Three Reasons to Visit the Recently Renovated Morton's the Steakhouse

On a recent visit to the downtown location of Morton's The Steakhouse for a media event, I found three great reasons -- all in food form -- to suggest that you pay the restaurant a little visit. I'll make this short so as to assure that, should you so desire, you'll be able to make it out there in time for the recently launched lunch hour.

3. New York Cheescake Understandably, you may be surprised that I'm sending you to a steakhouse to try a slice of cheesecake. Just trust me on this one. For once in your life, contain that ever-present inclination to overeat and save some belly room for a nice, classic dessert done the right way. Morton's cheesecake is texturally ideal -- not too dense, not too airy, not too soft, not too hard -- it's just right. The fluffy slice of joy slowly melts in your mouth, melding seamlessly with the homemade-tasting graham cracker crust. Best of all, neither of the latter two components is overly sweet -- a welcome quality that makes pairing the cheesecake with the accompanying naturally sweet berries a delight.

2. Filet Mignon Extremely tender is an understatement in the case of Morton's filet mignon, which is served up pink throughout -- sans any blood -- and will have you complimenting the dish in no time, saying "well done" and the like. While the premium cut of beef could have gone down without any added condiments or sauces, I sure am glad that I oped to "dress" my filet with what was available: Morton's five peppercorn-bourbon sauce and horseradish butter. Both of these components upped the filet mignon's game a notch, especially the horseradish butter, as its noticeable heavy dose of heavy whipping cream made the "butter" light and fluffy, and also subdued the often-overpowering horseradish favor.

1. Double Cut Rib Lamb Chops I just got the chills while thinking about how delectable this dish was. Yes, it was that good. Morton's has definitely perfected its lamb chops by choosing quality, fat-laced meat that they season and then char quite well, producing lamb chops that fall off the bone even at the mere sight of teeth. An accompanying mint-apple jelly sealed the deal for me on this particular menu item, as the jelly had small chunks of apple and mint and was bursting with flavor overall. I have a feeling that you too will think this dish is superb.

Worth mentioning is that the caliber of the environment that the food is served in matches the high quality of the food. Boasting more than 69 locations nationwide, the Bayou City's Morton's is the second in the family of restaurants to undergo renovations, which bring a more modern ambience to the table -- yes, that pun was indeed intended -- to the steakhouse chain that was founded in Chicago in 1978. Updates include new, sophisticated seating, a glossy black-hued bar that whispers, "Look at me, baby," as well as metallic accents sprinkled throughout the space.

Given Morton's recent acquisition by the Landry's family, owned by billionaire Texas native Tilman Fertitta, grandiosity is almost to be expected. In the past year, Fertitta's company has snagged several Houston-area restaurants and properties, invested millions in them and re-debuted them in grand fashion. And Morton's food and decor can be described precisely as that -- grand.

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Carla Soriano