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BlackFinn's Average American

Midtown "grille" offers something for everyone.

The third space is the Grille Room, which is relaxed and casual — and also where BlackFinn's corporate roots are most obvious (it's a chain based in Charlotte, North Carolina). It has a vaguely Western design aesthetic outfitted in Embassy Suites-style decor complete with hotel conference-room carpet on the floor. And although I typically hate carpet in restaurants, it's a godsend here. How much louder would the Grille Room be without it?

The last of the four spaces is the Dining Room, in which I had my best meal at BlackFinn to date.
_____________________

Understand, of course, that "best meal to date" at BlackFinn is highly arbitrary.

Flatbreads are a good option at happy hour.
Troy Fields
Flatbreads are a good option at happy hour.

Location Info

Map

BlackFinn American Grille

1910 Bagby St.
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Downtown/ Midtown

Cyclone Anaya's

309 Gray St.
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > Tex-Mex

Region: Downtown/ Midtown

Majorca

207 W. Gray
Houston, TX 77002

Category: Restaurant > Spanish

Region: Downtown/ Midtown

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Crab cake sliders: $7.99
Roasted vegetable flatbread: $10.99
Crab tower: $12.99
Skillet mac-n-cheese with pork: $13.99
Bacon-wrapped meatloaf: $14.99
BlackFinn Hot Chocolate: $6.99

READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: 11,000 Square Feet of Dining at BlackFinn American Grille
BLOG POST: Which Houston Restaurants Are Dog-Friendly? BlackFinn Is Just One

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The lunch I enjoyed with a friend was in this far calmer setting that's billed as "polished casual" (a sample of BlackFinn's own corporate-ese, which is so hilariously turned that I revel in finding examples of it everywhere; the muggy Patio that faces a parking garage has a "coastal, romantic feel" while the Grille Room offers "timeless comfort"). The Dining Room is decorated with silly bits of Texana, from glossy photos of bluebonnets to a mock oil rig over some of the booths. But it's at least grown-up and quiet in here.

My friend ordered crab-cake sliders; I got a patty-melt burger. Both were perfectly fine lunches. The crab cakes were knitted together nicely and actually tasted of crab, while the buns that held them in place were soft and buttery. My patty melt was cooked as requested — the burger was a pleasant pink inside — and the caramelized onions and garlic-herb cream cheese on top added respectable layers of flavor to the entire sandwich. The rye bread was sliced too thinly to hold up to the patty's juices and fell apart quickly, but I could not complain that the beef wasn't good. Even the fries on both of our plates were well done: relatively thick, seasoned and crispy, but not mealy or too soft inside.

It was a triumph of a meal compared to my previous dinner there and called to mind fonder memories of those flatbreads at happy hour. But is it a triumph compared to other restaurants of its type? Not really. BlackFinn isn't even the best restaurant in this part of Midtown, with excellent Spanish tapas just down the street at Majorca and good, old-fashioned Tex-Mex around the corner at Cyclone Anaya's.

BlackFinn plays it incredibly safe (if incredibly loud). It's not here to dazzle or even to do anything different. It's here to provide you with relatively inexpensive beer and basic burgers, late at night, on the patio with your dog or heading out to the clubs with your friends — for better or worse.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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8 comments
StrobotAllen
StrobotAllen

Blackfinne is decent bar food.  They gave me a lot of nachos with a generous amount of toppings.  The waitress is usually pretty good to service the table despite the inordinate amount of under 30 "patrons" buzzing about.  Drinks are mixed all right--better than a number of other midtown spots.  And there are lots of young, post sororiety hotties running around with those godforsaken minimalist single string flat sandals--you know the one i'm talking about!

DahVeeD
DahVeeD

I wouldn't go as far as calling Cyclone Anaya's " Old Fashioned Mexican". Tex Mex is much more like it. Really good Tex-Mex.

BigOmaha
BigOmaha

Probably shouldn't mention peoples names when relating an overheard dinner conversation.  Especially one that includes "My Mother would kill me if she knew I was drinking during Ramadan" 

Matthew
Matthew

sounds like a perfectly good "compromise location" for when no one can agree what they want. it won't make anyone really happy, but won't piss any one off either.

Carol Rodriguez-Sentonnian
Carol Rodriguez-Sentonnian

Average is too good of a word. I also was recommended the macaroni & pulled pork. Horrific! Obnoxious customers & I would rather eat at Chili's! The mixed drinks were a joke too.

stusnow1
stusnow1

Never been there and, per your review, will never go.

 

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

 @BigOmaha Probably should not be broadcasting your names in a drunken state in a public place if you want to fly under the radar......

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editortopcommenter

 @BigOmaha Areej and Gupta are pretty common names, especially in Houston. It's the same as calling out people named "Stephanie" and "Tom" in an article. Now, if the peoples' names were "Kajagoogoo" and "Bananarama" (miss you '80s; call me) I'd probably be a bit more careful...

 
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