When you think of steak and football, you don’t often think of elegance. However, Laura McIngvale-Brown and her husband, Austinite chef Phillip Brown, have created an experience that brings together some of the best elements of Texas — football, wine, and steak — for a dining option in downtown Austin that stands out.
Vince Young Steakhouse’s alluring decor creates a relaxed and intimate setting made up of orange and brown hues with— of course —pictures of Austin’s favorite quarterback himself. The Vince Young Steakhouse has an aesthetic that makes it feel like more of a comfortable lodge or country club than your run-of-the-mill steakhouse. Along with an exceptional wine and cigar selection to compliment the food, this steakhouse sets itself apart from the competition the moment you walk through the door.
During my visit, I was treated to a marvelous selection prepared by executive chef Phillip Brown himself.
Our first course came courtesy of the coast with a combination of lobster rolls and a crab cake that was absolutely delicious. The butter poached lobster came neatly packed in soft brioche buns with a tarragon aioli and butter lettuce that really lighten up the pallet. The crab cake created a nice balance, providing a subtle kick with its jalepeno aioli. What sets this crab cake apart is the use of jumbo lump crab and little to no fillers like celery and empty starches. A very wise choice. “My cooking style is ‘keep it simple,’” Brown explained in regard to his culinary style. “When you are working with quality ingredients there is no need to complicate things.” With such great dishes for the first round, I couldn’t help but wonder what Brown would awe with next
The Main Course
Following up the appetizers in true form, Vince Young Steakhouse scores big with the main course. The Perfect 10 steak lived up to its name, with heart-melting sides including their sauteed corn and luscious mac and cheese, both topped with the steakhouse’s hearty house-cured bacon. Simply heaven in each bite. The Perfect 10 is made from a beautiful cut of beef from the highly esteemed Akaushi cattle, which is known for being naturally tender and flavorful as well as identifiable by being richly marbled with fat. Brown described the cattle modestly as, “basically the Texas version of Japanese wagyu,” but this particular breed has an interesting history in Texas, having once been protected by off-duty Texas Rangers for more than a decade. Needless to say, their efforts were well worth it if this steak is the result.
With the smooth sounds of Bill Withers whispering through the room, it was time to wind dinner down, but Chef Brown couldn’t help but tantalize our taste buds with his dessert selections. We started with the flourless chocolate torte, which was a nice, rich addition to the experience; the toasted pecans and caramel sauce were a perfect accent to balance this dish.
Next, I decided to lighten things up a bit with the deconstructed cheesecake. This unique rendition of one of my personal favorite desserts is made with a combination of mascarpone, goat and cream cheeses, and is served with a delicious streusel and fruit to give it an amazing tart highlight. This dish definitely scored a touchdown with this food fan.
Finally, we settled into Chef Brown’s take on a classic sundae. Cutting no corners, this cold creation is made with house-made chocolate and cherry ice cream, with amarena cherries rather than the maraschino cherries that one would usually associate with a sundae — same delicious flavor, but less sugar syrup and red dye 40. To add to the surprise of this dish, there were also thick brownie bits hidden within the layers.
With all of the amazing options the Vince Young Steakhouse has to offer, this steakhouse is perfect for any special occasion, romantic evening, or casual get together. And there’s a good chance you can catch Vince hanging out, socializing with patrons.