photo credit: J. Carver's

J. Carver's image

J. Carver's


Downtown Austin

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J. Carver’s is anything but modest. Its opulence and decadence are displayed through a series of steakhouse plates ushered out over white tablecloths, paired with wine glasses big enough to moonlight as cereal bowls. At times, this Downtown steakhouse feels incredibly classic. But then you might find yourself staring at a 50-day dry-aged tomahawk with a side of wok-fried rice with blue crab, and the experience feels anything but ordinary. This is old-school-cool with just enough modern twists to still feel timeless.

If the menu looks familiar at first, that’s because this is from the same team behind Red Ash— another Downtown steakhouse and Italian restaurant that we like very much—and there’s a lot of overlap. J. Carver’s is a bit sleeker and less Italian-focused than Red Ash though, and it doesn’t require a five-month wait to get into. It’s dark and intimate inside—except for a giant, backlit wall of wines—and it’s one of the few places in town where a blazer or little black dress doesn’t just feel appropriate but almost necessary.

J. Carver's image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Most of the steaks here are meant to be shared and generally arrive pre-sliced and priced by the ounce. They’re cooked on a wood-burning grill and arrive with the distinctly charred crust to prove it. They also undergo an aging process of up to 50 days, adding a bit of funk to the meat and an incredible texture that you can appreciate with just a few bites (hence, the sharing). 

But despite being a steakhouse, steaks are only part of the experience. Start with an order of smoked hamachi crudo and a few oysters, then work your way through a platter of wood-roasted Akaushi bone marrow with grilled Italian bread, and maybe a little gem Caesar salad to get a few vegetables into the mix. Then, finish with a steak or two for the table. Instead of choosing from a pretty standard set of sides, you get to have a little fun with things like “baked potato” gnocchi and blue crab fried rice that just might end up stealing the spotlight from the entrees. When you’re finished eating, get ready to ask for a box to take the rest home—the portions are large and you won’t want to leave anything behind. 

Head to J. Carver’s when you want to celebrate a promotion or anniversary over a meal that actually feels celebratory. Or come here when you can’t get a reservation for Red Ash—the steaks are almost indistinguishable between the two spots. Just be ready to look back and sigh over your credit card bill the next morning.

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