Make Mine Moo

If you went to Houston's and asked for a black-and-blue steak, you'd surely be met with a blank stare. But Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar (2405 West Alabama, 713-520-8840) has chefs who know there's more to steak than rare, medium and well done. Their juicy, succulent steaks may not actually moo when you cut into them, but they do melt in your mouth. Ask for the black-and-blue (charred outside with a cold interior, served on a cold plate) or the more difficult-to-prepare Pittsburgh-style steak (three distinct tastes: charred exterior, medium rim and rare center). The restaurant offers two sizes of filet mignons, the 12-ounce ($27.95) and the eight-ounce ($22.95) -- which is easier to cook correctly, for the steak sticklers out there. Like all the beef at Fleming's, the filets are USDA Prime, corn-fed and aged up to four weeks. Beef like this hardly requires a side dish (although you might consider Fleming's potatoes) and certainly doesn't need condiments. Don't even think of asking for steak sauce.

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Marene Gustin