Beef: It's Still What's for Dinner

Speaking off the toque: Tony Ruppe, chef and proprietor of Tony Ruppe's [3939 Montrose Boulevard, (713)852-0852].

Q. With the constant stream of stories coming out of Europe about mad cow and hoof-and-mouth disease, have you seen an effect on the sale of beef dishes at your restaurant?

A. I can tell you our one beef dish on the regular menu, a beef tenderloin, continues to be a best-seller at both lunchtime and dinner. Whether it is ordered rare, medium rare, medium well or well done, people keep requesting it. Since there is no evidence that any diseases have appeared on this continent, we've seen no effect. Texans will eat their beef. When there was a scare about beef and cholesterol a few years ago, there was an effect on consumption, but then when they found out red wine helps control the cholesterol, they went back to having their beef -- and drinking red wine with it. There's been no slacking off at all. I see that people are still continuing to open up new steak houses because it is so popular.

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