Thursday, August 24, 2006

Brenner's Steakhouse

He: For the first time in a long time I got to have a nice dinner that is worth noting down here. We went to Brenner's Steakhouse (10911 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX). The restaurant is on the feeder of I-10 in a generally unappealing neighborhood. From the outside it doesn't look like much, but as soon as you walk through the door the din from the highway fades. The restaurant has an inner courtyard with a ponds and mature trees, which is a startling contrast to the dusty and noisy outside.

Our table was in the back in a very comfortable vaguely rustic room. The menu is very short, but everything on it that we tried was excellent. We started with the crab cakes that one of my friends billed as the best in Houston. I haven't done an exhaustive study, but see no reason to doubt his claim. They are more crab than cake in that they seem to consist of large pieces of crab held together by seasoning. This was followed by French Onion Soup for me, which had the thick consistency and full flavor of a soup that has been boiled for a long time. Next up was a Fillet Mignon and a number of sides for the table including 'German Potatoes' and the usual spinach and mushrooms. The fillet was cooked to perfection, but possibly a little dry. I don't think the restaurant is to blame for that: it was a very lean piece of meat. We had two bottles of wine between the seven of us. Unfortunately I don't remember what they were, but both were quite interesting. One was recommended by the in-house sommelier. When in doubt what to drink, she is a very good resource.

The closest competitor to Brenner's is probably Pappas Steakhouse. I haven't eaten there is forever and can't really draw a direct comparison, but I think I enjoyed Brenner's more because of their less claustrophobic interior design and smoother service. To compare the food I'd have to go back to Pappas again (a fate worse than death).

The bill came to $82 with tip, which I thought was quite reasonable. Brenner's is definitely on my recommended list.


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