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Dazzling Singaporean Food at Straits

Adventure in CityCentre

I found myself thinking of how wonderful the dish would be — especially the excellent crab cakes, which were almost all crab and very little binder — if served on top of roti prata, which could soak up the dense yolks from the perfectly poached eggs along with the tangy "butter laksa" sauce that made for a lovely Hollandaise replacement. (This said, the bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas at brunch went a long way towards making up for the one misstep.)

But the tenderloin was a great success, the meat tender and cooked to our requested medium-well with a tangy tamarind glaze that paired nicely with the smoky Brussels sprouts served on the side, hot and smoky from a run through the wok. In fact, the only disappointment of the night was the sashimi platter ordered inadvisedly from Straits's "raw bar."

The fish arrived still blanketed with a chill, the tuna rubbery and the yellowtail nearly flavorless. Only the fatty salmon was any good, but I felt quite taken paying $19 for nine pieces of mostly bland fish. Sashimi is best left to RA Sushi across the way at CityCentre (where I've had some terrific sushi in the past few months).

Whole fried striped bass is sweet with a rich chile basil marinade.
Troy Fields
Whole fried striped bass is sweet with a rich chile basil marinade.

Location Info

Map

Straits Restaurant

800 W. Sam Houston Parkway N.
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Flora & Muse

12860 Queensbury Lane, Ste. 143
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Ruggles Green

801 Town and Country Lane, Ste. 1B
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Cyclone Anaya's

800 W. Sam Houston Parkway N.
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Tex-Mex

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Eddie V's Prime Seafood Restaurant

12848 Queensbury Lane
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Yard House Houston

800 W. Sam Houston Parkway
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Tasting Room -- CityCentre

818 Town & Country Blvd.
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Outer Loop - NW

RA Sushi

12860 Queensbury
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Sushi

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays
Roti prata: $7
Singapore laksa noodle soup: $9
Roti John sandwich: $10
Fuji apple and prawn salad: $12
Hainan chicken: $16
Tamarind beef tenderloin: $24
Whole striped bass: $29

READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Straits Offers Adventurous Cuisine in CityCentre
BLOG POST: Two Ways to Get to Know Straits

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My dining companion and I certainly didn't let it ruin our night — a night spent outside in one of Straits's beautiful cabanas with a cool breeze ruffling the curtains and a view onto CityCentre's plush central lawn, lazy waterfalls and tufts of decorative flames dancing from fire-breathing sculptures in the main square.
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Not only was the bland sashimi a miss, the price was too. But while some dinner dishes can can climb into the mid-$30 range, Straits is normally quite accessible at lunch, both food- and price-wise. The crisp and cool dining room with its tall ceilings and swift, friendly service makes for a relaxing lunch hour, too.

Another one of the Americanized dishes that absolutely works is the Roti John sandwich, a heap of braised chicken (or beef, should you prefer it) on top of bread that mimics the buttery flake of roti prata. Tucked in along with the chicken are fairly standard accompaniments of lettuce, onion and tomato — and the whole thing is served with pretty standard french fries — but the sauces make the sandwich (and the fries). In lieu of mustard or mayo, you get a spicy and creamy tomato sauce — and along with regular ketchup for your fries, you also get a spicy housemade version of the stuff that's yards better than Heinz. It's a huge plate, and for only $10 it's easy to see why it's one of the most popular items on the menu.

Equally filling are the soups — which come in bowls big enough for three people to share — and the salads, especially the Fuji apple and prawn salad, of which I was only able to eat half. The six poached shrimp in the salad went fast, but the majority of the dish went home with me: julienned slices of sweet apples and crunchy jicama coated with a lemongrass-mint vinaigrette, a summery mix of flavors replicated in the lemongrass-mint soda that's my favorite of the house-made sodas on the menu.

Because I didn't realize the Singapore laksa (a type of coconut-based curry) noodle soup I ordered to go along with my salad would be served in quite so large a portion, it made several trips around the table that afternoon, to the delight of my dining companions. One even surreptitiously poured some into his own bowl, one that he'd already emptied of the broth that came along with his Hainan chicken, so that he didn't have to wait for the soup to come back around to him.

The creamy, curry-laced soup had an intriguing sour punch to it, livened up even more by little kicks of lime and crunch from the thick handful of bean sprouts that had been thrown on top. And as if it weren't already creamy enough, a poached egg swimming in the soup was breached to add an additional richness from the yolk that streamed out into the broth.

It was the kind of soup that was perfectly enjoyable on a warm, fall day — but one that I'm looking forward to guzzling down again during cooler temperatures. And one day soon when that crisp fall weather arrives, I'll be back on the sprawling, cabana-lined patio once again, with a big bowl of that creamy soup to kick off another trip through Straits's adventurous menu.

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5 comments
ekhilton
ekhilton

I've been a big fan for awhile, mostly because there just aren't many Singaporean spots around town and I'm completely addicted to the Roti....i call it crack bread. :)

beer_chris
beer_chris

@EatingOurWords so they really have good laksa? Really? The early reports were so bad I've never gone ...

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@beer_chris The early reports scared me off too, but I've had some great meals there in the last few months. Think they've really improved.

jrroz
jrroz

@EatingOurWords @beer_chris Food is much better than when they first opened. Service can be an issue

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@jrroz @beer_chris I heard about service being an issue too, but I've honestly had consistently great waitresses.

 
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