Lobster Mashed Potatoes. Judging by the throngs of patrons at the new Mastro’s Steakhouse, boom town is back, baby.
Only 6 o’clock on a mundane Tuesday evening and the bar is packed. Packed with patrons slapping down 20 bucks for stiff, 5-ounce, club-style cocktails. Packed with those who drive Lambos, Rolls and Bentleys and a few players who peel out in their turquoise Porsches, then loudly gun it on the feeder road. The trophy cars sit all aglow near the entrance, where a small army of valets graciously greet arriving guests while keeping eagle eyes on these high ticket rides.
The grand entrance, the fancy-dancy cars, the abundance of valets – all set the theme of fabulous, of obvious, luxurious luxury that awaits inside. Everything first-rate, everything opulent, over the top and all glorious.
The dark bar has a bright, ice blue water feature – a tumbling waterfall wall. At the base, ever so slightly forward of the waterfall, and incredulously amazing, a fireplace. Hot and cold. Wet and dry. When money is no object anything is possible.
Here, money is aplenty.
The Houston Mastro’s Steakhouse has been designed to be the flagship location for this small, national group of steakhouses now owned by the Landry’s corporation, whose CEO is a household name, Rockets owner and “Billionaire Buyer” TILMAN FERTITTA. Mastro’s is the sparkling diamond in The Post Oak, a multi-function complex located just off the 610 Loop. Multi-function complex? Think luxury hotel, convention center, two-story Rolls Royce showroom, a Willie G’s, a first-rate spa and the masterful Mastro’s.
And the food? Perfectly suited to the fantastical theme. Big, big steaks. The biggest being a 48-ounce, double-cut Porterhouse. I order the Center Cut 6-ounce Petite Filet. Tender, delightfully and perfectly medium rare with a seared and slightly crunchy exterior. And simply presented on an oversized plate which left plenty of room for the roasted Brussels sprouts and the deliriously thick and perfectly decadent fried onion rings.
This is a steakhouse for beef aficionados – the American sourced steaks are USDA Prime, wet aged for 28 days and broiled at 1,500 degrees, providing a serious sear locking in the moisture. Under the watchful eye of CHEF MICHAEL COLBERT (formerly chef at Morton’s steakhouse) and his well-trained brigade, steaks are cooked to perfection – at such heat. perfection is a matter of seconds. To keep the thrill alive, serving plates are heated to 400 degrees. (Your waiter will be sure to warn you.) Also on the menu: A5 Waygu Japanese New York strips, Australian Wagyu beef Tomahawk massive 32- or 40-ounce steaks and Aspen Ridge certified humane, natural prime beef, hormone-free, raised without antibiotics. And source-verified.
Before the steak, consider the Spanish Octopus Carpaccio – pretty petals of paper thin octopus with an aggressive cilantro sauce spiraled on top. Or the Spicy Sautéed Colossal Shrimp with its hints of lime butter, garlic and Cholula Hot Sauce. Menu items are merely listed; the attentive, informative staff adds all the descriptions.
The menu hits the current culinary trend high notes, offering items like Maple Glazed Bacon Steak for appetizer, a masterful sushi selection (custom curated for the Mastro organization by CHEF ANGEL CARBAJAL of the famed Nick-San, of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico) and family-style sides, such as the roasted Brussels sprouts and the whopping portion of mashed potatoes seasoned with Old Bay spice mix and a generous topping of sautéed lobster. Wasabi, the trendy Cholula hot sauce and horseradish get whipped into the salad dressing for the Spicy Mambo Salad.
In this house of wondrous excess and show (three-foot seafood towers traverse the dining room, spot lit by waiters’ flashlights and trailing dry ice smoke), the desserts sampled were downhome and addictively delicious. A moist yellow cake drizzled with butter, glazed with a quick dip into a sugar bowl and served with a mound of rich, seductive 14 percent butter fat ice cream. And a chocolate pudding cake when mixed with a little cream tastes just like a warm bowl of, well, homemade chocolate pudding. Delicious.
As serious as Mastro’s dedication to quality steaks, so goes the wine program. Developed by Master Sommelier Keith Goldston, the cellar has a 35,000 bottle capacity, a staggering 85 wines are offered by the glass and a stunning 3,200 wines make up the list. The restaurant employs six sommeliers, all working towards certification (four on the floor and two behind the scenes managing the cellar). Prices? The range per bottle is wide, from $28 to $85,000 (an 1825 Chateau Gruaud-Larose). Mastro’s is an event, a show (live music in the bar area every night), a steakhouse with great seafood (had a terrific, Texas-sourced red snapper fillet), a mind-altering wine list and simple, scrumptious desserts.
Bring a big wallet.
1650 West Loop S. | Houston, TX 77027
713.993.2500 | www.mastrosrestaurants.com