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Solid Comfort: Every Neighborhood Needs a Place Like Adair Kitchen

If you've been missing your mom's cooking, try Adair Kitchen

A favorite option is the chicken and waffles. It was originally offered only at breakfast, but it became so popular that it was added to the dinner menu as well. It is, perhaps, not the healthiest item on the dinner menu (far from it, in fact), but it's completely worth forgoing the roughage of a salad or side of veggies to devour the whole thing. The chicken tenders are, well, tender on the inside, and the batter on the outside is crispy and spicy to counter the sweetness of the waffle.

At the server's suggestion, I ordered the "simple green chicken enchiladas" for dinner. Enchiladas, though a staple of Houston Tex-Mex-lovers' diets, are not something I usually order because I'm still scarred from the enchilada platters I was served in my elementary-school cafeteria. I'm working on getting over that. This one was worlds away from my school lunch, though. It reminded me of California enchiladas instead of Tex-Mex. There was nothing greasy on the plate, and instead of refried beans and Spanish rice, I got black beans and cilantro rice. It was one of the least heavy enchilada platters I've ever encountered, and it made me feel like I was somehow doing Mexican food the healthy way. That said, it's filled with enough juicy grilled chicken that I couldn't finish the whole thing and had to take some home for later.

It irks me when restaurants make great dinners and then send out mediocre desserts, but Adair Kitchen did not disappoint in that respect. I ordered the bread pudding expecting a small ramekin of dry, raisin-filled bread, but what I got was a mound of moist monkey bread filled with thinly sliced apples surrounded by a puddle of crème anglaise and topped with a hefty scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream. I liked the enchiladas and the chicken and waffles quite a bit, but as soon as I had a bite of the bread pudding, I regretted that I hadn't just ordered two plates of that for dinner. The apples combined with the cinnamon in the bread and the custard sauce turned a dish that can easily be boring and stale into a masterpiece of a dessert.

If your cute Southern grandma made chicken and waffles with an old family recipe, this is what they would be.
Troy Fields
If your cute Southern grandma made chicken and waffles with an old family recipe, this is what they would be.

Location Info

Map

Adair Kitchen

5161 San Felipe St.
Houston, TX 77056

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Galleria

Details

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

House bacon batter waffles: $5.95
Omelette: $6.25
Crispy chicken and waffles: $9.50
French toast: $6.25
BYOS (Build Your Own Salad): $8+
Sirloin burger: $9.95
Simple green chicken enchiladas: $11.95
Fresh juices: $8
Cocktails: $7



View More:

Slideshow: A Closer Look at Adair Kitchen


My lunch visit was slightly less pleasant, if only because my BYOS (Build Your Own Salad) seemed overpriced for something I could, indeed, easily build myself. The BYOS comes with a lengthy ingredient list on a mini clipboard, and you simply check off which ingredients you want from dozens of options. I chose to add a piece of salmon to my $8 salad, which increased the price by $4.50, but the field greens, tomatoes, olives and feta weren't anything special for the $12.50 total. The lemon vinaigrette tasted like straight-up lemon juice, so I suggest you order the dressing on the side lest you get an unpleasant surprise like I did.

I also ordered a sirloin burger to go for a hungry coworker, which no one thought to tell me was ready and waiting for me until I went up to the back counter by the kitchen and asked. We were frustrated to find the burger way overcooked to the point of being tough, but I'm the type who likes her meat still bleeding. I'd still go back for lunch if I was in the neighborhood, but I think I'd get more bang for my buck with a soup-and-salad combo or grilled tilapia tacos.

For those on the go or in search of a healthier option than chicken and waffles or burgers, Adair Kitchen has a juice bar featuring six juices any time of day. I opted for the Ginger Spice — a mixture of spinach, carrots, green apples, celery, ginger and lemon juice that tastes like some sort of blended Asian salad — after the helpful fellow at the counter informed me that the Kalelujah juice was tasty but would have me running for the bathroom in about half an hour. I guess I appreciate the helpful word of warning.

Like Mom's comfortable, well-stocked kitchen, Adair Kitchen has everything you need and nothing you don't. It's a useful restaurant. It's filling a niche for young people who, like owners Nick and Katie, miss Mama's cooking, and it provides a pleasant, homey environment for businesspeople and ladies who lunch. It's not breaking new ground in the Houston food scene or creating innovative combinations to astound jaded diners. Though perhaps, in a world of molecular gastronomy and fusion everything, that's the biggest innovation a restaurant can make.

kaitlin.steinberg@houstonpress.com

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10 comments
JayPFrancis
JayPFrancis

I really wanted to enjoy the chicken and waffle at Adair's. As many of you know, I have dedicated this year to exploring fried chicken (www.thefriedchickenblog.blogspot.com). And I always hesitate to say anything negative about a local restaurant in print. But I have to throw out a real caveat emptor on this dish. The waffle comes to the table soaked in about 1/2 cup of syrup, a lot of butter and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Sugary sweet. Gratefully, no micro greens. But if your thoughts on this dish lean toward "savory" I don't think you will be happy with it. The chicken...well, three chicken "strips", dry and nothing to write home about. On the day that I went, the waffle was also half cooked. I advised the staff and they offered me a "pancake" instead. I guess my point is that the Adair family may want to have a closer look at what is coming out of the kitchen for this dish. If it gets a lot of return business, then please don't hesitate to ignore my comments. But if you find that diners order this dish once and never again, you may want to re-think it.

Nate
Nate

Best hash browns in town.

Great Memorial area people watching.

Very popular every time I have gone.  Packed at lunch, busy at breakfast.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

Kaitlin,

You should go try the enchiladas suizas at Hugo's for another great enchilada dish that is not Tex Mex.  And for the best Tex Mex enchiladas, should you ever get over your irrational fear, Lopez.

NickAdair
NickAdair

Kaitlin-

Thank you so much for the write up. We really appreciate all the kind words. Its obvious you took the time to get a thorough feel for Adair Kitchen and it means so much to us. We know we are a work-in-progress and are excited to keep improving into our second year.  Please ask for me next time you stop-by as I would love to thank you in person! Thanks again!

Nick Adair

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Another quality review, I'm not waiting an hour plus in line at the breakfast klub for chicken and waffles, this sounds like a fine alternative.


JayPFrancis
JayPFrancis

Clarification: they did offer to make me a fresh waffle, but when I declined, they then asked me if I would like a pancake. Apologies for the incomplete chronology.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@ShitThrowingMonkey I love Tex-Mex in general, but yeah, I'm still a little scared from what my school cafeteria used to call "enchiladas."

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@gossamersixteen I definitely recommend it. The food won't blow your mind with its cutting edge exoticism, but you'll leave happy and super full!

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@KaitlinS @gossamersixteen We're talking comfort food here; I'm not expecting Ferran Adria or David Chang to show up and whip up some unholy gastronomically pure version of chicken and waffles in a test tube or foam. :)

 
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