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Rao Now

A new owner drags the River Oaks Grill into the '90s -- or at least the late '70s

The trout didn't please as much as the sole for the reason that it was overcooked. Fish poses special problems for chefs. Exposed to too much heat, it can spoil in seconds. What's needed are sound instincts and expert timing. And quite frankly, not everyone is up to the job. But I did enjoy the garnish of chopped pears and bacon bits, the one providing the plate with welcome texture, the other lending the fish a pleasant smokiness.

Orange-scented chicken ($12.50) -- pan-roasted and served with asparagus and shiitake mushrooms -- is worth your consideration. Not, though, the grilled London broil sandwich ($12). Served with zucchini strips and a mayonnaise fortified with roasted shallots and Armagnac, it sounded great, but tasted awful. I blame the mayonnaise -- too much brandy, perhaps? -- because after I'd scraped it away, that sandwich tasted perfectly fine.

The River Oaks Grill, 2630 Westheimer, 520-1738.

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