Eater Austin recently listed Bartlett’s as one of the most underrated restaurants in town, and I would agree. Bartlett’s doesn’t appear on the hipster lists of where to go with celebrity chefs or scenes to be seen. But Bartlett’s has a regal minimalism that oozes sophistication and a menu that does not disappoint.
Bartlett’s used to be Houston’s, and Tim Bartlett, from Anson, Texas, was part of the opening team for the first Houston’s in (ahem) Houston in 1977. Bartlett came to Austin in 1990 and took ownership of Austin’s Houston’s on Anderson Lane, changing the name in 2010 to his own. Bartlett passed away in 2013, so his namesake is now co-owned by Alan Thomas (bartender and psychologist [no, really!]) and Arik Skot Williams (chef and wine director). Williams attended Austin’s Le Cordon Bleu and lives on a farm where he and his family grow herbs for the restaurant and will soon produce wine.
Bartlett’s uses top quality meats, seafood, vegetables, and cheeses; grinds fresh chuck for burgers; and make their own soups, buttermilk ciabatta, mustard, and pickle relish. Wine Spectator has also recognized them with an Award of Excellence with a special commendation for their affordable wine list. In other words, you don’t have to live on Greenlawn to drink here. Bartlett’s is a bit old skool in that they ask men to wear shirts with sleeves and women not to wear workout attire. But if you are riffraff like the Bride and me (we live on Daugherty), they will still seat you in the bar area so the patrons from Greenlawn won’t have to see you.
Bartlett’s is, at its heart, a steakhouse with Kansas City Strip, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, and 100-hour Marinated Rib-Eye. That 100-hour hunk o’ beef has gotten the attention of the local culinary press and requires a call ahead and reservation. We’re not big beef eaters, but Bartlett’s also has fish, chicken, and pork, as well as a gluten-free menu. And they have a rather fantastic housemade veggie burger conjured with brown rice, cremini mushrooms, sweet soy, Jack cheese, and avocado basil slather. Interestingly, this burger bleeds more than the real moo.
I’ve had a mooburger with cheese, and it’s pretty darn good, especially paired with Bartlett’s shoestring fries. I’ve also enjoyed their fish sandwiches, such as the grilled salmon (fish changes depending on what’s in the catch). And the housemade key lime pie is really, really good. If you doll up, you can sit in the main restaurant, but the bar area’s service is just as good.
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.