Voice: Tastes Great, Less Filling

The food at Voice in the Hotel Icon is fabulous. Too bad the place is such a rip.

I have nothing against red wine with fish. A light-bodied Oregon Pinot noir and alder-plank barbecued salmon is a West Coast tradition. But red wine with fish is the interesting exception, not the rule. "Isn't tart white wine the classic recommendation with fish?" I asked.

"You could get a Chardonnay," he said. I wondered why he skipped over more interesting whites on his "by the glass" list, including an Australian Riesling, an Oregon Pinot Gris and a South African Sauvignon blanc. I asked the wine steward where he got his wine education. He said he had learned while drinking a lot of wine in Houston and New Orleans. In the end, we went with his suggestion of a glass of red Burgundy to go with the snapper. Sure, it sounded ludicrous, but what if he was right and I missed out on a great wine experience because I was too arrogant to try something new?

When the waiter went to pour our wine, he walked behind me. I turned around to see that the red wines available by the glass were sitting on a shelf. The Burgundy bottle didn't have much more than a glass left in it. It was warm and oxidized. It had obviously been sitting there for days. It tasted awful — with or without the red snapper. I instantly realized that the sommelier had been so adamant about recommending the Burgundy because he was trying to get rid of it.

The Angus sliders will make your tablemates jealous.
Troy Fields
The Angus sliders will make your tablemates jealous.

Location Info


Voice Restaurant and Lounge

220 Main
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Downtown/ Midtown



7 a.m. to midnight Sundays;

7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays;

7 to 11 a.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturdays.

Sushi nachos: $8

Pappardelle: $13

Steak sandwich: $14

Snapper: $22

Venison sous vide: $31

Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832-667-4470.

I returned to Voice on two other occasions. One day at lunch, I sampled an adequate steak sandwich. The bread and dressing were much better than the steak, which was so thin I could barely taste it. I also tried an excellent bowl of hand-cut pappardelle pasta with tomato, basil and trumpet mushrooms. The pasta was perfectly cooked and loaded with meaty mushrooms. It was by far the best thing I sampled on Voice's lunch menu and the most satisfying as well.

The last time I visited Voice I planned to sample the bar snacks. But since I knew they weren't going to fill us up, I suggested to my friend that we stop by Stanton's convenience store on Houston Avenue first. Stanton's sells one of the best bacon cheeseburgers in the city for $4. We had the kitchen cut it in half and we split it. If you eat before you go, Voice is a lot easier to enjoy.

I was tempted to take Stanton's burger with us and eat it at the bar at Voice. When I stay in a hotel, I always buy my food and drinks elsewhere and take them up to my room. I can't bring myself to pay the inflated prices for room service. As I ate my burger, I realized that eating at Voice is like ordering room service in the lobby of the Hotel Icon.

Chef Michael Kramer, a highly decorated California culinary genius, is turning out some stellar food at Voice. It's too bad the management finds a way to make each meal feel like a ripoff. If you are staying at the hotel or meeting someone who is, there's the convenience factor to consider. But if you're not, it's hard to put up with the ungracious attitude — no matter how good the food is.

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