Capital City Steakhouse

Rounding up the Austin steak house scene

Capital City Steakhouse

300 S. Congress (in the Embassy Suites), 480-8797

Daily, 11am-11pm

Located just south of the river, this little gem in the lobby of the Embassy Suites is a real find. Attached to the atrium bar and serving as the hotel's coffee shop/restaurant, the kitchen here clearly takes pride in its work, and the place deserves to be frequented by us locals as well as the fortunate hotel guests. Low-key and sans pretension, the dinner prices are reasonable, the portions are generous, the service (by the bartender) is welcoming, and the kitchen's skill is impressive.

Our steaks (a 12 oz. rib eye, $17.95, and a 10 oz. top sirloin, $15.95) were perfectly cooked – juicy, tender, and flavorful – and the optional accompaniment of grilled onions and mushrooms is a must. The sides and appetizers are better than just good, prepared by someone who knows how to cook. The best starter is a tub of warm Artichoke-Spinach Dip ($6.95), which could be a meal by itself. The huge, steak house style Lettuce Wedge Salad ($3.95) is a classic, swimming in chunky blue cheese dressing with a garnish of nicely salted diced tomatoes. Your mama could have made the Minestrone Soup ($2.50), thick with vegetables, red beans, and pasta in a tasty tomato/beef broth.

If you have capacity for dessert, the richly dense wedge of Chocolate Indulgence ($5.50) hits the spot. And, in addition to the short but decent wine list, the menu features seven good bottles of wine for only $21 each. Such a deal! One of these, the Phillips Cabernet-Sauvignon, was just right for the steaks. The next time I feel like an inexpensive, well-prepared steak dinner accompanied by a decent bottle of wine, Capital City Steakhouse is where I'll head.

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