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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Sun–Thu 10:45am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 10:45am–11:00pm

Features Date-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

2408 W. Anderson Ln.
Austin, TX
(512) 451-7333
The restaurant formerly known as Houston’s—but what‘s in a name?

His franchise agreement having run its course, the owner of Austin’s Houston’s has prudently decided to change the name to something less confusing: his own. Houston’s junkies, take ease—it’s kept virtually the same look, menu, and recipes that made it such a legendary success in all of its big cities. That success owes largely—but by no means solely—to a delicious burger. It comes in several configurations, but all taste of a good smokehouse grill. Get it medium-rare, and don’t miss the exemplary thin fries.

We love to start with cedar-smoked salmon, whose followers are legion. It’s flaky and topped with a dollop of dill-y crème fraîche. Filet mignon is unusually flavorful, although we prefer the fattier ribeye. Here it’s dolled up annoyingly as “Hawaiian,” with a sweetish marinade. Still, this is top-steakhouse quality in a less pretentious atmosphere, at a price that undersells the big names. The wine list has a few pleasant surprises at much lower markups than usual.

The décor is almost Art-Deco-Navajo; the shiny red banquettes are comfy, but you’ll have to negotiate some ghastly downward lighting. But the waitstaff are disturbingly attentive; it’s a slightly better group spot than a date one. Bartlett’s can get crowded on the weekends, but sidle up to the bar and enjoy a stuffed-olive martini while you wait to be won over.

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