The dinner last night, did not disappoint. It was the best New York Strip I’ve had in memory and also the best Houston Restaurant Weeks meal I’ve ever had. It was an excellent meal, period, and wonderful dining experience, even just sitting in the bar area.
I started with a Caesar Salad, my usual steakhouse starter. Featuring manageably sized pieces of Romaine lettuce, which I really enjoyed, in a rich, creamy sauce studded with properly crispy croutons made from good-quality bread, this was exactly what I had hoped for to prologue the beef course. My New York Strip was perfectly cooked medium-rare, as requested. Tender, juicy but was a slight bit of an exterior crust that exhibited a noticeable hint of the Kosher salt, black pepper and butter finish, the steak tasted like it should, just better. Deeply flavorful, but without any discernible funk from the dry-aging. It was terrific. Well-done mashed potatoes and haricot verts were welcome accompaniments to the steak. The friend I was dining with and I also split an order of their cheesy au gratin potatoes in the odd chance we might not get enough calories along the way. Delicious, too. To finish, I had a Key Lime Pie tartlet made with Graham crackers, toasted pecans, lightly sweetened whipped cream and a few fresh berries. It also was very enjoyable, the product of a very adept pastry station, if tough to finish after the several large and caloric prefaces.
Those three courses from the Restaurant Weeks menu was just $45, excepting tax and gratuity. The similar 14-ounce New York Strip on the menu is $51.95. Though the steak I had might have been a little smaller, maybe the 10-ounce version that is usually served at the bar, the three courses for $7 less is an excellent value, and provides more than enough food for nearly every diner, as each of the three courses is quite generous, in the typical Pappas restaurant manner. Then there is also fresh, top-notch bread on the table with softened butter upon request.
The visit confirmed that, to me, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse – boisterous, always loud and usually delightfully indulgent and even excessive – and Georgia James are clearly the best two steakhouse concepts in the city. Not only is the food excellent, especially the nearly unparalleled steak, but the compendious wine list is the most impressive in the city along with its sibling – and with some values, too, the acidic and tannic Burlotto Nebbiolo di Langhe 2016 for $55 that I had previously encountered at Public Services worked very well with steaks. The wait staff here, too, is also a cut above among the local steakhouses. The attentive, friendly and proficient service we had last night stood in stark contrast to the choppy, not-so-professional-for-the-considerable-price service I had fairly recently at Mastro’s, another upscale steakhouse. The New York Strip and other foods were far better at Pappas Bros., too, as was the overall experience.
If you are going to do the all-American steakhouse experience, which is always expensive, you can't beat Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston. During Houston Restaurant Weeks, it is even somewhat of a value, all while benefiting the Houston Food Bank. Do good while eating very well.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
1200 McKinney (at San Jacinto), (713) 658-1995
5839 Westheimer (between Chimney Rock and Fountain View), (713) 780-7352
The New York Strip is more flavorful, but the filet at Pappas Bros. is about as good as it gets.