The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Steakhouses

With this week's news that meat magnates Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse and Ricky Craig of Hubcap Grill are teaming up to create a mega-steakhouse, Wonder Twins-style, it seems as good a time as any to examine the steakhouse scene here in Houston. (It should also serve as succor for those carnivores turned off by last week's list of the Top 10 Vegan Restaurants.)

While we're not quite the steakhouse town that we used to be (you can thank the oil boom and, later, the Enron crash for that turn of events), Houston still has some top-notch steaks for those willing to splash out the cash. And believe me -- these are some pricey places. For the cost of one ribeye steak and a side of brussels sprouts at Morton's ($57 before tax and tip), as an example, you could also have a four-course meal at Oxheart and have money left for a glass of wine.

That said, if you're looking for a terrific piece of meat and the swank atmosphere that comes with dining in a luxurious, well-appointed steakhouse -- these are the places to beat right now.

10. Brenner's on the Bayou

The steaks at Brenner's location on Buffalo Bayou are wet-aged, USDA Prime and they're served in a puddle of au jus. It's a smart idea: The meat juice soaks in as you cut each bite, so there's never a chance for dry-tasting meat. But the real allure at Brenner's -- also known as the old Rainbow Lodge location -- is its gorgeous, rustic building and the lush views onto Buffalo Bayou and Brenner's manicured gardens. In the evenings, Brenner's relatively new lounge -- Blue Bar -- is one of the most spectacular patios in town.

9. Fleming's

USDA Prime steaks are the main attraction here, but there are also plenty of grilled seafood selections and salads. In addition to all the steakhouse standards, Fleming's has its own twists such as a porcini-rubbed filet with grilled asparagus spears and a gorgonzola cream sauce. Sunday's are great for family affairs, when Fleming's serves a prime rib dinner with a trio of sauces, a salad, side and dessert. And with 100 wines by the glass, it's easy to keep everybody happy, no matter what they order for dinner. Most top-end steak houses resemble men's clubs and cater to businessmen on expense accounts, but Fleming's has a softer, more elegant decor designed to appeal to couples.

8. Perry's

Although I personally always get the famous pork chop at Perry's, I do realize that it's a steakhouse first and foremost. The first Perry's was opened by Bob Perry in 1979 as purely a butcher shop and is now run personally by his son, Bobby. This original Perry & Sons Market & Grille on Scarsdale Boulevard remains a neighborhood favorite, although its chain offshoots across town are equally popular. Their USDA-aged Prime beef is butchered in-house and cut fresh to order with a few, fun signature items that make Perry's stand out: the Chateaubriand for two that's carved tableside (like the pork chop) and the Southwest filet mignon with applewood-smoked bacon, served with a corn and fig relish.

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Katharine Shilcutt