After finding critical acclaim but an insufficient market, Peruvian restaurant Piqueo was closed to make way for 429 American Grille. The idea was to convert it into a steak and burger place. The steak is good, especially the fillet accented with either chimichurri or the house-made steak sauce (think A-1). However, the burgers miss the mark. A buffalo burger emerged woefully overcooked (no one asked how we’d like it prepared), and while a Wagyu burger cooked to a proper medium-rare was juicy, it needed the kind of tang and pop that only pickles or roasted red bell peppers could give. It should probably be no surprise that the dishes that are exemplary here are the ones that rely on the experience and background of 429’s well-traveled owners. Perky fresh shrimp atop creamy grits accented with Spanish sherry sauce was a revelation, like sunshine breaking through clouds: a classic Southern dish viewed through a sophisticated, worldly lens. Why do we think that an “American” grill has to serve burgers and steaks? Why can’t an “American” grill reflect the diversity of Houston? If viewing common dishes through that international lens results in more dishes like the shrimp and grits with sherry sauce, consider us on board for the journey.
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