Top

dining

Stories

 

Hungry Eyes

There isn't much to salivate over at the Men's Club.

As we sat at a table waiting for our food at The Men's Club of Houston, my friend Glenn told me a story about a trip to a Houston BYOB strip club and a dancer named Dimension X, who "flapped her pussy" in his face while giving him a lap dance. That gruesome image was instantly seared into my head.

So I was happy when our Roman Orgy appetizer plate appeared, and I had an excuse to think about something else. But, good God, what a miserable trade-off in imagery it was. One fried shrimp. One stuffed jalapeño. One chicken tender cut into three bites that you'd feed to a toddler. An unidentifiable lump of meat in one corner. And "seasonal fruit" scattered across leaves of lettuce that was actually mealy watermelon and nearly colorless honeydew. Watermelon is not in season. Neither is honeydew.

"This tastes like sawdust," Glenn said of the watermelon before spitting it out.

The Men's Club serves a decent pub-style burger.
Troy Fields
The Men's Club serves a decent pub-style burger.

Location Info

Map

The Men's Club of Houston

3303 Sage
Houston, TX 77056

Category: Services

Region: Galleria

Details

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Fridays; 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturdays; 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays.

• Crab cakes: $10
• Roman Orgy platter: $17
• Kobe beef burger: $9
• Ahi tuna salad: $10
• Couples' night: (two appetizers, two entrées, one dessert) $25 • Soft drink: $6.50
• House wine: $8.50

Read More • Why Would We Review The Men's Club? This Is Why
• Chef Chat, Part 1: Dwight Stewart of The Men's Club
• Chef Chat, Part 2: Dwight Stewart of The Men's Club
• Chef Chat, Part 3: Dwight Stewart of The Men's Club


The Men's Club of Houston

3303 Sage Rd., 713-629-7900.

Related Stories

More About

"I can't even tell what this is," I responded, poking at the mysterious meat lump. He picked up a strip of it.

"I think it's a battered jalapeño," he said, squinting at it. It's so dark inside the dining room at the Men's Club that it's impossible to read the wine list, let alone see your food, without pulling out your cell phone. The scantily clad but always sweetly helpful waitresses usually oblige with their own.

The meat turned out to be beef fajita strips, cold and nearly congealed. Glenn and I split the shrimp in half, and I ate the stuffed jalapeño. They were the only edible items on the plate. "This doesn't feel like an orgy," he cracked. "Certainly not a Roman one." And it certainly wasn't worth $17.

In an age when you can see more at home with an Internet connection thanks to City of Houston laws mandating how much of a stripper's areolae need to be covered, are strip clubs and their mostly overpriced offerings becoming obsolete?

That seemed to be the case on a quiet Tuesday night at The Men's Club, where beautiful girls halfheartedly "danced" more or less fully clothed on a runway for a few bored-looking men who were more interested in tie-loosening and Jack-sipping than anything else. They sat in cushioned wingback chairs amidst dim lighting and Toulouse-Lautrec prints on the walls, a cigar case squatting near the entrance and men in suits walking the floor to check on their customers. Sex seemed to be the last thing that was selling here. Is this the modern version of a gentleman's club?

If so, shouldn't it have better food?

I was shocked to find out that the Men's Club employs an actual chef, Dwight Stewart, who — by at least one account — is a pretty regular guy. Chef Jason Kerr, an occasional contributor at the Houston Press, interviewed Stewart last week independent of my review. It was a fairly standard interview, as our online Chef Chat series go. Stewart told Kerr he doesn't date the dancers, he actually works the line and he stays pretty low-key, rarely leaving the kitchen.

This, combined with a cursory glance at what looked like a pretty decent menu online, led me to the Men's Club in the first place. Unfortunately, I wasn't exactly impressed with Stewart's work.

On that initial Tuesday night, I was perhaps already in an uncharitable mood after paying $8.50 for a Jack and Coke that was mostly Coke, then another $8.50 for a shot of Jack that I bet went like this: Take a shot glass, put an ice cube in it, pour a little Jack Daniel's on the top, let it all melt, serve. Across the table, Glenn merely chuckled at me, a cold bottle of Budweiser in his hand. "You're doing it wrong, Shilcutt. They can't water down beer."

There are apparently many rules like this that I'm unfamiliar with, that Tuesday being my first visit ever to any strip club, anywhere, despite a nearly irrefutable rule that any Baylor grad had to catch a show at Sonny's BYOB by its legendary (and most likely fictitious) one-legged stripper. I almost wore it as a point of pride that I'd made it 30 years without setting foot in a strip club. But the hotel lobby-vibe at the Men's Club was only vaguely tinged with sleaze, certainly no more so than any regular club of the non-breast-baring variety.

By the time our entrées arrived, we had become uninterested in the girls onstage. There is no pole at the Men's Club, no mirrors, just a runway that leads halfway into the dining room on which the nearly identical-looking girls gyrate endlessly. At one point, I'd caustically remarked that one of them had "mom hair," to which Glenn replied, "Those are actual people up there, Katharine." He was being sarcastic, but it shamed me into silence for the rest of the meal. We talked about other things instead, or rather yelled into each other's face over the ear-numbing sounds of Flyleaf and Lit and other bands I'd thought faded into obscurity with the 1990s.

My lavender-crusted ahi tuna salad was the better of the two entrées, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it contained actual lavender and actual ahi tuna. Several pieces were draped over a mound of field greens that had been coated lugubriously with a peanut dressing that reminded me of a Chili's airport salad. Great? No. Inoffensive? Yes. And inoffensively priced at only $10.

Glenn's Kobe beef burger was most certainly not Kobe beef, but it was a decent pub-style burger. The mound of sturdy french fries that came with it nearly made up for the $9 price tag. The meat was sadly unseasoned, but the cloak of cheddar cheese beneath an eggy bun held it up stoically. I wouldn't order it again, but I'm not exactly the Men's Club target clientele, am I?

What the Men's Club does manage to do quite effectively is cater to its target clientele: the middle-aged men taking breaks from their home lives and the groups of young, frattish men who come in to impress each other and bump fists over bottles of MGD. Steak and shrimp nights with loaded baked potatoes. Half-priced menus on Tuesdays. Happy hour buffets with greasy finger foods. Crawfish boils in the summer. The food isn't good, but it isn't bad either.

On a recent Saturday night, another friend and I arrived well before the Men's Club starts charging a cover — 10 p.m. — to find the main room characteristically empty. There wasn't even a dancer onstage. My friend, a seasoned strip-club connoisseur, was bereft. Until our waitress came by, that is.

Oana was of Eastern European origin and — like the dancers — stunning. She asked for our drink orders, and my friend sputtered his out like an old lawn mower starting up. I asked to see the wine list, and then quickly gave it back when I saw the cheapest item was a $25 half-bottle of Kendall-Jackson amidst a list that had average bottles of Merlot listed at $1,050. Ordering the house wine by the glass seemed like a safer venture.

They really do gouge a hunk of your flesh on the drinks here, which seems to be how the Men's Club generates a lot of its revenue. I pondered this over an $8.50 glass of house Cabernet that tasted like room-temperature Manischewitz while our waitress sat back down with one of her regulars and resumed chatting with him, presumably for extra tips.

My friend looked somewhat longingly after her. "It's a shame she has to sit with that creepy old dude," he remarked. Then, a few minutes later, "Do you think I could pay her to just do a few laps in my living room? She smells so good." I ignored him and plowed heroically through my glass of warm, sugary wine.

Our dinner that night came out to $35, exclusive of wine. And for that, I can't fault the Men's Club. A down economy might be keeping big spenders off the main floor, but it also means that you can dine fairly cheaply here if you're a man with a big appetite out on the town.

Crab cakes were poorly constructed but filled with lashings of jumbo lump crab; these were heavily buttered, rendering the side ramekin of rémoulade nearly moot. Garlicky baked potato soup was clearly made from reconstituted potato flakes — something made even clearer when the same garlic mashed potatoes showed up as side items on both entrées — but would appeal to a certain type of unfussy palate. Salad was a steakhouse-type affair with great bunches of iceberg lettuce, bacon, tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs. And our entrées were large enough to feed two people each.

My dining companion's pork chop tasted like it had been cooked on a dirty grill, the flavor of old oil and charcoaled scrapings more pronounced than any pork flavor. But my chicken-fried steak was wonderful. I was gobsmacked. "I guess Sysco does some things right," my friend joked as he chewed a few bites of it. The soft steak inside cut easily with a fork, the nicely crunchy batter embracing it closely, never gummy, never flaky. It needed no gravy.

By the time our cheesecake arrived, I was too full to eat more than two bites. It tasted like the industrial-size cheesecakes that Costco sells, grout-thick and overly sweet. My dining companion, who I was beginning to think might become a regular, wolfed it down, then headed for the bathroom.

A few minutes later, he was back. "The bathroom attendant, this older Hispanic dude, was reading a cookbook," he reported.

"Really?" I sat up in my seat. "Which one?"

"Something by Escoffier," he replied.

"Escoffier?" I repeated, astonished. Maybe the wrong man is in the kitchen. As I ruminated on this bizarre arrangement — a bathroom attendant devouring classic French cooking tomes and a kitchen turning out mediocre steaks — a dancer finally took the stage. It was 10 p.m. My dining companion's eyes lit up.

"Is this really that interesting?" I asked as he admired the woman's long torso and flawless hair. "She's not naked. You aren't even going to interact with her. She's not interested in you."

"Well," he finally said after a long pause. "There are worse things to look at while you're eating."

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

Show Pages
 
My Voice Nation Help
49 comments
...........
...........

Would have preferred a simple review of the place and its food ,as opposed to the unnecessary information about your dinner. People read for reviews, not to find out how your dinner went or your incompetence to understand adult entertainment.

Root
Root

I miss the dailies that was the Houston Press concerning food.Nowadays it's all about lesbian what if's, Jerry Springer has more insightful commentary.

Fire Shillcutt. Or send her to Engineering, where she belongs.

Becky_Means
Becky_Means

Hi Katharine!

I've gone a *cough* few times to the Men's Club, but then I always go during happy hour, when the (finger/fried) food is free, there's no cover, and the drinks are a whopping $1.50. I always wondered if the off-the-menu stuff was comparable to the pics...

Mgula75
Mgula75

Wait, doesn't mens club advertise in your newspaper? And for like the last decade? I'm looking at it right now and cannot believe they haven't pulled the plug on you guys. With friends/partners like Houston Press, who needs enemies.

Madelynn
Madelynn

i like the cheese plate and the urban ranch melt! anyway i think the point of the high prices is "if u wont pay this much for food and/or drink, then u probably wont pay $20 for a dance". so if i see people appalled by the prices of "decent" food (i like pretty much all the food, and have tried the whole menu), then i already know they wont be interested in me. yes i am an entertainer there.

Mark P
Mark P

So I had to check out the place after this review. Mainly because its 3 blocks from my office and I wanted to see what average Merlot would be selling for $1000+ dollars! Turns out the "average merlot" wine "Amuse Bouche" is a highly allocated California cult merlot produced by Heidi Barrett who also makes wine for Screaming Eagle that costs $3900 at Del Friscos down the street. oops! I guess we didnt do our homework before writing this article. Also noticed 3 years worth of Awards of Excellence from the Wine Spectator Magazine proudly posted in the lobby. Thought I would try the food since I was already there and had the pork chops. I'm no food critic but thought they were great!

Jack Tyler44
Jack Tyler44

I posted a link to this article on my Facebook page, Culinary Houston... and it became overnight the single-most viewed article since we started the page. Talk about "hungry eyes"!

Colin
Colin

There is always an excuse (reason) does not mean it's a good excuse. There are 52 weeks in a year means if you work every week we get 52 reviews. In a city with...I don't know how many restaurants, taco trucks, holes in the wall, festivals, sports stadiums, street events and the places just outside the city you still wasted one week. Lazy.

ThomasTTU
ThomasTTU

You have to try the breakfast buffet from 2:00am to 4:00am. it is by far the best part about Mens Club

Lily
Lily

It's an interesting article and am not offended about the review.. just the P word..

Jennifer Groves
Jennifer Groves

We're reviewing strip club food now? Really?! What a joke.

rated t for terrific
rated t for terrific

Gotta go with the breakfast buffett. Anything else there is uncivilized. Side note - Gentlemans Club was ruined by pasties and uptight Townies with their morals, badges and shorts...lame.

Pickonsomeoneyourownsize
Pickonsomeoneyourownsize

the press has fallen to a new low...why are you wasting time and paying some one to write a food review based upon the food at the Men's club. Pathetic and an absolute shame when one considers the many great dining options in Houston.

I miss Robb Walsh!!

Bb
Bb

it all about the late night breakfast buffet

Stacey Efaw
Stacey Efaw

This article fails to mention that Monday – Friday TMC has no cover before 9 and $2 beers or house cocktails from 4 pm – 9 pm. Amateur article for not covering that point alone. The food is on par with a pub and should not be expected to be better, after all it is a strip club.

Seriously you guys
Seriously you guys

Yeah, you should've just run this last week and let it be an April Fools Day article.

Barneydrank34
Barneydrank34

Nailed it. I've always wondered why topless clubs so earnestly advertise their food at all. Is anyone going there to eat and revel in the cooking that is on par with most sports bars and pubs? If so, I've never met that person. Glenn has a better perspective: the women, da girlz. Maybe one can leverage the bad food inside the club, and get the girls to head out for a decent bite. That's been my strategy, and the results have been delicious.

Golferslk230
Golferslk230

What a waste of paper. Please go back to reviewing restaurants we might actually go to and skip the gratuitous comments. Whatever is the point. Really a new low.

Stef Edstrom
Stef Edstrom

hahah - this is hilarious! great write up. :)

Rosemary_Gaswint
Rosemary_Gaswint

I drive to work past The Men's Club every day and I've been cracking up AND curious since December when they put a truck in the parking lot advertising "super fine dining". I have not been to a strip club but I was actually pretty interested to know what kind of food they have there. I've never seen the appeal of strip clubs as I can just put on some White Snake, take off my shirt, and party "La Porte style" by myself for free as opposed to paying a cover so I thought I'd be in the dark forever. Thanks for taking one for the team, girl!

Scott Lynch
Scott Lynch

I've only had one experience with a meal at a strip club. This involved a former boss, me saving him about $500 on a set of memory chips for a Sun workstation, and a couple of steaks down at Heartbreakers in Dickenson. There are only three things I remember - the steak was pretty decent, and there was a very friendly Hispanic dancer who spent a fair amount of time at our table.

Mike
Mike

They don't have a lunchtime buffet anymore?

Mylifeisloud
Mylifeisloud

I'm reminded of my husband watching TV while eating. 3 or 4 bites in, glazed eyes fixed on the plasma, I ask if he likes it at which point he finally looks at his plate, says yes, takes a bite and says yes again with more enthusiasm. You don't taste what you don't notice.

Kleptofan
Kleptofan

You should have tried The Colorado on Southwest Freeway. They have a real honest to goodness restaurant that is actually good. And the girls are easy to look at.

Cap'n
Cap'n

Give this review a 10 on the unintentional comedy scale. I swear I thought it was stale April Fools Day article at first...

Brat
Brat

Surprised there wasn't a roast beef sandwich on the menu...

Side Show Bob
Side Show Bob

Titty bars in Houston I haven't been in a hundred years, after this article. I think i'll go another hundred or just ask the old lady to shimmy around abit after all we love each other

jacktyler
jacktyler

The great thing about "people" is that we're all different. Each has a different opinion about what is "unnecessary" information in a review... each reads a review for a different reason than many others... and strangely enough, many of us DO like to know how a reviewer's meal went. Also, some find it charming that Katharine isn't necessarily an expert on the subject of "adult entertainment". I might also point out that to many adults, entertainment doesn't HAVE to be in a titty bar. Possibly YOUR understanding of "adult entertainment", as well as what others might enjoy in a dining review are both a little narrow. Just a thought.

Milton
Milton

Don't forget Katharine also posts multiple blog posts a day as well as her weekly restaurant review and many other duties at the HP. She is FAR from lazy.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

You may consider this article a waste, but I seriously resent being called "lazy." Anyone who knows me can tell you that I work constantly and that it's a complete labor of love.

So I'm very sorry to tell you that although you could call me a lot of other things, you absolutely cannot call me lazy.

Cooter
Cooter

The P word was used in context as a quote. Get over it.

SuckIt
SuckIt

The Houston Press, your home for all time lows!

GL
GL

Extremely watered down house cocktails.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

This is a restaurant review, not a listing intended to advertise all of the Men's Club daily specials.

HORRIBLY OFFENDED
HORRIBLY OFFENDED

Yeah, how horrible that Katharine would write about a place that serves food. The nerve of some people, am I right?

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Just because you'd never eat at a strip club doesn't mean other people aren't interested in what their food might be like. See Rosemary's comment above.

jacktyler
jacktyler

Interesting that you mentioned Heartbreakers. I've never been there, but when heading to Galveston, I always thought that the Christian church that bought the billboard next door with the message "We Heal the Broken Hearted" was worth photographing.

As far as the review of the Men's Club food is concerned, I don't go there, but many do. Not sure a bad review would make much difference to them, but Katharine is merely catering to the entire readership of the Press. I enjoyed the review.

Craig Malisow
Craig Malisow

Just out of curiosity, Cap'n -- would you mind sharing which parts of this were unintentionally funny? I'm hoping you can elaborate.

Thanks,Craig

Talia
Talia

who cares. it's still offensive.

 
Loading...