|1205 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703
We have many popular steak restaurants in Austin that we’ve discussed on this site. But the majority of these places are national or regional chains. Very few are locally owned and operated: which brings us to the very pleasant exception of Austin Land and Cattle at 1205 N. Lamar.
Austin Land and Cattle, not to be confused with Texas Land and Cattle (a chain) is the work of Teresa and Christian Mertens and Scotty Mescal. It’s in a building on N. Lamar that has long housed restaurants like Zorba’s and The Courtyard. While there may be a history here, the good taste, sophistication, and quality of Austin Land and Cattle simply overwhelms whatever memories of prior occupants may linger.
Scotty recommended the Buffalo Lamb Chops for an appetizer on our last visit. What an excellent choice. The deep-fried chops were tender and had that immediate first-bite zing that characterizes good lamb. The hot sauce with jalapeno bleu cheese was an excellent foil to the robust lamb. I also really liked the New Mexican Green Chiles. These are roasted and stuffed with goat cheese creating a perfect blend of tastes and textures. Austin Land and Cattle will surprise you and I like that. So not only do they roll out a nearly perfect Escargot in garlic butter and Madeira wine which would have been more than enough for me, but they’ve also added a Chicken Fried Escargot. (I’m serious!) The snails are dusted in flour, deep fried, and served with a chipotle mayo. On first blush, I wasn’t sure, but after tasting a few, while they may not replace the classic escargot for me, they were interesting and tasty. And rest assured Bubba would love them. And you have to try one of the very best soups in the city: the Sweet Potato Clam Chowder. Again, the envelope is pushed and the result is a not overly sweet but really inviting chowder. The sweet potato does not overwhelm; in fact it only subtly interacts, and I just flat out like it.
You may have been wondering when we were going to get to the cattle part of Austin Land and Cattle? Well we’ve saved the best for last. The 16 oz Bone-in Ribeye was a lovely cut of meat: the marbling was what you’d expect and the beautiful taste was consistent down to the last bite. Likewise for the 28oz. Porterhouse. You need to have an appetite for this one and I did. Medium rare plus with a side of béarnaise sauce. Another very tender and substantial cut of meat: and cooked really well.
The domain of the ocean is well-covered at Austin Land and Cattle as well. I highly recommend the Jumbo Shrimp. You can get them Shiner Bock battered, charbroiled, or in the classic scampi style. Can’t decide? Well then try all three. The shrimp are huge and the taste is just dead-on. And for veggie lovers, the Giant Portabello Mushroom Steak will not disappoint. This has gorgeous texture and that rich taste common to portabellos and the grilled poblano peppers, onions and bell peppers round out the dish nicely.
Austin Land and Cattle is a restaurant where their specialty is making YOU feel special. I like the mood and feel of this place and I like knowing who the owner is: should I on that rare occasion need to address an issue.