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Italian Classic

George's Pastaria gives the people what they want.

Over a meal with a friend who'd been eating at George's since the old days on Westheimer, she told me the main reason she liked George's: "It's the same Italian comfort food we ate in the 1950s," she said. "It's almost kitschy now, but it's still good and it's still comforting." Indeed, a sense of comfort permeates the entire space, from the gleaming wood floors and tables to the dim, amber lighting.

In another unusual move, seemingly designed with its customers' ultimate satisfaction in mind, the restaurant allows you to BYOB even though they have a very sturdy wine list of their own. And even more gallantly, George's waives the $10 corkage fee Mondays through Wednesdays (while still offering to chill your wine and provide stemware). But if you didn't BYOB, don't fret: All bottles of wine of more than $32 are also $10 off on these days. That's the time to go in and get a real steal.

That's exactly what I did on a recent Monday evening, snagging a bottle of fruity, funky Yarden Pinot Noir from the list for only $39 — the markups are already fairly low here — and enjoying the Israeli wine with some friends over our meal. It was an interesting selection on a list otherwise dominated by Italian and Californian wines, but the waiter bragged on the Yarden after I'd chosen it: "We were the first restaurant in Houston to offer Yarden," he said. "You'll really like it."

You'll come back for the rigatoni campagnolo.
Troy Fields
You'll come back for the rigatoni campagnolo.

Location Info

Map

George's Pastaria

1722 S. Dairy Ashford
Houston, TX 77077

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Memorial

Details

11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays through Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays through Saturdays.

Fried ravioli: $7.50

Greek salad: $8.25

Eggplant parmesan: $10

Pasta à la George: $10.50

Rigatoni campagnolo: $12.95

Grilled salmon: $16.95

10" cheese pizza: $12

George's Pastaria

1722 S. Dairy Ashford, 281-558-1717.

Despite the waiter's thorough understanding of the wine list, however, the service here does have a lot of hiccups. Part of that can be attributed to the sheer youth of the waitstaff, most of whom look like they're in high school. It's a common theme out here, almost a rite of passage for kids in west Houston. The service is slow and a little clueless at times, but that's almost part of the charm.

One could argue that old-school Italian-American comfort food has steadily been elbowed out of the market by "authentic" Italian restaurants like Da Marco and Poscol. It's no longer necessarily "cool" to admit that you really enjoy giant plates of baked ziti, or chicken parm served with that omnipresent side of spaghetti. But at George's, no one is concerned with being cool. No one is concerned with the latest food trends. They're only concerned with good food and good wine.

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33 comments
Voltaggiodeluc
Voltaggiodeluc

Why call it "Italian Classic"... sausage and peppers ain't Italian, it's Sicilian! And we Italians consider the land South of Rome as not really part of Italy.

Jshare
Jshare

George's is my favorite Italian restaurant and has been for about 15 years. The lunch soup & sandwich special for $8.50 is a steal and even includes free garlic bread. The Pasta ala George with chicken is my wife's favorite dish which she can never seem to finish. Whether you want a great meatball and chicken parm sub, lasagna, ziti or spaghetti, they've got it all. and the pizza is out of this world, especially the crust, cheese and the best Canadian bacon topping anywhere. They even serve an appetizer-sized pizza with 3 topics for $7,50 at lunch that is wonderful. Nice friendly atmosphere and great food. Only problem is that parking can be a chore on weekends.

Bert
Bert

Words that need to go away in 2011.

old-schoolcomfort food

Chef504
Chef504

Hell Yes, a big plate of great food. Thats all you need sometime. Diets, to hell with that. Little portions of food on great big plates can be ridiculous when you just want to eat, and get full.

Ljwiley
Ljwiley

So happy to see that Houston is shifting the focus to Italy and its wonderfully diverse variety of foodstuffs! Gee Willikers, I Love that stuff!

xcto
xcto

Type your comment here.I thought the first location was at richmond & fondren. Was that a differant George's ?

Pegleg3
Pegleg3

"George's Pastaria gives the people what they want..."

So sad, so limiting. The only way people 'know what they want" is by what they've had before.

If I adopted this approach with my son, he'd never progress beyond hot dogs, pizza and waffles.

LW
LW

Awesome, this is in my neck of the woods, and I'm excited to try it soon.

Annie Roewe Bulloch
Annie Roewe Bulloch

I drive by this place all the time, but never stopped in. I'll pick "old-school Italian-American comfort food" over frou-frou "authentic" every time, so I definitely will make a point of hitting George's soon.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

Yes! I've been a fan of George's for over a decade. Very good food and wonderful people.

Michelangelo
Michelangelo

This is one of my favorite spots! Thank you for featuring the great food and story of George's Pastaria!

Grottolotto
Grottolotto

No it was the same xcto.George opened at Richmond and Fondren, then moved to Hillcroft and Westheimer.

MzCarmen
MzCarmen

The first location was Richmond/Fondren. We've moved with him over the years and the restaurant and food is every bit fantastic as it was all those years ago. The pene renee is my favorite.

Stereed12
Stereed12

George's started out at the corner of Richmond and Fondren in Nov. of 1987.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm pretty sure that George's is catering to adults who've long had the opportunity to decide what they want for themselves, and who just want well-made comfort food. ;) Although, that said, I fully agree with the approach you've taken with your son. Picky eaters are no fun. Good for you for broadening his horizons! :)

Dextmontrose
Dextmontrose

that last part of your comment is nonsensical, because authentic Italian food generally IS 'comfort food'. Simple, fresh, good ingredients...this epitomizes Italian food over there probably more than here....so who knows what you mean by frou-frou.My guess would be the Arabic version of Italian that thinks more is better.

Pinoluong
Pinoluong

I'm glad you wrote about George's, but I'm somewhat confused about this overused idea of 'comfort food'. What is it exactly? What defines it? Is it the stuff you grew up eating, and so eating it again in adulthood envelopes you in a blanket of warm nostalgic comfort?

If that's it, ok, I understand.

But then, if Feast serves comfort food, and Haven serves comfort food, why is it that you draw a distinction at Poscol and Da Marco for the Italian category? If you ask the owner/chef at the latter two, I suspect he'd say he's often serving what is to him 'comfort food': stuff he grew up eating, often at home, foods that bring an elemental sense of comfort and isn't contrived. Liver, risotto, the long-cooked lesser cuts of beef and pork etc.

And personally, I don't feel like I'm being trendy or 'cool' to like someone else's comfort food. A good risotto is simply delicious, much the way mac 'n cheese, or broccoli casserole is. Ditto with mastaccioli: I don't feel retrograde eating it.

In sum, don't make these facile delineations about comfort food as it applies to Italian. Italian comfort food isn't always Italian-American, or Sicilian. More likely, it's just cooked by an Italian guy with similar nostalgic longings for what he ate, rather than the spaghetti and meatballs that you once ate.

Pegleg3
Pegleg3

It's the same concept with adults: if they believe that Italian is parmigiana and the same constellation of Italian-American favorites, that's what they're going to demand, not realizing there is another universe out there.

To a frog in a well, he looks up, sees the sky, and this is the whole universe to him. ;)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I think she was referring to "Italian-American" comfort food versus Italian comfort food. A lot of people were raised on the former and aren't as experienced with the latter. That doesn't mean that one is better than the other. And I think George's does old-school Italian-American very well, although that doesn't mean I think it's better than, say, Da Marco or Antica Osteria.

Deltoidpecs
Deltoidpecs

Yeah, she did mention comfort food, and what a shocker: her idea of comfort food varies from yours, unless you consider Stella Sola, Branchwater and Haven cheap places.

Comfort food has become such an amorphous blob that it has little meaning. But I'm going to Tony's for lunch today to have pasta, which is my comfort food.

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Again, comfort food is a personal definition...what is comfort food to me may not be to you. If Ms. Shilcutt considers George's to be comfort food, why is she not allowed her opinion without criticism? You people will find the most ridiculous things to criticize sometimes. It's so irritating.

Oh, wait, hot off the presses: Patricia Sharp at Texas Monthly just used the term "comfort food"!! Holy hell! Quick...run over there and freak out because it's not your definition of comfort food!!

http://www.texasmonthly.com/pr...

Xxetac
Xxetac

Red, I think the commenter is just saying that Ms. Shilcutt's definition of comfort food in regards to Italian is bogus, or at least pretty tightly defined. That's all. No need for an Encarta definition....unless, you want to argue how little that def makes sense.

Dustifun1
Dustifun1

Never just about food red; it's about ideas and words...and then food.

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Um, okay. *shaking head* I'm saying to calm down, it's just food. How does that translate to "ready to explode"? Whatever.

Dustifun1
Dustifun1

Settle down redonthehead1, it's a fair point these guys bring up, and you seem ready to explode.

I mean, why this line between 'authentic' and 'comfort food'?

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

Why does YOUR definition of "comfort food" have to be my exact definition of "comfort food". Or why does Ms. Shilcutt's definition have to fit someone else's exact parameters? How about we let people define it as they wish within their life experiences and tastes? Or how about the Encarta definition?

1. simply prepared digestible food: easily prepared unsophisticated food that is psychologically comforting, especially food that is high in carbohydrates ( informal )

Why such angst and derision over the opinion of FOOD!? It's just FOOD, for the love of Mike. It's not life or death! Good grief!

Telina3
Telina3

So Feast, BRC, and Haven are not selling 'comfort food' either?Because they're not cheap, and might not 'pile it high'?And what about Poscol? That to me is all comfort food and bar food.

redonthehead1
redonthehead1

When someone says "comfort food" I always think of Mom's (anyone's Mom's) homemade-from-scratch-meals - whether it's Southern, Cajun, Mexican or Italian.

Comfort food is usually more rustic, cheaper and the ambiance relaxed and laid back. That differentiates a George's Pastaria from a DaMarco. They are both wonderful restaurants and both have their place, but to try to call DaMarco "comfort food" would not be correct. George's is homey, DaMarco is upscale. George's "piles it deep and sells it cheap". DaMarco's - not so much.

I don't think the delineation is "facile"...have you BEEN to George's to see the difference??

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I feel like Antica straddles both cuisines: Italian-American and authentic Italian.

Coryelldeluc
Coryelldeluc

I think Antica Osteria is basically a more expensive George's, but I could be wrong.

 
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