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Catch the Wave

Lance Fegen's "New American Surfer Bistro" is like, epic, dude!

I got a Beefeater martini, slightly dirty, with an order of tuna tartare served over salad greens with olives. The olive juice in the martini and the olives in the salad of raw, coarsely chopped, sushi-grade tuna gave the drink and appetizer duo a wonderfully unified theme -- savory, salty and ice cold. It made me want to drink slushy cold martinis with my sushi from now on.

I helped myself to quite a few of my companion's hand-cut French fries. The potatoes were fried a second time just before they came to the table, so they were piping hot and super-crispy with a bubbly texture on the outside. They were served in a bowl with a small vat of garlic mayo on the side for dipping. If you've ever had a cone of patats in Amsterdam, you're familiar with the addictive combination of French fries and mayo. If not, approach these with caution -- they can become an obsession.

I got the ribeye steak, which was grilled with a sweet and salty rub. It was cooked medium rare, but the steak wasn't very thick. The rub gave it some flavor, but the meat was chewy. My dining companion got the beef short ribs, which were long-cooked with a molasses glaze until they were meltingly tender and extremely dark in color.

The short ribs are absolutely stunning with a Dogfish Head Brown Ale.
Troy Fields
The short ribs are absolutely stunning with a Dogfish Head Brown Ale.

Location Info

Map

Glass Wall, The Restaurant

933A Studewood
Houston, TX 77008

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Heights

Details

Hours: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

French fries and mayo: $6

Tuna tartare: $12

Crab cake: $13

Short ribs: $23

Rib eye steak: $27

Trout: $22

933A Studewood St., 713-868-7930.

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After we sampled each other's entrees, she gave the verdict.

"My short ribs are way better than your steak." It was true. I'm a diehard steak lover, but I'd trade almost any steak in the city for an order of Glass Wall's beef short ribs.

"Funny, until just recently, I would have never eaten short ribs," she said. The fact that they have lots of fat in them before they're cooked scares away the "fat is icky" folks. One bite of these short ribs explains the connection between marbling and flavor and tenderness better than words ever will.

I asked the bartender for a stout, but the only dark beer that Glass Wall carries is Dogfish Head Brown Ale from Delaware. The hearty brown ale was a nice complement to my steak, but it was absolutely stunning with the smoky molasses-flavored short ribs. Still, it would be nice if they carried a few more beers in the summer.

But enough with the complaining. This is one of the best new restaurants that's opened in Houston in years. The menu is "off the wall" (if you will) and a joy to read. There's a hearty hit parade of things I'm dying to try, such as mustard mashed potatoes, mushroom confit and Kahlúa baked beans. There's also a nice balance of old and new, with revived classics such as green goddess dressing on Boston lettuce and innovations like fennel pesto on a tomato tart.

Call Glass Wall a "New American Surfer Bistro" if you're looking for a category. But don't get too fixated on anything in particular, because the menu changes monthly. You can only hope they still have some short ribs, French fries and dark beer when you show up.

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