Fri., July 2, 1999
613 W. Sixth, 472-0822
Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm, 5-8:30pm
One of Austin's longest running success stories, the venerable Hoffbrau has been slinging steaks since 1934. Though more trendy restaurants are growing up around it, the steak-and-potatoes fare here remains the same as it ever was. A definitive Austin tradition is there ever was one.
626 N. Lamar, 472-2172
Forget about the pretenders to the throne; this is the closest thing Austin has to a true diner. GM is widely known as the favorite breakfast spot of the late, great Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, who came for the fresh coffee and a plate of steak and eggs. There's nothing quite like the sound of a breakfast steak hitting that hot griddle.
Austin Land & Cattle Company
1205 N. Lamar, 472-1813
Mon-Thu, 5-10pm; Fri-Sat, 5-11pm
Husband-and-wife proprietors Christian and Theresa Mertens offer great steaks (plus an inviting selection of entrees featuring chicken, fish, lobster, and shrimp) to please the palate in this comfortable downtown dinner house. We just have to love a restaurant with the slogan "Bon Appetex!"
300 Colorado, 495-6504
Succulent high-dollar steaks and traditional a la carte side dishes complemented by expensive wines and top-notch martinis make this handsome flagship of a fast-growing national chain just the place to slide into decadence. Very popular with legislators, business types, visiting celebs, and the little black cocktail dress crowd. Sullivan's Ringside is one of the finest jazz listening rooms in town.
Dan McCluskey's Steak House
301 E. Sixth, 473-8924
10000 Research, 346-0780
Mon-Thu, 11:15am-2pm, 5-10pm;
Fri, 11:15am-2pm, 5-11pm; Sat, 5-11pm; Sun, 5-9pm
These two popular spots are part of the local Elba Restaurant Group and reflect the classy, comfortable tone for which that company's restaurants are known. The very reliable selection of certified Angus beef steaks and grilled seafood entrees attracts a loyal downtown business clientele to the entertainment district outlet, while the Arboretum caters to a more suburban crowd and offers live jazz on weekends.
Texas Land & Cattle Company
6007 N. I-35, 451-6555
1101 S. MoPac, 330-0030
Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm
This Dallas chain proved so successful with its first Austin outpost at the corner of I-35 and Hwy290 (the former location of the revered Nighthawk Steakhouse) that it opened a second location on MoPac at the Rollingwood/ Westlake Hills exit. Both restaurants are loud and friendly, offering a Texas trail drive steak menu complemented by some grilled Tex-Mex and seafood items, and great loaves of hot sourdough bread. It's also the only place we've ever been where it's okay to drop peanut shells on the floor.
9012 Research, 453-8350
Mon-Fri, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun, noon-10pm
When you want steaks grilled as only you can do them, give this high-concept dinner house a shot. Patrons choose their own cuts of meat and cook them to their own specifications while the kitchen whips up appetizers, salads, side dishes, and desserts. A perfect family cookout spot for those who don't want to shop, make a mess, or clean up.
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
107 W. Sixth, 477-7884
Lounge: Daily, 4:30-10:30pm; Dinner: Daily, 5:30-10:30pm
Operators of this successful national chain opted to move downtown where the action is in 1999 and are reportedly doing a land-office business at the corner of Sixth and Congress in the Scarbrough Building. Valet parkers deal with that pesky downtown parking problem so patrons can enjoy the full bar and traditional steakhouse fare of high-priced entrees and a la carte side dishes without hassle.
Old San Francisco Steak House
8709 N. I-35, 835-9200
Sun-Thu, 5-10pm; Fri-Sat, 5-11pm
This popular San Antonio-based chain is probably as well-known for its turn-of-the-century decor and piano accompaniment to leggy girls flying above the stage in red velvet swings as it is for steaks. However, the local outlet is still swinging after 20 years, which means the food must be what keeps families and business travelers coming back year after year.
713 E. Huntland, 458-6283
11600 Research, 343-6333
Mon-Thu, 4-10:30pm; Fri, 4-11:30pm;
Sat, 3-11:30pm; Sun, 3-10:30pm
Tampa-based Outback Steakhouse is probably the most high-profile national steak chain to locate in Austin. Its raucous TV spots invite diners to come for great steaks and trademark "Bloomin' Onion" appetizer in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere supposedly reminiscent of the Land Down Under. It appears to have captured the imagination -- to say nothing of the appetites -- of much of middle America.
3010 Guadalupe, 478-0000
Sun-Wed, 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm;
Thu-Sat, 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm
Erwin Center catering director Ray LeMay took over the wonderful old English's location when Ruth's Chris moved downtown, and turned those lovely paneled rooms into a steakhouse with an upscale hunting lodge theme. A man of prodigious appetite, LeMay serves up he-man sized steaks and chops, plus a chicken-fried steak that only a platter can hold. The beef here is certified Angus, and each entree comes with soup or salad, plus a choice of side dishes and vegetables.
Steak and Ale
2211 W. Anderson, 453-1688
Mon-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri, 11am-11pm;
Sat, 2:30-11pm; Sun, 11:30am-9pm
We still recall those Seventies disco days when salad bars were the newest thing in restaurants and dinner at the dimly lit Steak and Ale was the most romantic night out in Austin. The local outlet of this popular Southern chain boasted the first salad bar in town and has been serving Surf 'n' Turf to romancing couples for nearly 30 years. You can't argue with that kind of staying power.