Best Pre-Theater Restaurant Houston 2006 - Perbacco
Open for dinner Thursday through Saturday nights only, this red-checkered-tablecloth Italian restaurant caters to theater and concert hall patrons eating a pre-performance meal. The prices are reasonable, the food can be good, and the atmosphere is friendly and fun. Order fresh-tasting dishes off the daily special board -- grilled salmon and spinach salad or gnocchi in blue cheese sauce -- rather than more mundane menu items such as baked lasagna and cannelloni. At lunchtime, Perbacco switches to counter service and serves up fast, tasty and inexpensive lunches to the downtown crowd. Best Drive-Thru If the world had a clue, KFC would not be colonizing Latin American plazas, Chinese malls and Parisian boulevards. Instead, everyone would bow down to Frenchy's, and the Third Ward institution would consummate its global chicken empire with a gleaming skyscraper in downtown Houston. Alas, we live in a world of fools, a place where Frenchy's is consigned to a dingy shack plagued by flies and homeless people, a place where white kids from the adjacent University of Houston are too scared to walk up to the stainless-steel counter and order the three-piece "college special." (With red beans and rice, a biscuit, a jalape?o, a strawberry drink and a peach cobbler, it's doubtless one of the best meals money can buy anywhere.) The birds are crunchy and juicy and Creole-spiced in a way that makes Popeyes look like a Bourbon Street tourist trap. Fortunately, the Frenchy's drive-thru window spreads the gospel. Patrons posting to the foodie Web site B4-U-EAT.com talk of bringing home 50 to 75 wings at a time. With a drive-thru wait that can stretch upwards of 45 minutes, you'd best stock up when you can.