Last month we brought you a list of the thirteen best burgers made from Texas-raised Wagyu. Next month we’ll feature top Texas Wagyu dishes from barbecue joints, but now is the time to get fancy and honor the restaurants that give Texas Wagyu the white-tablecloth treatment.
Wagyu ranches in Texas are small operations that generally control their cattle from birth all the way to the restaurant. Unlike commodity businesses that feed, harvest, and sell cattle from various ranches as just “beef,” Wagyu producers rely on their names. Most of those brands don’t harvest enough cattle to keep a chain of steakhouses stocked week after week, so finding restaurants that serve beef from a particular producer can be challenging. Think of this list, organized in ascending order by price, as a starting point.
While Wagyu steaks like ribeyes, strips, and tenderloins are plenty popular, many of these restaurants highlight cuts you won’t normally find in fine dining, such as beef shoulder, flat iron, or picanha, which is revered in Brazil. Wagyu genetics bring more marbling, so expect spectacularly tender meat.
HeartBrand Akaushi Texas Wagyu Katsu Sando: $20
Kata Robata‘s take on this Japanese sandwich starts with fluffy milk bread, lightly browned on the griddle. A shatteringly crisp panko crust surrounds medallions of beef cut from a HeartBrand New York strip, whose cross section reveals intense marbling. A swipe of tonkatsu sauce brings even more umami flavor to this rich dish.
The Heritage Table
R-C Ranch Wagyu Beef Shoulder: $41
Shoulder clod is well known to barbecue fans, especially those who have enjoyed it at Kreuz Market in Lockhart. The cooks at Heritage Table use 72 hours of sous vide to get the cut tender. After finishing on the grill, the beef is sliced and served on a bed of buttery buckwheat risotto dotted with diced sweet potatoes and crunchy pickled chard stems. The restaurant also serves a rotating cut from R-C Ranch that’s moderately priced. Currently, it’s offering the teres major steak with mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and marinated tomatoes for $48.
Midland Meat Company Braised Wagyu Short Ribs: $44
The compact, dimly lit dining room of Little Bohemian in downtown Midland gives it the look of a swanky, big-city restaurant. The well-appointed bar promises Midland’s coldest martini, but the braised short ribs are pure warmth and comfort. A medley of sautéed mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes join the fork-tender beef, sourced from a meat market just two miles away.
Crush Wine Bar
4B Meats Wagyu Strip: $60
The menu at Crush Wine Bar doesn’t list a weight for this steak, but mine was over a pound. It came well-seasoned with salt, garlic, and cracked black pepper, and was nicely seared. The steak comes from 4B Meats, just an hour outside Amarillo, and doesn’t include any sides, but it’s easily the best value on this list.
Rosewood Wagyu Picanha: $64
Founding chef Junior Borges and executive chef Justin Mosley both left the kitchen at Meridian last month, but the menu remains mostly unchanged. The modern take on Brazilian cuisine wouldn’t be complete without picanha, the national beef cut of Brazil. A chunky chimichurri brings some brightness to the rare cubes of fatty beef, which are served with crisp potatoes and smoked leeks.
Wagyu X Texas Wagyu Sirloin: $65
Kevin Fink is chef and partner of the Emmer Hospitality Group, which runs several restaurants in San Antonio and Austin, including Hestia. To fill the gap left by the sale of A Bar N Ranch this summer, Fink said the restaurant uses a variety of Texas Wagyu purveyors like Wagyu X, Legacy Custom Meats, Startz Cattle, Iron Table Wagyu, and Peeler Farms, but the Wagyu sirloin I enjoyed two months ago at Hestia likely came from Wagyu X. It was sliced thin, showing off the consistent doneness from edge to edge, and served with sweet smoked carrots. A Wagyu ribeye is also available for $115.
R-C Ranch Wagyu Flat Iron Steak: $72
Few dishes on this list show off the buttery tenderness of Wagyu better than the eight-ounce flat iron steak at Bludorn. The incredibly tender beef is sliced and plated atop bordelaise sauce with a dollop of compound butter. The twice-baked potato on the side is about as comforting as you can get.
R-C Ranch Wagyu Strip Steak: $79
Chef and owner Dean Fearing had championed A Bar N Ranch Wagyu since adding the brand to the Fearing’s menu in 2018, so he was especially saddened by its sale this summer. I got to indulge in one of the last few A Bar N strip steaks he had left in stock before he made the switch to R-C Ranch for Wagyu steaks on the dinner menu. It’s a ten-ounce portion, which is easily manageable, even with the richness of the beef.
Legacy Custom Meats Gyulais Wagyu Flat Iron and Lobster: $85
Chef and owner Austin Simmons helped develop Legacy Custom Meats’ Wagyu program. The producer calls its Charolais and Wagyu cross Gyulais, and it can be found in burgers and steaks across the Tris menu. The showstopper, though, is a mushroom tart topped with slices of Gyulais flat iron and butter-drenched knuckles of lobster. It’s the most decadent item on this list.
Rosewood Dry-Aged New York Strip: $89
Rosewood steaks can be found on many Texas menus, but Don Artemio is one of the few restaurants that dry-ages them. Yes, the seventeen-day dry-aging time sounds abbreviated compared to the typical thirty days, but it gives the fourteen-ounce strip steak just enough time develop a pleasant funky flavor without being overpowering.
HeartBrand Akaushi Ribeye: $95
The Killen’s Steakhouse menu always includes some Texas-raised Wagyu. The Woodlands location recently switched from Rosewood to HeartBrand, and the ribeye is as good a place as any to start. The heavy sear gives it a great bark, laden with cracked black pepper. Try the HeartBrand filet in a flight that includes three other Wagyu producers from across the world, or go to the Pearland location to try a flight of Wagyu New York strips.
Iron Table Wagyu New York Strip: $100
Pignetti’s is known for its Italian food and steaks, and is one of the few restaurants serving beef from Iron Table Wagyu in nearby Gatesville. Considering this strip steak is a full pound and comes with grilled broccolini and fried potatoes, it’s a good value, even as the most expensive item on this list. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and the restrained seasoning allowed the beef flavor to shine through.
Bonus: Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille
New York Strip Flight featuring Rosewood Kobe-Style Beef: $99
The choices for steaks and chops can be dizzying at Perry’s Steakhouse, so go for three in one with a New York strip flight. Four-ounce portions of Rosewood Texas Wagyu, A5 Japanese Wagyu, and Nebraska prime-grade beef are included. They’re clearly labeled, but cutting into them reveals the massive difference in marbling. Start with the A5, because you don’t want to dive into a cut that rich after already eating half a pound of beef.