Laurann Claridge | Photos by Vallone's. Photo by Julie Soefer.
- February 11, 2014
High atop his culinary Matterhorn with his namesake Tony’s, restaurateur Tony Vallone has now glamorously reimagined the long-ago shuttered Vallone’s Steakhouse, and this time it’s simply dubbed Vallone’s. Situated at Gateway Memorial City on Gessner at I-10, Vallone has taken on partners: chef Grant Gordon and manager Scott Sulma, both of whom do double duty at Tony’s and Vallone’s. Chuck Criswell is the personable GM who roams the 11,000-square-foot space designed by architect Shafik Rifaat, which feels like a major hotel restaurant (the Westin is just next door, natch) with its long glass-fronted fireplace center stage, flanked by two clever copper-pot-and-cutlery art commissions, in a room where a two-story glass wine display reminds us of the famed one at Aureole Las Vegas — minus the leaping wine angels. The menu focuses on steaks, fish, grilled meats, chops and pastas. We started with mini Maine lobster rolls ($27) served with a single house-made potato chip. Leafy green options include steakhouse staples such as the wedge ($10) and an of-the-moment green–kale salad with sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, gruyère and retro spicy 1000 Island dressing ($9). If you’ve come craving steak, let them upsell you the 55-day dry-aged varieties — well worth the $7 difference. We split the beautifully seasoned 16-ounce New York strip ($54), with hubby proclaiming the perfectly cooked medium-rare steak was the best he’s had in a long time. Sauces are $3 extra, and while I find the idea of gilding this 55-day dry-aged lily “Oscar style” with lump crabmeat, asparagus and béarnaise ($15) too rich and ruinous for a cut as special as this, a dab of spicy béarnaise ($3) is a great match. Desserts include retro standards at Tony’s (baked Alaska and praline cheesecake), but your best bet is the comforting banana pudding ($9) with Nilla wafers sandwiched amid rich vanilla pudding and caramelized bananas. Crave worthy. 947 Gessner, 713.395.6100, valloneshouston.com.