Second Helping: Steak Out

Cuisines editor Virginia B. Wood surveys Austin's steakhouses.


The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled and updated by Chronicle Cuisines editor Virginia B. Wood from an original publication date of July 2, 1999. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

The Hoffbrau

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 if there ever was one.

GM Steakhouse

626 N. Lamar, 472-2172

Daily, 7am- 3pm

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 entrées 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"!

Sullivan's

300 Colorado, 495-6504

Mon-Sat, 5:30-11pm

Succulent high-dollar steaks, 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

Daily, 5-10pm

10000 Research Blvd., 346-0780

Mon-Fri, 11:15am-2pm; Mon-Thu, 5-10pm, Fri- 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 entrées 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

14010 N. Hwy. 183, 258-3733

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 Hwy. 290 (the former location of the revered Nighthawk Steakhouse) that they've opened a second location along the northbound MoPac access at the Rollingwood/West Lake Hills exit and a third near Lakeline Mall. The 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.

UR Cooks

9012 Research Blvd., 453-8350

5501 W. Hwy. 290, 899-0022

Mon-Tue, 5-10pm; Wed-Thu, 5-11pm; Fri, 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm

Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, noon-10pm

When you want steaks grilled as only you can do them, give this high-concept dinner house a shot in either of the convenient north central or southwest locations. Patrons pick out 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 cook-out 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 now do a land-office business in the ground floor of the Scarborough Building. Valet parkers deal with that pesky downtown parking problem so patrons can enjoy the full bar and traditional steakhouse fare of high-priced entrées and a la carte side dishes in complete comfort. Ruth's is the only steakhouse in town offering USDA prime beef.

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 a 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.

Ray's Steakhouse

3010 Guadalupe, 478-0000

Sun-Wed, 11:30am-2pm, 5-10pm;

Thu-Sat, 11:30am-2pm, 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 portions of steaks and chops, plus a chicken-fried steak that only a platter can hold. The beef here is certified Angus and each entrée comes with soup or salad plus a choice of side dishes and vegetables.

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