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Bordering on Bennigan's

Is Morgan's on Montrose just an unfortunate chain reaction?

The restaurant is beautifully decorated with red tile floors, lemon-colored walls and handsome furniture and appointments. The windows are shaded with green awnings and they look out on a pleasant green courtyard and Montrose. The bar looks inviting, too. But on each occasion that I've visited, the place has been nearly empty.

The best thing I tried here was the steak and enchilada plate on my first visit. I've been fond of this combination ever since I sampled it at Reata restaurant in Fort Worth. Reata's former chef, Grady Spears, and I included a T-bone and cheese enchilada in our cookbook, A Cowboy in the Kitchen. Spears started eating steaks with enchiladas in Chihuahua because the steaks there were always well done and dry and he put the greasy enchiladas over the top to help choke them down.

The steak and enchilada plate at Morgan's on Montrose is different. The enchiladas come on the side, not on top. They're stuffed with spinach, so they're meant as a side dish rather than a lubricant. The steak is an eight-ounce sirloin, and the one I had was excellent -- tender and perfectly cooked. The dish wasn't what I was expecting, but it turned out to be great anyway.

Details

Jack Daniel's barbecue ribs: $15
Steak and enchilada plate: $17
Asian tuna salad: $13
Blue cheese bacon burger: $9.5
Calamari: $8
Lobster dinner: $20
(Friday and Saturday only)
4611 Montrose Boulevard, 713-523-4611. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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On our way out the door on our last visit, I asked for a to-go menu to take home. A waiter dressed in a black T-shirt gave us one, but warned us that the menu was probably going to change again. Evidently the casual concept isn't going over very well with the customers or the staff. He predicted the restaurant would go back to some sort of fine dining format within a few days.

"I can't wait," he said, pinching a bit of his black T-shirt. "Then I can wear a real shirt again."

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