light my fire
Sizzling new live-fire steakhouse serving best beef from around the globe opens on Allen Parkway
One of this year’s most eagerly anticipated new restaurants will make its debut this week. Andiron opens for dinner this Wednesday, April 19.
Located next to Clarkwood in the historic Star Engraving Company building at 3201 Allen Pkwy, Andiron is a luxurious, live fire steakhouse from Sambrooks Management Company, the local restaurant group behind two popular Montrose restaurants — Texas barbecue joint The Pit Room and Candente, a Tex-Mex restaurant known for its grilled meats.
Executive chef Louis Maldonado leads the kitchen. A contestant on Top ChefNew Orleans who People magazine named the Sexiest Chef Alive in 2018, Maldonado earned one Michelin star in 2008 as the executive chef at Cortez restaurant in San Francisco. He’s joined in the kitchen by chef de cuisine Mario Da Silva and pastry chef Katie O’Hara. Advanced sommelier Renato Bringas and maître d’ Jose Montufar oversee the dining room.
Executive chef Louis Maldonado.Photo by Jenn Duncan
In an interview for CultureMap’s What’s Eric Eating podcast, Maldonado discussed his approach to steakhouse classics like the wedge salad and how he thinks Andiron can put a spin on them to set itself apart from other steakhouses.
“There are those classics. What’s going to be different between us and everybody else? Product is Number One. Then again, it’s how can we tweak and modify it to get the most flavor out of everything,” he said. “It’s one thing to do a wedge or a Cobb and change the ingredient. It’s another thing to dig into the original idea and really try to pull the most blue cheese flavor out of a wedge, look at different pieces of pork belly and figure out what’s the best way to eat it. With the classics, it’s how do we stick to tradition but also, when you eat it, it’s, like, there’s nothing better than this.”
Andiron takes its use of live fire seriously. It isn’t just charring steaks on a grill. Seafood can be steamed over fire, vegetables might be grilled or roasted, and other proteins might be lightly smoked.
Andiron further distinguishes itself from other steakhouses in its use of ingredients, including USDA Prime and wagyu beef sourced from Australia, and Japan. Instead of offering different sized cuts of the same steak, Andiron’s permanent menu only has one filet, one ribeye, and one strip. That allows it to offer additional cuts in the former of picanha, the sirloin that’s a favorite of Brazilian steakhouses, and beef rib au poivre.
In addition to single person-sized entrees, diners will also find large format options that include whole roasted turbot, two pound lobster, and a 34-ounce, bone-in ribeye that’s dry aged for 28 days. Sides include pommes Anna, creamed spinach, wood-roasted maitake mushrooms, and a caramelized onion tart.
Andiron's Pommes Anna.Photo by Jenn Duncan
Similar to 1751 Sea & Bar, Sambrooks’ Heights-area seafood restaurant that closed in March, meals at Andiron begin with a series of small plates and shareable items. That include raw items such as oysters and beef tartare, salads that include a wedge and coal-roasted beets, and a section labeled “tastings” that includes grilled Dungeness crab (that restaurant’s spin on a crab cake), caviar-topped gougere, and clams casino. The restaurant’s robata grill contributes grilled items such as wagyu beef, chicken wings, foie gras, and an artichoke.
In addition to the permanent menu, Andiron presents diners with daily specials on a “reserve” menu. At opening, they include those day’s oysters, two ounce portions of wagyu beef, and more premium tasting items such as a wagyu sando, eclairs filled with foie gras mousse, and roasted blue foot mushrooms. The reserve menu also offers a rotating selection of premium beef entrees such as a porterhouse for two (or more) and an American wagyu ribeye cap.
As with any steakhouse, beverage options include a selection of craft cocktails and an extensive wine list that draws broadly from around the world. The list has the most depth in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain, and California.
Select cocktails are served with branded ice.Photo by Jenn Duncan
Design firm AvroKO took inspiration from fire — appropriate for a restaurant named for the metal supports in a fireplace — as well as the historic, Mission Revival building. Elements include a custom, 28-foot chandelier over the bar area, a ceiling with inlaid panels, marble and wood block tables, and an open kitchen. The restaurant seats 110 inside and will add a 70-seat patio in the weeks to come.
The bar area features a 28-foot chandelier.Photo by Julie Soefer
“Although we are only now opening to the public, we have been in the kitchen since last December which has allowed Chef Louis and his team a lot of time to perfect an amazing menu,” Sambrooks Management founder Michael Sambrooks said in a statement. “We are very excited to open the doors and let everyone in to see the stunning room and experience our world class offerings.”
Andiron’s bar opens daily at 4 pm with dinner service beginning at 5 pm. Reservations are available via Resy.