A Month of Sundays: Brunch at Steiner Ranch

Steiner Ranch Steakhouse
5424 Steiner Ranch Blvd., Austin (map), 512-381-0800, www.steinersteakhouse.com
Brunch hours: 10am-2pm Sun
Regular hours: 4-10pm Mon-Thu; 4-11pm Fri-Sat; 10am-10pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.15.16
Steiner Ranch Steakhouse sits on Steiner Ranch Boulevard in the Steiner Ranch development. That’s some impressive branding. But the Steiners are real people, ranchers from another time. And the steakhouse that bears their name appreciates an old-fashioned Sunday feed. For $19.95 ($9.95 kids 10 and under), it’s a buffet stroll through a dining room where a steak and a glass of cab from the big wine cellar would cost twice that much. The place is packed with families and big guys with a flair for casual dress, listening to live folk guitar on a broad sandstone patio that overlooks Lake Travis, finally full again. Just like you.
What you’re eating
 Roast beef: I’ll walk you through highlights of the buffet, but at Steiner, I’ll start with beef. This hulking, shaggy roast comes from the shoulder, with a bark like the topography of a sun-scorched planet. If you’ve had shoulder clod from Kreuz Market, you’ll recognize the texture: sturdy and connective, with enough juice to keep it from going tough during the roasting process. Ask the carver for “barky and fatty” to catch the best pieces. Or go for turkey from the smokehouse next door for some of the best smoked bird in the city.
 Eggs Benedict: No matter where you go, Benedict wins brunch. It was the first empty pan on the chafing line. Steiner’s buffet version is a straightforward toasted English muffin, a slice of fatty Canadian bacon and a firm poached egg in a mellow Hollandaise dusted with paprika. It could be Benedict from almost anywhere, but you can’t stage a brunch buffet without it.
 Biscuits and gravy: I’d never have expected fluffy suntanned biscuits with bold green chile gravy on a Sunday family buffet, but here they are.
 Rounding out the plate: The buffet line also includes bacon and good sausage, nicely breaded chicken picatta with artichokes and capers, “tenderloin” migas that chew more like skirt steak, skillet potatoes, a muffin tower, tired grilled fish, scorched frittata, an expansive fresh fruit tray and smoked salmon.
What you’re drinking
 Bloody Mary and a mimosa: Form follows function in Steiner’s renditions of these two brunch staples. The $5 Bloody is like tomato juice and a baby bottle of vodka on an airplane, and the mimosa is a pleasant $3 buzz with a view.
Something sweet
 Stuffed French toast: Save your appetite and calories for something better than half-cooked bread with cream in the middle like a Bavarian patty-melt. Same for the pancake mini-Frisbees. They’re filler for the kids, slathered with syrup and berries.
 Bread pudding: The calories you save could be spent on bread pudding with a creamy complexion, like flan with a bakery pedigree. Studded with pecans and ladeled with bourbon caramel syrup, it’s worth a plate of its own.
A Month of Sundays: 31 Austin brunches
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)