Best Steakhouse for the Common Man (2002)

Texas Land & Cattle Steak House

Saddle up and head south -- into the heart of suburban sprawl, for pity's sake -- for some of the best steaks in town. Texas Land & Cattle Steak House, a link in a chain out of Austin, serves up a heapin' helpin' of food in low-key surroundings; this steakhouse manages to feel like a Western watering hole without hitting you over the head with contrived cowboyisms. The meat of the matter is beef, as it should be: USDA Choice, well-aged and cut right, then hickory-smoked and mesquite-grilled. The cooking process results in charred little bits all over the steak, which has a deep, smoky taste and tender-textured flesh with just the right amount of chewiness. While the flavor -- and portions -- are big, the prices are relatively small, with a sixteen-ounce ribeye coming in at $19.99. And unlike at higher-end steakhouses, the meat comes with several complimentary sides to keep it company: The chile-spiked beans and garlicky mashed potatoes are tops, and the house salad is just fine (or spring an extra buck for the splendid retro wedge, ice-cold iceberg topped with an avalanche of blue-cheese dressing and bacon bits). Desserts are Texas-sized, too, so you'll want to save space for the insulin-injection Jack Daniel's pie. Yee-haw!


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