In a recent episode of Ludo à la Maison, the online cooking show by Los Angeles-based celebrity chef Ludo LeFebvre, he teaches the home cook how to make classic steak frites. “Who doesn’t like steak frites?” he ponders. “A vegetarian?” He goes on to talk about how he sought to impress his then-girlfriend (now wife) by making steak frites on their first date. We hear you, Ludo. Steak frites is great date night food. And thankfully for us Houstonians, there are plenty of places we can get it around town without lifting a finger in our kitchen.
So without further ado, here are 10 great places for steak frites around Houston:
10. The 10-ounce New York Strip Steak Frites at Toulouse, $36
It may have had its ups and downs, but one thing that Toulouse in the River Oaks District always gets right is its classic entree of steak frites. In lieu of ribeye, Toulouse opted to use the leaner New York strip cut, which is cooked over a grill and served with thin-cut fries and Béarnaise sauce.
9. The 8-ounce New York Strip Steak Frites at L’Olivier, $24
There's a steak frites salad on the menu at lunch if you want something lighter. At dinner, Olivier Ciesielski has been serving the same version of steak frites since 2012. Instead of entrecôte, his is a grilled New York Strip steak. When he can, he says he prefers Yukon Gold french fries (but the ones we tried were Idaho potatoes). Cut so thin that they’re almost shoestring in size, the potatoes arrive at the table in a small white paper bag that is then opened to reveal piping hot, fresh-from-the-fryer pommes frites. The dinner portion also comes with a small side salad and three different dippings sauces for the fries.
8. The 12-ounce Ribeye Steak Frites at Brasserie du Parc, $40
There are four options for steak frites at Philippe and Monica Verpiand’s new Brasserie du Parc right off of Discovery Green in downtown. The most basic steak frites is an 8-ounce flat iron steak served with french fries and a spring mix salad. Other cuts, served essentially the same way with fries and a spring salad are the 12-ounce entrecôte (ribeye) for $40, the 8-ounce filet mignon for $39, and the entrecôte de bison (bison ribeye) for $42. All of the steaks come with a choice of Béarnaise sauce, bordelaise, au poivre or maitre d’hotel butter. Available at lunch and dinner, what’s interesting to note is that the lunch menu prices are a major bargain, ringing in at $20 for the same size flat iron, $28 for the ribeye, and $28 for the filet mignon, so the next time you’re feeling like a hearty steak lunch that won’t break the bank, this is the place to go.
7. The 10-ounce Hangar Steak au Poivre at Field & Tides, $27
Stepping through the doors of Heights newcomer Field & Tides, you can’t help but feel like you’ve walked into the neighborhood hangout of the moment. The bar is always abuzz, and the cozy little house with the country-esque antler chandeliers in the center of the room makes you feel right at home. Something else that’ll give you the warm and fuzzies? The hangar steak frites. Topped with a bourbon demi-glace that gives the sliced, pan-seared peppercorn steak a mouthwatering sheen, chef Travis Lenig keeps the plate deliciously simple with a side of thin-cut fries that soak up the juices at the the bottom of the plate.
6. The 12-ounce Red Angus Ribeye Steak Frites, Cafe Azur, $36
The story behind the steak frites at Cafe Azur is this: When Sidney Degaine originally opened Cafe Azur in the former Brasserie Max & Julie space, he didn’t plan to have steak frites on the menu. But regulars who’d patronized Max & Julie for years wanted it back, so he acquiesced. His version adheres to the classic French style. He uses 44 Farms entrecôte, or ribeye, which he pan sears with black pepper and salt, and finishes with butter and lemon zest. The fries (in the photo above) are sliced potatoes, but thin cut fries are available as well. If you prefer to have a sauce with your steak, he offers a house demi-glace (which is excellent), and for the potatoes, there is a refreshingly dippable freshly prepared tartare sauce made with ricotta, cream, garlic, lemon zest, and chives.
5. The 10-ounce Ribeye Steak frites, Etoile Cuisine et Bar, $19 (happy hour only)
Happy hour is fine and dandy for drinks, but when you want something to nosh on to go with your after-work drink specials, there’s no better place than Etoile in Uptown Park. It’s our preferred place to go when we have a hankering for a good old-fashioned, juicy steak frites. Available only during the Green Hour (so named because they have a bunch of Absinthe cocktails for you try) from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sunday through Friday, it’s worth the effort getting there for a taste of chef Philippe Verpiand’s delicious pan-seared ribeye steak frites.
4. The 12-ounce Butcher’s Cut at Ritual, $29
While it may not be a traditional French-style steak frites, the Butcher’s Cut at Ritual will definitely satisfy anyone’s desire for steak and french fries any night of the week. In true Texas style, Ritual’s version comes topped with a mouthwatering marrow glaze and whipped beef lardo (tastier than butter), along with a side of wedge-cut Kennebec fries. In lieu of ketchup or butter, you get a side of garlic aioli to dip your fries in. On the evening we were there, the Butcher’s Cut was a 12-ounce Brangus Strip from Kenney, Texas, but the cut changes daily (Teres major and Trip Tip steaks are other Buther’s Cut examples).
3. The Six-ounce L’Entrecôte Paris Steak Frites at Artisans, $20 (lunch only)
Want to take a trip to Paris without actually flying there? Then you need to stop in at Artisans for their lunchtime “L’Entrecôte Paris Steak Frites,” available for a steal of a deal at just $20. “In Paris, more people eat steak than they eat burgers,” says chef Jacques Fox, who was inspired by a trip to France to introduce his version of steak frites onto the lunch menu last fall. The six-ounce ribeye, topped with beurre maitre d’hotel (butter, chopped parsely, lemon juice) and served with small side of sauce Choron (Béarnaise with tomato), is the closest we’ve found to what you’d experience at a typical French bistro, right down to the skinny-cut, super crispy, twice cooked fries.
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2. The 14-ounce Dry-aged Prime Ribeye at Le Mistral $44
For steak frites prepared by a French chef, with all the accoutrements and flair that that entails, the dry-aged prime ribeye steak by Master chef of France David Denis at Le Mistral Restaurant in the Energy Corridor is hard to beat. Available at lunch or dinner, the hand-cut 14-ounce cut is dry-aged in-house for maximum flavor and tenderness. Grilled to your desired temperature, the steak comes with garlic French green beans, thin-cut french fries, and a beautifully prepared green peppercorn Cognac sauce. The fries also come with a side of house made tartare sauce, which adds another dimension of authenticity to this French gourmet experience.
1. The Six-ounce Hangar Steak Frites at La Table, $29
Something magical is in the air at La Table, whether you stop in for a more casual meal on the brand new patio at La Table Marche downstairs, or book a table at the chic La Table Chateau upstairs. And that includes their delicious steak frites (available in both dining areas). The six-ounce butcher’s cut Black Angus hangar steak is prepared to perfection by chef Hassan Obaye and his team, sliced and then served with hand-cut Kennebec fries. To accompany the steak, you get a choice of classic Béarnaise sauce or sauce au poivre (peppercorn sauce) made with a base of veal jus and French Cognac. A small side salad made of fresh tossed organic greens from Sustainable Harvesters Houston completes the picture. Sounds pretty perfect, yes? Just wait until you taste it. The steak is lean, yet tender and flavorful. The thin fries, seasoned with kosher salt and espellete pepper (similar to paprika), were a standout among all the french fries we tried, with a crispy outside that gave way to a soft center. Best of all, even after they’d cooled down, the fries stayed crispy (but didn’t get hard) for the duration of our meal.