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The Mishima Reserve wagyu tomahawk is an off-menu special worth asking for.

Image: Alice Levitt

The steaks broil at 1500 degrees. The high-powered oven isn't uncommon in steakhouses, says Steak 48 executive chef Jeff Taylor, "but ours is the mack daddy." From the broiler, the crispy, crusty beef comes to the table still sizzling on a 500-degree plate. Sounds like the meat specialist, that will open next Tuesday, June 14 at River Oaks District is kinda serious about steak. 

Don't believe us? Just check out corporate chef (the man behind the menu at original Phoenix locations Steak 44) Marc Lupino's surf-and-turf tattoos. 

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Chef Marc Lupino will travel between the Phoenix and Houston locations for support, but the menu belongs to chef Taylor.

Image: Alice Levitt 

Taylor hopes to begin serving Texas-raised steaks soon, but until then, there's something else to look forward to: Beef from Seattle's Mishima Reserve. Lupino says it took him four months just to get the company to return his calls.

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Whole King crab cluster with drawn butter.

Image: Alice Levitt

Now, whenever possible, Steak 44 and now Steak 48, serve the beef that uniformly falls in the 8-12 marbling range, the highest possible. Steaks are cut from primals (as opposed to whole animals) in-house, then wet-aged for 28 days before serving. Cuts include strips and ribeyes (including that tomahawk above), but filet appears in the most iterations, in a range of sizes, with and without bones and wagyu and not.

Diners not in the mood for steak could easily stick to seafood: Crispy shrimp bathed in garlic aioli with Thai chiles has been especially popular in Arizona. A raw bar features a cocktail of outsized shrimp or Maine lobster, but also more cheffed-up dishes such as a crab-and-avocado stack and Hawaiian-style poke. Sustainable fish entrées include the whole crab at right, served with a lemon and drawn butter.

Non-seafood starters include deep-fried deviled eggs, sous-vide pork belly that's fried and placed over spinach before serving and a "PB&J" that pairs foie gras with fig jam with Bourbon. Pork, veal, lamb and chicken all star in their own entrées and a combination of meats can be found in perhaps the world's only meatloaf to use both ribeye and filet in the mix.

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Brioche chocolate chip bread pudding.

There are nearly 20 different sides, that go way beyond the steakhouse chant of "baked, mashed or fried?" Those include crab-and-rock-shrimp mac-and-cheese (or one without shellfish), asparagus fries in vanilla-scented tempura and corn crème brûlée.

Sound kind of sweet? Just wait for dessert. The chocolate chip bread pudding isn't the only such dessert on the menu—there's also a red velvet version. Chocolate is central, with s'mores parfaits, a chocolate tart, cookies-and-cream popcorn sundae and ganache enrobed cake among the options. And that beignet tree we told you about before? It's available off-menu.

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Just one of many petite dining rooms.

Image: Alice Levitt

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Kitchen-side seating

Image: Alice Levitt

Owners Jeffrey and Michael Mastro are clearly planning on heavy traffic: The two-story restaurant is a total of 13,700 square feet. But it doesn't feel cavernous, thanks to the design comprising many small nooks, each characterized by a defining artwork.

Outdoor seating will be completed soon, too, but the best seats in the house are doubtless the private tables separated from the kitchen only by a pane of glass. As Oliver Badgio, senior vice president of parent company Restaurant 44 Concepts told us in December, "It's a very honest kitchen." 

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