I don’t get Houston’s. Sorry, I have better things to do than to wait 45 minutes and pay $17 for a French dip sandwich. If I hear one more restaurateur describe a new concept as “it’s kinda like Houston’s but…” I will scream…There is some magic fairy dust somewhere in their corporate being. Somebody explain it.
About forty of you told me, quite nicely, where to shove my opinion. So I decided to give it another try. Jump for my love of Houston’s.We waited 45 minutes in the bar for a table. It was loud and crazy busy. We bumped into someone who hangs out there on a regular basis. He surveyed the u-shaped bar and said, “Jeez, this economy had better pick up. This place is really slow.”
The only other places in town that I know of with long waits for a table are Five Sixty and Cheesecake Factory (Perhaps P.F. Chang’s. I haven’t been by there recently.)
First up, a glass of Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio, a wine I have purchased for about $15 a bottle at Costco. At Houston’s a very healthy (6-plus ounces) pour is $10. It’s a great little wine for the summer, a little floral with a hint of pear and paired perfectly with our cougar-watching party.
Yow. Zah. Gals at Houston’s in Preston Center love their hair big and their make-up heavy. And their plastic surgeon. (Playing Spot The Nose Job is always fun.) Many of the cougars were hanging out with their cubs. It was nice to watch mothers and daughters hunt together. I guess this is one of the reasons why Houston’s is considered such a great family restaurant.
Service at the bar was phenomenal. Our waitress brought the wine bottle out for refills instead of touring the room waiting to be flagged down. Once we were seated, the stellar service continued. Our waiter stopped just short of the hi-I’m-Larry-what-about-them-Cowboys approach. Busboys, managers, and servers all appeared and disappeared silently which allowed us to have a conversation. About Houston’s.
I still think the place is expensive—$13 for a cheeseburger and a couple glasses of $10 glasses of wine and you are in for at least $40 if you tip what Houston’s prints on their menu: “Minimum gratuity of 15% is customary and appropriate. For parties of five or more, we add 18% gratuity.”
I thought I’d throw them an unhittable fast ball to the inside corner of the plate by ordering aged prime rib. Rare. There are not many restaurants that can pull off great prime rib. (Anyone been to Lawry’s lately?) Especially restaurants with menus that don’t revolve around steak. But the slab of warm, pink, buttery beef surrounded by a half-inch layer of rich bubbly fat was shockingly sublime. The beef had been jacketed with salt, and each bite of beef finished with a swift, salty kick. I didn’t even touch the accompanying au jus sauce.
Leslie Brenner needs to hit Houston’s if for only the baked potato—the supple insides were already mixed with butter and topped with cheese. I never want to know the calorie count.
When the center-cut filet–two generous cuts of beef tenderloin–arrived overcooked, the waiter whisked it away and returned with the original order in a doggy bag and a fresh, perfectly prepared order for my friend.
Houston’s is now my dog Lulu’s favorite restaurant. And I am covered in fairy dust.