Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bradley's Fine Diner (BFD) introduces Blue Plate Specials




Blue Plate Specials are there while they're there and gone when they're gone:


Since BFD opened, it has been a favorite of mine. For specific reasons, please see the link at the end of these brief comments for a full review of the restaurant and its regular menu items.

We had lunch there today and were able to try three different Blue Plate Specials from the past few of days. In my opinion, all three were hits and they made me wonder what specials were to come in the days to come (as what other restaurants might call "Today's Special"). There is usually only one Blue Plate Special special per day

I saw a press release a couple of weeks ago sent out on behalf of the architect of the menu (Chef Bryan Ogden) and the daily choice of specials based upon what's fresh... what's good... and what's interesting on a given day.  The original kick-off of these specials included a meat loaf sandwich: a sliced prime beef sandwich; and southern fried chicken in several days.


Today's specials started off with a creamy tender Beef Short Rib Sandwich. After slow-braising for 12 hours, the beef was shredded (a la pulled pork shredding) and topped with sauteed onions and red bell peppers. I felt that as a standalone component, I would have liked to have seen a little more seasoning on the beef... however, the total package with the beef and the condiments was a winner. The outstanding memory was the tenderness of the rib meat, yet its ability to still deliver a nice "mouth feel". The grilled house-baked sour dough bread wrapped it up quite nicely.



Next, we had what might be called (but wasn't) a Texas-style Philly Cheese Steak. Grilled-medium USDA Prime inside skirt steaks (marinated perfectly) was served with sauteed onions, bell peppers, aged white cheddar, bell peppers and was "sandwiched" (again) between grilled sour dough slices. Now, I called it a Texas-style cheese steak, but frankly, that isn't giving it its due. I think that anyone who has eaten a good Philly cheese steak must tell you, if he's honest, the well-done thinly sliced rib eye on a Philly Cheese Steak doesn't even come close to a perfectly cooked PRIME skirt steak... juicy... tender... and flavorful. This sliced "steak" sandwich was truly over the top from a flavor standpoint.


Our third special was a Fried Atlantic Cod sandwich. The cod was fried crispy, yes very moist in the center... it was topped with a creamy Cole slaw and served on a house-baked bun. I'm not very big on ordering fish sandwiches, but I would actually consider this one again, if it were still on the menu as a special (assuming that there were not a beefy alternative).

I suggest on a given day that if you would like to be delightedly surprised, go and take your chances. Otherwise, give them a call and inquire to see what the day's Blue Plate Specials are.

For my full review of Bradley's Fine Diner on my blog, go to:

http://www.culinaryhouston.com/2014/04/bradleys-fine-diner-is-bfd.html


Bradley's Fine Diner
191 Heights Blvd.
Houston, TX 77057
832-831-3959
www.BradleysFineDiner.com





Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Olive Garden Introduces New Menu Items and Improved Presentation

 
There are some hits and some misses. Hits were big and misses were slight:

Olive Garden threw a little media party in The Woodlands, north of Houston... just for food and restaurant bloggers. They were introducing new menu items to us after they had been selling them to customers for a month or two. That's always a good idea (when possible), so that the kitchen staff gets it down and the servers know what they're serving, as well as how to romance them to diners.

We were asked to try so many dishes in such a rapid-fire presentation of them, so I'll cover the memorable offerings with reviews and comments about them... and photos of most of them. First of all, I want to offer congratulations to Olive Garden for raising their bar on presentation. Most dishes were creatively presented to us.

'Twas a wonderment to me that I would find my personal favorite wings in Olive Garden! These Italian-seasoned Calabrian Chicken Wings (baked and tossed in herbs, Calabrian essence with pepper flakes and lots of garlic) had a sane amount of heat... were bursting with flavor and could be improved only with the addition of a big screen TV for sports. BTW, the wings come with a simple Gorgonzola dipping sauce that I chose to taste (delicious) but not use. These wings need no softening of their heat, nor dilution of the coating tossed thereupon.


Calabrian Chicken Wings

Many go to Olive Garden for the endless Salads and Bread Sticks. I'm not one of them, but I eat my share when there. That institution has been upgraded by the addition of optional Salad Toppers for an additional $2.99. Those include Antipasti Italian Meats and Cheese... OR, Roasted Tomato Caprese, which we sampled. With fresh mozzarella bites, roasted tomato, bell pepper basil and kale, this would be my go-to salad there in the future.

Salad with a Caprese Topper

There are some new lo-cal dishes and the Chicken Abruzzi, with only 520 calories is stellar. Not a typical low calorie compromise, this is a full-flavored order-again dish with grilled chicken strips, a clear, rich broth and kale, cannellini beans and perfectly cooked "garden vegetables". I loved this dish, yet found the fact that while the kale leaves were really nice, the inclusion of the tough under cooked stems was off-putting for me. That's a very simple fix for the restaurant and this remains one of my favorites there. Either trim the leaves of the stems, or cook them a little longer.

Chicken Abruzzi

Chicken Primavera with Giant Fusilli

I was pretty impressed with the Chicken Primavera with Giant Fusilli. The sauteed chicken was not at all overdone and the same goes for the veggies.  These aren't from a frozen bag. The fresh asparagus was crisp. It and the other veggies (zucchini, snap peas, etc.) were cooked in a white wine marinara just enough to shout "We're here and we're fresh." The fusilli were cooked to al dente perfection and the marinara clung to it quite well.



Pappardelle Pescatore

The Pappardelle Pescatore with perfectly sauteed shrimp, bay scallops and clams tossed with pappardelle pasta, fresh tomatoes red pepper cream sauce was pleasant and I enjoyed it... however, I kept wondering why the teeny clams were there. If they were there to impart their flavor to the sauce, then it worked. If they were there for presentation, then it worked.  If they were there so you can eat the clams, then use bigger ones. I love clams.

Build-your-own Cucina Mia

A new menu component is called Cucina Mia. Diners build their own creations from six different pastas.  Then they add a house-made sauce, choosing from five (including a seasonal selection. Then, they add a selection from five toppings including Chicken Meatballs, Sausage Meatballs, Meatballs (regular Italian) or shrimp.

My build-out included Chicken Meatballs (not juicy enough for me... but it's chicken), a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce (delicious)... on a bed of large Pacheri pasta. The dish and the method have great potential... but I got what I chose. The minor disappointment for me was probably a fluke in the kitchen and it was that the giant, thick Pacheri pasta was far too big to be served as al dente as it was.  But, then I don't know if this was a one-of-a-kind mistake by a cook on MY dish, or a standard. My worthless suggestion would be to cook the pasta a little longer.


Other dishes tried are below in the Galerie du Cuisine. Reviewing them all exceeds the amount of time I have expound upon them. I recommend a visit to Olive Garden to check out the new menu items.

Galerie du Cuisine

Polenta Shrimp alla Greco


Bucatini with Spicy Diavolo and Shrimp


Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich (with a Diavolo sauce)


Wild Berry Layer Cake

Olive Garden
 Everywhere
www.OliveGarden.com












Sunday, May 11, 2014

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino in Houston

Giacamo's neighborhood Italian cafe... better late than never.



Driving past this River Oaks area eatery always peaked my interest, but never enough to make the turn. When a friend suggested Giacomo's as a spot to meet for lunch, I jumped at the suggestion, as my curiosity could finally be put to rest.



I am not extremely fond of restaurants sitting right on a busy street like Westheimer, but upon entering the front door, I wasn't aware of that.  On the patio, while the cars could be heard, the trees and shrubs hid them from view and their presence wasn't overpowering.



Now that I have been there, I feel that I have wasted time and money by passing it up for so long. The first delight was that the quiet little neighborhood Italian cafe is owned and run by Lynette Hawkins of long-extinct La Mora fame. I remember her for the Portabello mushroom starters that drew me in to her Montrose restaurant in those days. Now, alas, not on the menu! But... she does wonders with creminis!

So, as James was virtually a regular at Giacamo's, I asked him to order for me and in writing this review, I am a little hampered by the fact that we discussed each facet of the meal... and we agreed on our assessments of them. In fact, I read his blog  Mise en Place and it was hard to use other words to describe the lunch!

Mozzarella in Corrozza

Our first appetizer was Mozzarella in Corrozza, which was basically a mozzarella cheese sandwich with a truly heavenly and lemony caper sauce that literally made the dish. In fact, in my opinion, it saved the dish. I (we) found that the fact that the mozzarella wasn't melted was a little off-putting, but not a deal breaker. This little problem was (I'm sure) a fluke that, in the future, can be avoided when the order is placed. BTW, there will be a future order of it on my next visit. Capers, in my opinion, can make a durian edible.

Tortelli di Bietola

My pasta course was Tortelli di Bietola (Swiss chard, ricotta and goat cheese-filled ravioli, generously bathed in a sage butter sauce). Chard is rapidly becoming the go-to dark green veggie in the culinary world... surpassing the very common spinach of the Florentine dishes that populate Italian menus today. Thanks, James. The ravioli were thin and tender enough to tongue into submission and the simple sauce with fresh sage leaves was perfect. The dish was obviously spirited to our table immediately upon plating it, as the dreaded frisbie effect was far from setting in and the nicely sized pillows separated and slid effortlessly onto my fork. It is a truly well-done dish and probably should be a must-order on a first visit.

Gnocchi di Funghi 

I slipped a few bites of James' Gnocchi di Funghi on my plate. "Gentle giant" came to mind. The cream and gorgonzola sauce was big, bold, yet soft... and the muskiness of the creminis softened the flavor of the cheese. For a guy who NEVER orders gnocchi, I saw the error of my ways. However, as it always is with gnocchi, it is all about the sauce and this sauce is all about dressing up potatoes (beautifully) to go out.

Again, I wish I had visited Giacamo's earlier, but as they say... better late than never.

Giacamo's
3215 Westheimer
Houston, Texas
713.522.1934
Open Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Lynette Hawkins, Proprietaria
No Reservations
www.giacamosciboevino.com/




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bradley's Fine Diner IS a BFD!

Why did the Funky Chicken cross the road?




Actually, it didn't cross the road, it's at the other end of the strip center from BFD (Bradley's Fine Diner). Roughly four months after opening their chicken-every-single-way operation, Funky Chicken... and a couple of months before their upcoming May opening of Ogden's Pour Society in Memorial City, Bradley Ogden Hospitality has opened an edgy farm-to-table comfort food restaurant, Bradley's Fine Diner. Menus are paper and adjusted daily to offer the morning's fresh finds from local suppliers and farmers.

Chef Bryan Ogden at the helm during our visit. Dad, Chef Bradley
Ogden was out and about on our visit.

Sally and I were media guests of BFD a few days after opening to the public and, frankly, were taken aback by the contemporary approach to old standards, such as pot roast, pork belly and other comfort foods "all dressed up".

As my wife admonished me to, I gladly add the word "unpretentious" here. Throw it in wherever it seems appropriate. It will fit almost everywhere.



When asked the significance of the tree trunk chandelier, 
Chef Ogden replied "We thought it was cool."

In a casual, warm setting crowned with a funky (sorry about the word "funky") tree trunk chandelier overhead, we were greeted throughout our three-hour evening by smiling and knowledgeable servers, managers and mixologists. It didn't seem like three hours to US, but I have no doubt that it seemed like much longer to our hosts.

Mixologist Brittany Austin pointed out that their 
philosophy is to produce "modern takes on
classic cocktails that are American-driven and inspired...
yet meet the standards and quality of our cooking"

I need to point out that cheerful staff visits to guests tables were going on all over the room... NOT just for someone there to write an article about them and evaluate the food.

Hello! Sustainable Caviar, Herd Gnocchi and 
Citrus Creme Fraiche

Not on the menu, but delivered to our table, was a playful amuse bouche of sustainable caviar, herb gnocchi and citrus creme fraiche. I could have played with this for hours, calling for refills frequently, but alas, it was quickly followed by creative Spring Garlic Hummus starter.

Spring Garlic Hummus


A simple Spring Garlic Hummus with grilled and herbed flatbread and a savory olive relish ($9) started an evening of offerings that quickly morfed into a parade of very familiar dishes done in very unfamiliar ways.

Bone Marrow Toast

Another starter took a childhood favorite of mine to another level altogether. Bone Marrow Toast ($10) was an ample (very ample) spread of roasted beef bone marrow on grilled sourdough bread (did I say that all bread at BFD, including hamburger buns is house baked?), then sprinkled with peppery fresh arugula and pickled red onions. While, as a child, my servings of bone marrow were usually from soup bones, the additional dimension of roasting the bones made this creative variation on the marrow particularly inviting.

Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Chili-Lime Aioli

Popcorn Rock Shrimp ($14), sweet and juicy then fried in a thin, yet crispy batter. They were presented with a chili-lime aioli. The contrast between the sweet, rose-colored rock shrimp and the standard Gulf of Mexico shrimp (nothing is wrong with Gulf shrimp) is obvious in this dish and the temptation to serve it with a pedestrian tomato-based sauce was resisted in favor of a slightly tart limey aioli that perfectly balanced the sweetness of the rock shrimp. I kept wondering why we see so little of this delicate cousin of our standard Galveston Bay and Gulf of Mexico shrimp on Houston restaurant menus.

"Shake & Bake" Frog Legs


As a child, flashlight-in-hand, I roamed ponds on our property and gigged the croaking bullfrogs there in anticipation of an evening's meal of this chicken-like meat. Half of the fun was trying to keep the whole frog legs from hopping out of the black cast iron pan as the heat caused the detached leg muscles to contract. Quite an adventure. At BFD, the adventure is in the eating, as savory "Shake and Bake" Frog Legs ($22) are served with sunchoke, wild fennel and fresh celery leaves. Boneless and crispy, this is the perfect way to introduce the wary and uninitiated to the wonders of these former hoppers.

Chilled Pea Soup

Chilled Pea Soup ($10), another upgraded variation on a staple I have always loved was served (a la Vichyssoise and Gazpacho) as a refreshing cold Summer soup. Theatrics add to the experience and the soup is served in stages at BFD. First, is the presentation of a chilled bowl with cracked wheat salad, goat cheese and almonds nestled in the center. Then the chilled vibrant green pea soup is poured ceremoniously from a tea kettle to finish the presentation with the wheat salad peeking through the surface. It's as delicious as it is fun to watch while it is built in front of you.

Rhubarb Glazed Pork Belly

I can't say that, growing up, I was an aficionado of pork belly, except as thick-cut bacon with my eggs. Today, pork belly is the trendy food of the gods and is seen center-of-the-plate in fine dining restaurants everywhere (quite often slow-cooked sous vide). BFD's Rhubarb Glazed Pork Belly ($15) stands tall proudly as if to claim (rightly) that it's on the level of Filet Mignon and it's presentation, taste and creativity back that boast up. There is pork belly that is 70% fat and there is pork belly that's 70% MEAT. This is the good one!  Atop a bed of creamy organic grits, adorned with charred scallions and hickory nuts, the rhubarb glaze is playfully drizzled across it for sweet & sour notes and a gorgeous presentation. What a fun dish!

Bradley's Yankee Pot Roast

While I'm on "comfort food", it's time to talk about a dish that everyone in America will quickly claim is a favorite! The aroma of pot roast permeating the entire house as it slowly cooks in the oven is a fond comforting memory in most families. That's how Bradley's Yankee Pot Roast ($28) teased my senses when placed in front of me. But, it didn't really LOOK like pot roast! More formal, I thought. Perched atop smooth Yukon Gold/radish mashed potatoes, it was complemented by baby carrots and English peas. Who would've thought of blending the horseradish we have grown to enjoy with pot roast into a creamy puree of potatoes as a bed for the beef?

Pan Roasted Atlantic Black Cod

HELP! I was really full and looking for a dessert when the Pan Roasted Atlantic Black Cod ($38) was proudly placed on the table. With sweet coconut Carolina rice and a rich green curry sauce enveloping Gulf of Mexico shrimp, I was happy eating a little of it all in each bite... yet I was constantly treating the shrimp curry as a separate entree then savoring the huge moist flakes of cod likewise. Each component was fine as a standalone dish, I thought. Playing with my food, I knew after a few bites that it would be in front of me on my next visit.

Award-Winning Bradley's Oak Grilled Chuck Burger

As an afterthought, one might remember back in 2010 when Esquire magazine did a list of the best burgers in the U.S.. At that time, Chef Bradley Ogden was busy wowing diners in his restaurant in Las Vegas. Indicating that simple is simple and less is more, Esquire picked Ogden's burger as the "Best Burger in America".  Served here at BFD as Bradley's Oak-Grilled Chuck Burger (on the Bar Menu) is his local Akaushi beef, caramelized grilled onion burger. Served on a house-baked bun and accompanied by BFD hand-cut fries, tangy house-made ketchup, house-made bread & butter-style pickles and buttery bib lettuce, this burger is all about the beef purist who is more interested in the quality of the beef than whatever salad one might pile upon it in a burger.

Dark Chocolate Banana Cake

Finally, in the nick of time, came a Dark Chocolate-Banana Cake, drizzled with caramel... sprinkled with hazelnuts and accompanied by malt ice cream. It was a decadent treat, served with a cup of cappuccino to top off a truly a roller coaster ride of exciting offerings. Oh, did you know that sometimes a little amuse bouche shows up at the end of a meal, also? That would be the smooth, creamy butterscotch cups with little rosemary short breads tucked into them. My life was complete and so was the meal.

Men's Room! If you can't perform under
pressure, don't look at the lady on the wall.

See you again... I promise.


Bradley's Fine Diner
191 Heights Boulevard
Houston, TX 77007              
(832) 831-5939   
www.BradleysFineDiner.com  
                     

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fajitas: Mama Ninfa's Original Recipe That She Introduced to the World In 1973!




Mama Ninfa Laurenzo

If it isn't a beef skirt steak... it isn't a fajita!

First of all, let’s get it straight exactly what fajitas are. I like to start off with what they aren't. They aren't chicken, or any part of a chicken. They aren't shrimp. They aren't pork, either. However, many authentic Tex-Mex restaurants that offer genuine beef fajitas also stretch the definition of them in order to serve a broader audience, such as those who don't care to eat beef.

 So, we get a few of the frequent misconceptions about what fajitas are out of the way immediately.

The word “faja” comes from the Spanish word for “belt.” The word “fajita” means “little belt” in Spanish. Fajitas are a dish with roots in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, made from only one cut of meat: skirt steak. Preferably the "inside skirt". So, what is a skirt steak?  A skirt steak is a strip around 18 inches long and about ¾ to one-inch thick – and it is in the beef carcass beneath the heart and lungs, so fajita (little belt) is an apt nickname for this cut of meat.


There are four skirts per beef carcass, yielding about 8 lbs. of meat. The two outside skirts are the diaphragm muscle from the forequarter (slightly tougher and needs marinade to tenderize it) and the two inside skirts are the secondary flank muscle from the hindquarter (and these need the marinade only for flavor).

The skirt steaks today are usually marinated prior to grilling. This process is actually more for flavor than for tenderizing the meat if cooking with outside skirts steaks, although acid (often citrus) in the marinade does tenderize the meat slightly. If cooking inside skirt steaks, they are less tender and require two hours of marinading. Skirt steaks are far more flavorful than many other cuts of beef, such as sirloin, chuck, flank and round steaks... and when cooked properly, they are very tender, as well as gloriously flavorful.

Historically, fajitas have been eaten in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas since the cattle drives in the 1930’s, where animals were butchered and the Mexican cowboys (Vaqueros) were given the strip steaks as throw-away cuts of meat (dumb gringos!). There are many stories of the history of fajitas and many claims to being the first to sell fajitas to us gringos. Fajitas appear to have made the leap from cattle drive campfire and backyard grill obscurity to commercial sales in 1969. Sonny Falcon, an Austin meat market manager, operated the first commercial fajita taco stand (his Fajitas were unseasoned and unmarinated) stand at a rural Dies Y Seis celebration in a little Texas town of Kyle in September of 1969. However, what most people know as Fajitas were first sold in the Mexican/American barrio of Houston.


Mama Ninfa Laurenzo, a widowed mother of five children, started selling fajitas as Tacos al Carbon around 1973 in a little five-table restaurant (where the family's tortilla factory used to be) with the help of her five children. She quickly began marketing them as “Fajitas” and they started showing up in Tex-Mex restaurants all over Texas. They soon became a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants across the U.S. in the early 80’s and the rest is known by almost everyone everywhere. Although, in the late 1980's, Mama Ninfa's recipe was sought by Tex-Mex cooks and restaurateurs, but never cloned exactly. Even though many chefs came close, many restaurants left out the most important ingredients... the namesake, Fajitas (skirt steaks). And that is the case today, particularly in the northern United States.

Rolando Laurenzo, owner of
El Tiempo Cantina's and Laurenzo's
and Ninfa's son.

So, now that we have established the fact that grilled beef, such as sirloin, tri-tip, chuck steaks, flank steaks, OR grilled shrimp, or grilled chicken breasts are NOT fajitas (Calling grilled chicken "Chicken Fajitas" doesn't make them fajitas!), let’s get to making some REAL fajitas. The recipe that Mama Ninfa described to me in the ‘80’s is very similar to this one, but other than her sons and grandsons (in the restaurant business in Houston) she never gave away the EXACT written-down recipe to anyone (as far as I know), but what I DO know came directly from Mama Ninfa and was confirmed by her son, Rolando (Roland) Laurenzo... patriarch of the Laurenzo family and owner/president of Laurenzo's El Tiempo Cantinas:

Mama Ninfa's Original Fajita Recipe

Ingredients

1 large orange, zested
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup pineapple juice (no matter who in Mama Ninfa's family talked about the recipe, ALL mentioned how important pineapple juice was in the mix in the early days on Navigation Boulevard in Houston).
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 dried chiles de arbol crushed
2 skirt steaks no more than 3/4 inch thick.
12 warm flour tortillas
Condiments such as Pico de Gallo, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Guacamole, etc.

Directions:

Grate the orange and lemon zests. Combine the zest with the water, the pineapple juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper and chiles, in a large baking dish.

Outside skirt steaks with the membrane attached, which must be removed (peeled).
Using a sharp knife, remove any membrane or silver skin from the meat. In most supermarkets, this membrane will already have been removed. If the meat is thicker than 3/4" thick at the thickest part, cut it in half horizontally (butterfly) so that it will cook evenly. Place the skirt steak in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours if inside skirt steak... or, 1 hour if outside skirt steaks.

Skirt steaks ready to marinate.

Marinate inside skirts steaks for 2 hours and outside for 1 hour.

Grill over HOT wood or charcoal fire.
Grill for 5-7 minutes per side, turning frequently.
On a charcoal or gas grill, grill the meat for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until done. Cut crosswise in one-half-inch strips and serve with grilled onions, jalapenos and server hot and steaming. The Laurenzo family also serves the fajitas on a table grill to keep them hot. Part if the evolution of the recipe that the family has made over the decades also includes a ramekin of drawn garlic/lemon butter to dunk the strips in when served.

The recipe above reflects the words to me from Mama Ninfa Laurenzo, family history, and verified for accuracy by her son, Roland Laurenzo



Photo of Mama Ninfa is courtesy of Mama Ninfa's family. Photos of prep, marinating, grilling and presentation are by Jack Tyler. Copyright 2014 Jack Tyler.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Brisket House: In Search of the Mighty Beef Rib!

I never thought that I would have trouble finishing ONE rib!



Not built from a bunch of old wood to resemble an aging barbeque joint out in the country, The Brisket House is in a strip Center in Tanglewood and is neat, clean and full of smiles and "thank you's" for any expression of satisfaction from a diner. They even invited me behind the counter to gaze at the meat as it smoked and rotated slowly and fragrantly (Yes, I have a City of Houston Food Handler's Certificate to allow me behind the counter).

Briskets smoke all night long (with the beef ribs).

There are a lot of barbeque joints in Houston. There are as many opinions about "the best" as there are joints and people eating in them. I never worry about "the best" of anything because it ends up being a matter of my "favorite" and I'm not qualified to define "the best" as I have only eaten in a dozen, or so, barbeque joints in Houston.

Checking on a brisket in the smoker

We read that The Brisket House is now selling beef ribs on the weekends, so we ventured over to the one on Augusta at Woodway, three blocks from our house. So, while we sampled sausage, brisket and some sides, this visit was all about the Mighty Beef Rib.

Sausage and Brisket two-meat plate

Ordering at the counter with country and western music seducing us (it's Rodeo time) into the mood for MEAT, I asked if they had beef ribs that day. The answer was a resounding prideful "YES!" Then the surprise of the price was blared by the counter person with no apologies. "$14.95 per rib... but they're really big." Big? Yes, big. As big as my head. Fred Flintstone would have backed away in fear, my wife commented. Smoked carefully over Oak and Pecan wood at 175 degrees, along with the briskets for 12-14 hours, overnight, the ribs are juicy and covered with a black "burnt ends" bark. Weighing over a moist,  juicy pound, I had met my match and was challenged to finish ONE RIB in one sitting! It was a full meal and WAS worth $14.95 for one rib.

The sliced view of the Beef Rib

Beef Rib view from the handle!

Sally had a two-meat plate which was excellent. The word "moist" keeps tumbling out of our mouths... the sausage and the brisket were both very smoky and very moist. Believe it or not, I have had dry brisket in this town... but not here.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Cole Slaw

Imaginative and classic sides complement the meats and we tried a nice celery seed sprinkled Cole Slaw... beautiful mashed sweet potatoes and one of two versions of Potato Salad, called a Baked Potato Salad. Loved that potato salad, as it had bacon in it and I have had, or made, potato salad with bacon in it all of my life. No celebrity chef here. No famous name that we would all know from the Texas Hill Country. Just really good barbeque served on butcher's paper... and only three blocks from home!

Remember, the Beef Ribs are only on the weekends!

The Brisket House
5775 Woodway
Houston, TX 77057
(At the Corner of Woodway and Augusta)
281-888-0331

3217 Center Street
Dear Park, TX 77536
281-884-8058
TheBrisketHouse@sbcglobal.net
www.TheBrisketHouse.com