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–Leslie Brenner,
Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
Houston
Food
Feel
Price
7.9
8.5
$90
Steakhouse
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Sun–Mon 5:00pm–9:00pm
Tue–Thu 11:00am–2:00pm
Tue–Thu 5:00pm–9:00pm
Fri 11:00am–2:00pm
Fri 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sat 5:00pm–10:00pm

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

Website

River Oaks
1 Birdsall St.
Houston, TX
(713) 868-4444
Hours
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–9:30pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–10:30pm
Sun 11:00am–9:00pm

Memorial
10911 Katy Fwy.
Houston, TX
(713) 465-2901
Brenner’s
A reliably opulent and old-guard steakhouse with some surprise touches

Although Landry’s took over Brenner’s from the family in ’02, it is every bit the genteel aristocrat it always was—a fact that’s avouched by comically pompous service (how coarse would you like your tableside pepper grind?) and over-the-top décor. In the older Memorial location, choose a windowside table for the best view of a melodramatic garden that clashes superbly with the stuffy Victorian mirrors, lamps, glassware, and chests of the interior. The River Oaks location’s soaring, two-floor atrium has a surreally beautiful flow and a pandering, blue-lit rooftop lounge with a luxuriant view.

Brenner’s has always made a mean steak, although we wish it would bring bone-in cuts back on the regular menu. They come medium-rare as ordered, with an appropriate char, and are gloriously simple in their salt-and-pepper coats. But the details aren’t up to supporting-role status, beginning with embarrassingly supermarket-ish bread and continuing with a wedge salad whose “signature Roquefort” doesn’t really come together well. Creamed spinach is gummy and clammy, with a taste that strongly evokes Knorr’s onion soup packets, and the highly self-touted apple strudel is just okay.

Kudos to a wine list that goes beyond the usual steakhouse conceits with some truly respectable domestic producers and a handful of far-flung gems, all within a very hospitable price range. It’s those touches—and the great steak—that best illustrate Brenner’s enduring class.

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