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El Caballo is in

New high-end Mexican steakhouse looks to change the way Houston eats with communal touch

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Casa del Caballo. exterior
Imported from northern Mexico, La Casa del Caballo offers a new twist for Houston meat-lovers Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Casa del Caballo, owner, Carlos Abedrop
Carlos Abedrop opened the original Caballo inside a small ranch house in Saltillo . . . He hope to recreate a similarly cozy atmosphere here in Texas. Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Casa del Caballo, interior1
Caballo is only serving dinner at the moment, but will introduce a special lunch and brunch menu in mid-March. Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Casa del Caballo, Bar
Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Casa del Caballo, painting
Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Casa del Caballo, Entrance
Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Casa del Caballo. exterior
Casa del Caballo, owner, Carlos Abedrop
Casa del Caballo, interior1
Casa del Caballo, Bar
Casa del Caballo, painting
Casa del Caballo, Entrance

The Houston carnivore scene got a unique new player this week with the arrival of La Casa del Caballo, a popular northeastern Mexican steakhouse that has opened its first United States location and second branch ever in the old La Strada space (and short-lived Don Julio's home) on lower Westheimer.

"It's been a fun challenge adapting the restaurant for the U.S.," laughs owner Carlos Abedrop. "I mean, we don't even have a printed menu at our location in Mexico."

"I used to cook these big meals for our friends . . . just steaks, drinks and maybe  some appetizers. I've always done the same thing at Caballo."

Known for his elaborate dinners and passion for cooking meaty regional dishes, friends and family encouraged the former businessman to launch a steakhouse in his hometown of Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila and a major factory center for the automobile industry. Sporting the nickname "El Caballo" (the horse) since childhood, Abedrop says he had a name for the restaurant almost instantly.

"I used to cook these big meals for our friends . . . just steaks, drinks and maybe some appetizers," he explains. "I've always done the same thing at Caballo and tried to create that same atmosphere."

Abedrop succumbed to pressure from American business consultants to print an actual menu this time around. He even added salads, fish and chicken — although he insisted on maintaining his traditional north Mexican flavors and techniques.

"We prepare and present things the way people did decades and decades ago," he says, adding that all meat is cooked on a wood-burning grill. Rest assured, no gas flames will ever touch that U.S.D.A. prime top sirloin.

"In Mexico, food is more communal than it is here," Abedrop says. "Meals are about the group experience, about people enjoying the best food possible all together. That's what we hope to bring to Houston."

While La Casa del Caballo is serving only dinner at the moment, lunch and Sunday brunch — which Abedrop promises will introduce some new dishes into the neighborhood — are expected to start in mid-March.

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