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Time for a facelift

A new look for Morton's: Tilman Fertitta's upscale steakhouse chain gets a modern makeover

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Morton's, renovations, June 2012, dining room
The new Morton's The Steakhouse is sleek but not too bright, loungy but not clubby, trendy but not kitchy. Courtesy of Landry's Inc.
Morton's, renovations, June 2012, wine room
A glass wine room with chrome trim, which can be viewed from the main dinning room, is one of the significant additions. Courtesy of Landry's Inc.
Morton's, renovations, June 2012, bar
The lighting fixtures have been replaced with bar pendants sparkling with gold beads and close-to-ceiling drum chandeliers with uplights and clear prisms. Courtesy of Landry's Inc.
Morton's, renovations, June 2012, dining room
Morton's, renovations, June 2012, wine room
Morton's, renovations, June 2012, bar

The transformation that comes from a new hairdo, flattering fashion and just the right rouge can fool someone into thinking there was a knife involved. For some there's no need for nips, tucks, lifts, Juvederm or anything that stings, pokes or burns.

Morton's The Steakhouse just had some professional work done, and it looks good, natural, almost making us forget that it used to be a tad drab, masculine and conservative.

 New ownership means a new look. The Galleria-area location is the first to have gone through a redesign.

 Those old cherry-colored wood panels, generic hotel-esque landscape works of art, past-its-prime patterned carpet, tan leather booths and fabric pendant shades had overstayed their '80s welcome; perhaps such stylings were suitable for the original founders, both of whom emerged from a Playboy Club in Montreal.

New ownership means a new look. As the latest addition to food magnate Tilman Fertitta's fleet of eateries, for which Landry's paid $116.6 million in cash, a makeover was inevitable. The Galleria-area location at Westheimer and Post Oak is the first to have gone through a redesign, with the other 74 restaurants to follow. Most of the work was done after hours so that operations weren't disturbed.

It wasn't complete plastic surgery; the restaurant still has its bare bones intact. Now, Morton's is sleek but not too bright, loungy but not clubby, trendy but not kitschy.

From the foyer to the boardroom, there is a potpourri of mature graphic wallpaper in golds, silvers and graphites, vertical stripped fabrics for Parsons dining room chairs and varying textured leather-like coverings for the comfortable booths. The free-flowing doodles in the matching carpet anchors the color scheme. 

The luminary fixtures have been replaced with bar pendants sparkling with gold beads and close-to-ceiling drum chandeliers with uplights and clear prisms. 

 The menu also got a facelift. Notable items are the crab cakes, ahi tuna tower, pepper crusted beef tenderloin carpaccio and braised short ribs.

 The two most significant changes are the addition of a glass wine room with chrome trim, which can be viewed from the main dining room, and a larger opening into the kitchen so foodies can take a peek at the culinary action.

The menu also got a facelift. Notable items are the crab cakes, ahi tuna tower, pepper crusted beef tenderloin carpaccio, braised short ribs, pulled pork sliders, Chilean sea bass filet a la nage, bone-in veal chop, and bacon and onion macaroni and cheese.

Just leave room for the cheesecake. There's always lipo.

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