We Texans love us some steaks. As the nation’s leader in cattle operations, our fair state produced 4.8 billion pounds of beef last year, a goodly portion of which was sliced up into ribeyes, tenderloins, and more. There are steakhouses from the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley, and we visit them at the drop of a Stetson, either to celebrate that big promotion or because it’s Friday night and we just feel like going out. You might say Steaks R Us.
In February 1997, this magazine published “The Elite Meat to Eat.” I remember it all too well because at the time, it seemed a mammoth undertaking: I visited thirty steakhouses and chose the top ten in the state. I wrote of people being seized by a lust for red meat unseen in twenty years, and I tsk-tsked at the expense of a full steakhouse meal: $30 to $60 a head. Boy, was that the age of innocence.
Today there are ten worthy steakhouses in Dallas or Houston alone, meat mania is accelerating at warp speed, and $30 is what you pay for one itty-bitty steak, no sides included. While hardly endangered, the stereotypical dark, clubby urban steakhouse is being challenged by the so-called “new steakhouse,” a chef-driven enterprise serving up sashimi and