Pappas Bros. steakhouse finds itself basking in some national attention.
Peter Luger Steakhouse has long been regarded as a holy temple of beef. The Brooklyn restaurant institution — complete with its own mammoth 2,000-square-foot meat box — draws more fanboys than Larry David’s Broadway play, and it carries something of a special-occasion dining aura. In my own New York days, I had a cadre of sportswriter friends who’d religiously fatten up their expense accounts with end-of-the-month blowout dinners at Peter Luger. (This was back when newspaper reporters still had expense accounts.)
No one in Texas needs to make a pilgrimage to Peter Luger to plunk down $99.95 for a porterhouse for two to pay proper respect to great beef, however. A Houston steakhouse has been deemed just as worthy as the storied Brooklyn hype master (and there are plenty of New Yorkers who will tell you Peter Luger is overhyped).
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse — which started in Houston and includes a restaurant in Dallas — does not carry Peter Luger’s national Q rating. But its meat measures up. The Food Network’s buzzy new TV series Top 5 Restaurants named Pappas Bros. one of the five best steakhouses in America in a recent episode.
Pappas’ Houston executive chef, Michael Velardi, received particular praise. Velardi’s perfectly minimalist preparation — he employs only salt, pepper and butter — of Pappas’ 32-ounce marbled New York strip for two is singled out on the show. “The quality of the beef blew away the competition in this steak-loving state,” Food Network personality Sunny Anderson said. That was enough to earn Pappas Bros. No. 3 Steak in America honors. Peter Luger still took the No. 1 spot, but the New York icon is hardly in a stratosphere all of its own: It has some Texas company.