                  1. re: Tehama

                                                    Cold front coming thru tomorrow. Tuesday is 60%

                                              2. re: slowcoooked

                                                I said above I love the place but it's too damn far for me. I need a helicopter to get out there.

                                                1. re: slowcoooked

                                                  You know, Hudson's is a very unique experience and would be a wonderful time if the weather's right. Is it the very best food in Austin? Probably not. It's up high in the list, though, and has a very "Texas meat proud" menu and if they weather's nice, the patio atmosphere would be over the top night.

                                                  Make reservations at both AL&C and Hudsons and decide on Saturday. If the weather's good, I'll snap up your opening for AL&C.

                                                  1. re: amysuehere

                                                    That's a cool idea and an excellent suggestion. I made reservations for Sunday evening (boyfriend's birthday) at Hudson's. We will do the Garrison's distillery in the afternoon and then drive up to Hudson's and back to Austin after dinner. Does that sound do-able? You're right though… if it is raining cats and dogs, no need to drive all over hell and half of Georgia! Thanks for the good idea!

                                              3. The Dallas Filet at Texas Roadhouse is great!

                                                1. If I want to spend more and do fine dining, I like Vince Young Steakhouse

                                                  19 Replies
                                                  1. re: amykragan

                                                    Thank you! I'm having a heckuva time organizing his desire for brisket and steak and bourbon and getting a taste of Austin's coolness in 36 hours. Y'all are great! Reach me on the Southeast board if y'all ever venture to N.C.!

                                                    1. re: Tehama

                                                      Get a drink at the Driskell Hotel, kind of country vibe. Good bar food too.

                                                      1. re: Rptrane

                                                        Plus it is Haunted... so that is always fun

                                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                                          And if anything here in town feels "Authentic Texas," that bar will put you back to the old west fast. The Driskell bar is a must. BTW - they're one of the only bars in town that make a proper martini with potato vodka.

                                                          1. re: amysuehere

                                                            Sorry Amysue, but a proper Martini has gin :-)

                                                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                Okay, a really fantastic VODKA martini. (gin makes me gag).

                                                                1. re: amysuehere

                                                                  Sorry for you. But, if they make a fantastic vodka martini, then I'm sure their gin martinis are equally great.
                                                                  I like the little nuts, olive, etc. that you get with your drinks there.

                                                              2. re: amysuehere

                                                                Martini you say? Gin or vodka - you're talking my language!

                                                                On a related note, can anyone give me the 4-1-1 on TX alcohol laws? I see no liquor [in bottle at least] is sold on Sundays. How about mixed drinks? Beer? Wine?

                                                                And, just to be a pain in the @ss, where are bottles of liquor sold? For example, here in North Carolina, beer & wine are sold in grocery and convenience stores, but the only place you can buy liquor are in State-run ABC stores.

                                                                Everyone has been so extraordinary. Thank you so much to everyone for your help!

                                                                1. re: Tehama

                                                                  hit specs but not on sunday for alcohol... beer and wine after 12:00 on Sundays most places you buy regular food... like grocery stores and quickstops- worldmarket

                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                    Mixed drinks are sold in restaurants on Sundays starting at 11 am if you buy food, although I've been in a place or two that doesn't know the law and won't serve until noon, It also could be as early as 10 am, although 11 is certain.
                                                                    You can buy liquor, beer, and wine in liquor stores 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday, state law.

                                                                  2. re: Tehama

                                                                    Here is a brief summary, not meant to be the full answer.
                                                                    First Retail.
                                                                    Liquor (scotch, bourbon, etc) is sold only in liquor stores. These are not state run, just private businesses. Hours 10:00 a.m. (ish) - 9:00 pm mon-sat. closed Sunday.
                                                                    Beer and Wine can be bought in grocery stores everyday, except, not until noon on Sunday. You can't buy it after a certain hour. This may vary by city. I don't know, but it's usually midnight or later.

                                                                    Now restaurants. This is very general.
                                                                    Some restaurants have licenses to sell beer and wine only, Others can sell, beer, wine and mixed drinks. You can pretty much drink any time in the restaurant that it is open, until 2:00 in the a.m. Somebody can correct me if i'm wrong here, because i'm going on memory. I can't tell you the last time i was out drinking at closing time.

                                                                    What i have just said is true of Travis county, where Austin is, also Houston, San Antonio, and most of the state.
                                                                    Now in other parts of the state there are dry counties, and even parts of counties that are dry, or even partially dry. This is where i don't have the time or knowledge, or energy to go into full detail. But, i will give some examples. As i said some counties are totally dry, no liquor whatsoever is sold. Others, you can buy beer and wine in the grocery stores, and they have liquor stores, but to buy a drink or beer in a restaurant you have to be a member of the place. So, you have to buy a membership. Parts of the Dallas area are this way. To get around this, area restaurants sell a metro card,(not the subway card) so if you buy it, you can drink at any place on the card. And, mostly if one person in the group has a card, everyone can drink.

                                                                    There is a whole lot more, but i think i have covered the major points that will affect you as a visitor in TX.

                                                                    1. re: Tehama

                                                                      If you live in NC, then you have probably drank in SC. Do they still require all bars to use 1.5 oz airplane bottles? Oh you can't buy liquor in grocery stores in Austin.

                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                        RudeBoy: You know what -- that SC question is a good one! When we were in Charleston briefly on New Years Day earlier this year, and only had champagne, so I am not sure about that mini-bottle requirement or not. And then the last time I was in SC about a year before that, I don't recall having mini bottles either, but I probably only had wine with dinner when we went out those times, too, because I remember we had cocktails at the beach house for most of the vacation. I had totally forgotten that mini-bottle deal!

                                                                2. re: Rptrane

                                                                  AmySueH, TroyTm GirlOTW, JamesC, RudeB, Rptrane: y'all are simply the best!!! I'm so excited about our short trip to your fine city and I thank each and everyone on the Austin board for all their help in planning and recommendations! I think TX liquor laws are quite similar to NC, so I'll hit up your ABC store when we get there tomorrow for a small bottle of Tanqueray for the hotel room and then leave the other chips to fall as they may!

                                                                  Really, though, everyone on this board has been so helpful! I can't thank you enough. I made back-up reservations at Austin Land & Cattle for the Sunday birthday in case the weather isn't nice enough to properly enjoy the drive and scenery for Hudson's and are planning on LA BBQ, Micklethwait, and Buffalina (my boyfriend is a pizza snob) for sure while we're there also.

                                                                  1. re: Tehama

                                                                    You'll want to go to Specs, it's like a Costco for liquor. I'm told the prices are quiet cheap.

                                                                    1. re: Rptrane

                                                                      yeah, try for a specs but if you can't get to one or don't have a lot of time/transportation, twin liquors is a pretty big local chain with tons of locations.

                                                                    2. re: Tehama

                                                                      Yeah go to Specs and pick up some Jamon Iberico to go with your booze.

                                                                      1. re: lixlix

                                                                        I hit up Specs while we were there. What a bonanza! Our ABC stores "ain't got nuthin'" on Specs. It is probably a good thing we only brought carry-on luggage instead of checked bags; I could have filled up a suitcase with all the super cool items our paltry little ABC stores don't carry. Thank you all for the suggestion!

                                                              3. Hi everyone! Just wanted to thank you all so much for all the great suggestions!

                                                                I'll reply to the other threads as far as other places we chow-downed (bbq, pizza), but we settled on Hudson's on the Bend for my BF's birthday dinner. It wasn't quite the steak he had in mind as we ventured out, but a lovely experience. We had gone to Garrison's Distillery Sunday afternoon (snowflakes flitting around; man Sunday was frigid!), and then cut over to Lake Travis before going back down to Austin. Hudson's is so charming. I wish it had been warm enough to dine al fresco in the courtyard, but inside under the "chairy tree" was quite fun (even though the BF was a little creeped-out by the stuffed crows in the branches).

                                                                We had the rattlesnake appetizer (couldn't taste the rattlesnake, only the pistachios) and split the menu item that features the bison, rabbit, quail, venison, and … something else I think. I really liked the bison and quail; the rabbit and venison was overcooked, I believe. The folks next to us ordered the "hot & crunchy" shrimp salad and it looked divine.

                                                                The staff was just as nice as they could be and brought out a crème brûlée for my BF's birthday.

                                                                Hudson's venue was just very lovely, so even if BF didn't get the steak he had been anticipating on that evening, we still had a wonderful time and would certainly go back on another occasion.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Tehama

                                                                  Thanks for the report Tehama. It's a special and uniquely "texas" experience even if imperfect and expensive. Next time get the Elk. And I agree - they should call the snake cakes pistachio cakes.