We definitely made the most of the lower cost of eating out in Houston – you can have a pretty decent meal for less than $50 a person. Some of our favourites:
1. Feast – European
This cosy, unassuming cottage, set back from busy Westheimer Road, is the perfect setting to enjoy a feast of pure comfort food. ’Respect Your Meat’ is their motto, the focus being a nose-to-tail approach, with simple ingredients cooked to bring out as much flavour as possible. You’ll also be glad to know that none of the animal products are sourced from factory farms; in fact, the menu details the source of the meat and meat products in each dish.
Start your meal with a drink from an impressive selection of imported beers to go with house-baked, aged sourdough, before selecting from a daily menu tailored to make use of seasonal produce delivered that day. And definitely leave room for dessert.
Entrees ; We could have been adventurous (haggis, tatties and neeps anyone?) but decided to play it safe with the mains. Gorgeous crispy roasted pork belly (super-crunchy pork crackling and butter-soft meat with just the right amount of fat), was served with a potato cake on a bed of red cabbage and sweet apple. Lamb shank was braised with juniper and shallots, cooked until the meat was falling off the bone, and perfectly complemented by golden roast potatoes and kale with anchovies. The pork was sourced from Felix & Felix Florez Sr., Black Hill Ranch in Cypress, while Niman Ranch supplied the shanks.
Dessert was a double-whammy of good-old English pudding; sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream and spotted dick with vanilla custard.
2. Hugo’s – Mexican
There’s a lot of ‘Mexican’ food in Texas but little in the way of authentic Mexican cuisine, so make sure to tick Hugo’s off your list. The food is fresh and healthy, with a menu mainly consisting of cooked meats (the game meats are delicious), served with salads, refried beans and salsas – no orange cheese in sight! The drinks menu is quite substantial, including a selection of interesting cocktails and, of course, Mexican beers.
Drinks ; ‘Hugo Rita’ (Sauza Silver, Triple Sec, simple syrup and fresh lime juice), Victoria Beer.
Small plate ; Taquitos de Huachinango (small wood grilled snapper tacos with chipotle mayonnaise).
Entree ; Cochito (pork shoulder cooked in guajillo adobo*, served with chayote* salad, refritos* and guacamole).
Entree ; Conejo (braised rabbit and banana leaf with guajillo adobo, served with jicama* salad and camote morado*).
Entree ; Cabrito (roasted goat meat pulled off the bone, served with nopales asados*, guacamole and salsa de habanero*).
Just in case…
- guajillo adobo – a red pepper sauce
- chayote – choko (green, pear-shaped squash)
- refritos – refried beans, i.e. bean mash
- jicama – sweet, crunchy root vegetable that looks like a turnip (texture is similar to water chestnut)
- camote morada – sweet potato (specifically the purple flesh potato but it doesn’t look like they used it in this particular dish)
- nopales asado – grilled cactus (surprisingly very tasty)
- salsa de habanero – super-hot salsa
3. Taste of Texas – Steak!
Finally, we come to the good-old American steakhouse, and Taste of Texas is THE place to go for juicy Angus beef. Once you have selected your entree, you can even venture into the ‘butcher shop’ to choose your steak. I doubt your average diner could tell the difference between two un-cooked pieces of meat, but why pass up the chance to make your dining experience feel even more gourmet?
You can then proceed to the very impressive salad bar but beware of filling up on salad and delicious corn bread before the main course arrives. (Yes, those two giant yellow blocks are blocks of cheese.)
When your steak does arrive, it is cooked exactly as you asked, served with a pot of butter (because fat is flavour :P) and extremely addictive, crispy, grated carrot.
Entree ; New York Stip Sirloin, 16oz of goodness.
Entree ; 6 oz Centre Cut Filet, wrapped in bacon.
After the plates are cleared, don’t be shocked when the waitress brings you a massive plate of massive desserts – it’s just to help you choose, although you may need to go for a walk before eating anything else. Luckily, there’s an impressive collection of historical artifacts and sports memorabilia on display on the walls of the country-style dining room for you to peruse. Awesome.