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Hot Diggity

Sammy's Wild Game Grill — the other wild game hot dog place in town — brings on the heat.

It's long been said that good artists borrow, and great artists steal. When Sammy's Wild Game Grill announced its opening many months back, the word on the street was that the men behind Moon Tower Inn were none too pleased to hear the news: The idea that two places in town would now be specializing in wild game hot dogs hit too close to home for the Second Ward icehouse whose bread and butter is its pretzel roll-encased wild game dogs.

But now with the news that Moon Tower Inn is shutting its doors for three months to renovate, it might be a good time to get to know Sammy's Wild Game Grill. It's not a great artist — it didn't steal Moon Tower Inn's concept outright by any means — but it's a good one, and the food is pretty good, too.

In fact, even though both places serve wild game dogs in pretzel buns, there's very little overlap between the two. Sammy's also serves sangria, margaritas and hamburgers — both of ordinary provenance and of wild game — as well as an assortment of fried sides: crispy french fries, sweet potato fries that are an industry standard but still tasty with a cup of Cajun rémoulade on the side, fried pickle chips and a chili-and-cheese-drenched pile of fries that's large enough to feed three people. The meat in the chili on top changes with the season; a few weeks ago, it was rattlesnake. When I went in just last week, it had already changed to elk.

The pheasant dog pairs nicely with a bottle of Fireman's #4.
Troy Fields
The pheasant dog pairs nicely with a bottle of Fireman's #4.

Location Info

Map

Sammy's Wild Game Grill

3715 Washington Ave.
Houston, TX 77007

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Heights

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday through Saturday
Angus beef burger: $7.95
BBQ pulled wild boar sandwich: $8.95
Game trio sliders: $10
Wild sausage hot dogs: $6.50
Sweet potato fries: $3.25
Chili-cheese fries: $6.95


READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Hot Dog! Sammy's Wild Game Grill
BLOG POST: Sammy's Wild Game Grill: Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery


Those weren't the only things I noticed that were different: Notably, there is virtually no overlap in the clientele between Sammy's and Moon Tower. I can't picture button-up-shirted yuppies enjoying frozen margaritas at Moon Tower any more than I can picture hipsters on fixies enjoying sliders at Sammy's. For better or worse, both places have their niche. And Sammy's is settling into its niche just fine.
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On a recent Friday night, my dining companion and I settled into a comfortable pub-style table facing two of Sammy's three flat-screen TVs and waited for our orders to come out. He was sucking down a sangria swirled with a margarita, both of which were wine-based and too sweet for my tastes. But boy, was he going to town on that stuff.

"You can really taste the wine," he enthused. So I may not be the target audience for wine-based mixed drinks, but he certainly is, and Sammy's offers up as good a frozen sangria as any place and — I'll have to admit — a frozen margarita that tastes far better than your typical frozen wine drinks.

My dining companion was really the target audience for a place like Sammy's in general, which is why I brought him. He lapped up the three different sporting events playing on TV just as he did that margarita, plowed through the sweet potato fries with glee and polished off both his own wild game dog and the nub-end of my own. He liked the deer head mounted on the wall, the John Deere tractor signs and shadowboxed Texas flag mounted on the construction site-orange walls. He toyed with the little flags that came planted in our hot dogs to tell us which was which (a problem, by the way, that Moon Tower could neatly solve with flags like these, although the flags seem too purposeful to make an appearance there).

Neither of our dogs had lasted long, wrapped in those warm Slow Dough pretzel buns that seem purpose-built to house sausages inside; they hold everything in place without fear of the dogs or topping departing from the back end every time you take a bite, and they are soft enough that you can bite through the entire thing without crushing your sausage and condiments into oblivion. The condiments here range from toppings to sauces, and you get three toppings with your dogs: raw onions, fried onions, bacon bits, sauerkraut, purple cabbage, jalapeños, feta cheese or regular old relish.

I had my pheasant dog fixed up with fried onions, sauerkraut and purple cabbage, in an attempt to make a Texan-German hybrid dog. It worked splendidly, the crunch of the cabbages and onions partnering up with the tender meat of the pheasant. My friend's venison dog was equally good, the meat so fresh-tasting that it could have shone brightly all by itself.

The friendly guys behind the counter had brought over extra sauces for us to taste with our food that night, since we'd had a difficult time deciding between the habanero ketchup, aji mayonnaise and the Cajun rémoulade. All three ended up being winners, but it was the ghost pepper sauce that surprised me the most. I'd been looking at the little unlabeled bottles of saffron-colored sauce near the register when one of the Sammy's employees caught me and asked, "Do you like spicy stuff?" The answer to this question has already been firmly established; I love spicy stuff.

He told me that Sammy's makes the ghost pepper sauce in-house and has been experimenting with getting just the right heat level in the stuff. You can buy a bottle and take it home for $10, and after tasting it, I think I'll be buying a flat of it for Christmas presents.

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9 comments
evanandsuch
evanandsuch

This is what is wrong with the Houston food scene. There are nearly five million people living in the extended metro area yet Moon Tower thinks they should be the only spot in town doing what they do in any shape or form? There seems to be that attitude throughout the city. "They are already doing that so we can not or should not." What codswallop. We need more Moon Towers, More Reefs, more Damarcos, and More Kata Robatas. New and innovative is wonderful but seeing a concept and either tweeking it or actually improving upon it is also perfectly valid. Mexican places and burger joints seem fine doing this, why can not others have the courage to emulate them.

Josh
Josh

First positive review I've heard from someone I trust. Still slim to no chance I set foot in there. The initial douche sleaze factor wafted off that place like an axe drenched frat boy rolling off a roofied freshman.

Oh and $10 for a no overhead no distro cost hot sauce? fuuuuck off. and a ghost pepper sauce...shockingly mti did that first too, I guess that's the running theme though.

Walter
Walter

I really like this place but if they don't get rid of the automatic air freshener inside their dining area, I will never return. It reeks of a Febreeze like scent and NO ONE wants to smell that when biting into a perfectly cooked wild game burger!

Get rid of the air freshener in your dining area Sammy's... maybe you can put it in the restrooms!

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

Contender for the worst sentence ever written. Make that post.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I gotta say, I sensed absolutely no dudebro/frat boy vibes at Sammy's either inside or out on my visits. And you know I'd say so if I did. ;)

Beau
Beau

Some say the same thing about setting foot in MTI.

The initial douche hipster factor wafts off that place like a sweat soaked messenger bagged fixie rider combing his handlebar mustache while wearing cheap knock off red Ray Bans under a faux Girl Talk headband.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

God, I wish that I'd mentioned that in the review. Thanks for reminding me. The Febreeze-scented thing must go.

Josh
Josh

Much like this reviews sister article says, Imitation trolling is the sincerest form of flattery.

illegal1
illegal1

Thanks for the heads-up. I've passed by there multiple times and just have not gotten around to the place, but now I am determined to stop by.

 
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