La Casa de Caballo Brings Tex-Mex and Steaks to Montrose

Categories: Restaurant News

La Casa de Caballo 042s.jpg
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
A slice of medium-rare rib eye at La Casa de Caballo.
UPDATE: After many requests, I've uploaded a full copy of La Casa de Caballo's menu -- with prices.

I admit: I was wary when I heard the news that a Mexican steakhouse would be moving into the old La Strada location in Montrose. The two-story building at Westheimer and Taft has housed a succession of failures over the past five years: La Strada itself, which closed in 2009 after 22 years hosting the city's bawdiest brunches, followed by Caffe Bello and Don Julio. Both of the latter were ventures from well-established restaurateurs, and if they couldn't make it in Montrose...who could?

The answer may be Carlos Abedrop, the owner of La Casa de Caballo. It's the second location of his popular steakhouse -- and the first in the United States. The original La Casa de Caballo in Saltillo, Mexico, operates out of a converted ranch house and serves glistening hunks of steak on wooden plates nearly the size of tables.

Abedrop was disappointed to learn that the City of Houston's health department wouldn't allow wooden plates, but you can see a sort homage to the original steakhouse's serving ware in the butcher block-style tables throughout the attractive dining room. Although nothing has been changed structurally inside the new La Casa de Caballo, it's been outfitted in reds and blacks that evoke a colonial Spanish feel gone slightly modern. Glass tiles mimicking licks of flames work their way up the stunning central staircase, where Abedrop eventually plans to open a lounge on the second floor.

For now, though, it's the ground floor of La Casa de Caballo that's open for business as of this past Monday -- and business here is all about steaks. Almost.

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It's very clear from the way that Abedrop talks about steaks that he's a man in love with meat. His steaks are simply seasoned with only salt and pepper, an ascetic sort of treatment a la Aaron Franklin at his namesake Austin barbecue joint. The aggressive char and fatty endcaps on the rib eye I ate the other night called to mind the same smoke-scented allure of a good brisket, save one important point: The rib eye was cooked to a perfect medium-rare.

As with your standard American steakhouse, the rib eye came with an assortment of vegetables served family-style. These vegetables, however, carried the same smoky flavor of the rib eye; both are cooked on the same wood-fired grill. And in lieu of any creamed spinach or potatoes, the steaks at La Casa de Caballo come with lard-laced refried beans -- the ultimate Tex-Mex accompaniment.

"I ate three bowls of those the other night," I heard the man to my left lament. As with the beans at El Real Tex-Mex Cafe just down the road, the porky musk is unmistakable and you will either crave or loathe the beans for that very reason. I stand firmly in the "crave" camp, although lard-loathers have been warned.

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Other pleasant Tex-Mex touches are found throughout the menu in clever little twists. A wedge salad, for example, is presented with the standard tomatoes and blue cheese scattered on wedges of iceberg lettuce. The bacon, however, is a house-smoked jalapeño bacon and the peppery dressing is more like the creamy, avocado-based green sauce at Ninfa's than blue cheese or Ranch.

You can order enchiladas and queso flameado here as easily as you can order a filet mignon or lamb chops, although all entrees receive equal treatment. The flameado is thick with dark orange chorizo, served alongside scorchingly hot corn tortillas. Both the chorizo and tortillas are made in-house.

Location Info

La Casa del Caballo

302 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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19 comments
Chinon99
Chinon99

I dined and was very impressed. The carpaccio and wedge salad were excellent starters and the steaks were perfectly cooked. The ribeye was great but the angus beef shoulder was even better. Great wine list and very reasonably priced for Old World and Cali wines. 

ferrigan
ferrigan

Sounds good, really good, but it's going to take more juice than decent steaks, smoky vegetables, lardy beans and good desserts to move the 'empty' needle from this accursed location. The successful Saltillo location might help some, but seriously, that's a little like calling attention to a heady Rensselaer, Indiana blockbuster. I hope it flies and will give it a try, but I'll do so knowing that I can also find a great steak next door at Da Marco, L'Olivier, Feast, Artisans, Jeannine's, Sorrento, and Damian's. Not to mention the various steak nights, and nearby beefy joints like Nelore and Churrascos. My advice: more differentiation.

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

I'm going to pile on with the commenters that asked about prices. I want to know. As a critic, you are advising potential customers as to the value of a product. Price matters. It's all part of making an informed decision.

vonroach
vonroach

Am I the only one who thinks this reads like a press release?

I always appreciate KS's insights (sometimes biting) and honest food reviews. I hope she goes back in a month (a la Lucille's) for a second look. 

I do hope it is this good, it is walking distance from the house.

erichenao
erichenao topcommenter

Now that I'm logged in and on the right story… Can we get a range on prices? Thanks!

tinyhands
tinyhands

Are prices not mentioned because they're ridiculous? The website is STILL under construction, not a good sign if he wants to be taken seriously.

Daphne
Daphne

Roger's a good guy who grew up in the business, and I think a Mexican steakhouse stands a far better chance than a Tex-Mex or copy-cat Italian joint. I'm willing to try it.

Kyle Jack
Kyle Jack

Nelore, a steakhouse in Montrose. ;)

FRL713
FRL713

Tango & Malbec and Churrasco's have been able to pull off the latin steakhouse theme.  This place looks cool in a similar way, I hope it has the same staying power.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

How do you say it in English?  Al dente.  He.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@ferrigan I'm not a believer in this supposed curse. Strada was successful for a long time and eventually failed from mismanagement. Cafe Bello was arrogant ("Best cocktails on Westheimer!"). Don Julio sucked.

This concept looks pretty good.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@Bruce_Are I've dropped in a link to the full menu (with prices) above. Hope this helps!  :)

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@vonroach Hey, it could very well end up breaking my heart like Lucille's did. But for now, I was shocked by how much I liked the place. I hope it continues on this track. Sorry it seemed press release-y. I hate to hear that.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@erichenaoI've dropped in a link to the full menu (with prices) above. Hope this helps!  :)

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@tinyhandsI've dropped in a link to the full menu (with prices) above. Hope this helps!  :)

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@FRL713 Agreed. I enjoy both places, and think that La Casa de Caballo has a chance to succeed in the same vein -- especially since it offers Tex-Mex dishes, too.

vonHauptstadt
vonHauptstadt

@Kylejack @ferrigan  mmm, I wouldn't say La Strada was 'successful for a long time'. They had a great crowd 20% of the week, Sunday to be precise. That might have been the reason that business wasn't sustainable and a mysterious fire ravaged the place once before. But to you point about curses, yeah, I'd rather not go crazy with that. More like far more competition has made it tougher.

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