Two of Houston's top steakhouses have received recognition for their outstanding wine programs. Pappas Bros. Downtown and Mastro's Steakhouse are two of just eight restaurants nationwide to receive Wine Spectator's Grand Award designation for the first time.
To earn this recognition, restaurants must "show uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program," according to the magazine. That means cellars with more than 1,000 bottles, a range of vintages, and a generous selection of large format bottles; the magazine visits each potential candidate to assess its quality.
At Mastro's, the $3.5 million in wine inventory includes more than 30,000 bottles and 3,500 different selections. Wine Spectator cites its deep selection of California Cabernet, aged wines from Bourdeaux, and plentiful selections from Burgundy as having helped it earn the award. The restaurant makes its vintages available to the entire Post Oak hotel property, which means if someone wants to enjoy a magnum of Penfolds Grange 2003 ($1,850) in complete privacy, they can have it delivered via room service.
“We were determined to develop a wine program of the highest caliber, one that made an impact on a global scale,” said Keith Goldston, Mastro's master sommelier, in a statement. “Our commitment to excellence is steadfast. We are continually elevating our wine selections to offer only the very best, most sought-after wineries from around the world. It is an honor to receive this prestigious recognition from Wine Spectator and a privilege to represent Houston at the international level.”
Pappas Bros. Downtown's 3,700 selections are also strong in California Cabernet — the magazine notes "verticals from labels including Bond, Colgin, Heitz, and Lokoya" — as well as depth in Pinot Noir from both France and America. The list also offers six pages of Champagne, including a number of large format bottles. After all, steakhouses are where people go to celebrate happy occasions, and they certainly need something to drink when they do.
Overall, just 100 restaurants nationwide earn the Grand Award. In Texas, the only other recipients are the two other Pappas Bros. locations in Dallas and near the Galleria.
Wine Spectator also recognizes approximately 1,200 restaurants with its Best of Award of Excellence for "lists that display excellent breadth across multiple regions and/or significant vertical depth of top wines, along with superior presentation." In Houston, 11 restaurants, including Backstreet Cafe, Brennan's, El Mason, La Table, and Vic & Anthony's, earned that award.