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  • Article

    What Tex-Mex? - The fish is so good at Tampico, you'll ignore its other treats

    Any Houstonian with half a nose for the local cuisine can direct an out-of-towner to the best Mexican plate or the freshest Gulf seafood. But where does one direct a group of visitors who want these tastes under one comfortable roof? Look no further ...

    by Dennis Abrams on October 21, 1999
  • Dish - Barnaby's Jones for Expansion

    Article

    Dish - Barnaby's Jones for Expansion

    Depending on how you count them, there are now three Barnaby Cafes, or at least two and a half. The newest Barnaby's location [1701 South Shepherd, (713)520-5131] opened September 27 in the space abruptly vacated by Cafe Take Away this summer (which ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 21, 1999
  • Hot Plate

    Article

    Hot Plate

    Dynamite Dining: Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen [1962 West Gray, Suite 213, (713)528-3474] might not be the first place you think of for a fast, cheap lunch, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it should be. Those are the only days the $5 seafood pasta...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 21, 1999
  • The Perils  of Glitz - Masraff's succeeds when it's subtle and thoughtful-which isn't often

    Article

    The Perils of Glitz - Masraff's succeeds when it's subtle and thoughtful-which isn't often

    All the air-kissing should have been a tip-off. Actually, the noise level was the first clue. Masraff's on South Post Oak Lane is a big, glitzy, almost garish new restaurant with lots and lots of faux marble surfaces, seemingly designed for noise t...

    by Dennis Abrams on October 14, 1999
  • Tray Magnifique - Cafeterias don't get any better than Cedars

    Article

    Tray Magnifique - Cafeterias don't get any better than Cedars

    Sending me to review a cafeteria is a bit like sending Bill Clinton to judge the Miss America pageant. In theory, it's not such a bad idea. In practice, there's potential for disaster. Cafeterias bring out the worst in me. Choosing my selections fr...

    by Dennis Abrams on October 14, 1999
  • Dish - Dark Day at Toopees

    Article

    Dish - Dark Day at Toopees

    On a recent Sunday afternoon, a friend and his fiance decided to stop by Toopees Coffee Company & Catering [1830 West Alabama, (713)522-7662] for a leisurely brunch. Toopees is normally a relax-and-kick-back place, a gathering spot for the Montrose ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 14, 1999
  • Hot Plate

    Article

    Hot Plate

    Yes, This Is Houston: Superb fried chicken at a Vietnamese steak house? Oh, why the heck not? The succulent Cajun-fried Cornish hen at Super Steak & More [2826 Kirby, (713)523-3200] will suspend your disbelief. The trick, says owner Joe Ng, is deep-f...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 14, 1999
  • Making Waves - An ambitious restaurant displaces the bait-shop boys

    Article

    Making Waves - An ambitious restaurant displaces the bait-shop boys

    This summer a revolutionary concept was introduced to Galveston's West Beach: fine dining. Now, I'm not just being a citified food snob: This is one of few things that born-on-the-islanders and snowbirds like me can agree upon. Since the closing of...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 7, 1999
  • Article

    Dish - The Last Days of Lido

    Those whispers you've been hearing about the closing of Lido [3201 Travis, (713)523-9295] are true. "Yeah, the rumors are ugly," says Khon Lu, whose parents own the restaurant. "But they're all true. We are definitely shutting it down." The last ti...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 7, 1999
  • Hot Plate

    Article

    Hot Plate

    Just say, "Red Beans and Ricely Yours," as Louis Armstrong used to sign his letters. The national dish of Louisiana can be found on the chalkboard menu every day at Creole's Louisiana Cuisine [2933 Walnut Bend Lane, (713)785-2340]. Two heaping scoops...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on October 7, 1999
  • Secrets of Sonoma - During the day, it's almost invisible. But at night...

    Article

    Secrets of Sonoma - During the day, it's almost invisible. But at night...

    Drive past Sonoma restaurant by day, and you'll be, at best, puzzled. That's assuming you even find it, tucked away on the short stretch of California Street between Commonwealth and Waugh. (Sonoma, on California, get it?) The two-story building of w...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 30, 1999
  • Chicken Soup for the  Cajun Soul - The Gumbo Shop ministers to New Orleans refugees

    Article

    Chicken Soup for the Cajun Soul - The Gumbo Shop ministers to New Orleans refugees

    Most people know New Orleans restaurants via the upscale culinary temples that have made Creole cuisine famous, places such as Commander's Palace, Galatoire's and Brennan's. These luxurious places are renowned for their elaborate preparations and ric...

    by Dennis Abrams on September 30, 1999
  • Article

    Dish - Ale House Brawl

    An ugly rumor predicting the imminent demise of The Ale House [2425 West Alabama, (713)521-2333] has been making the rounds lately. The Ale House will be demolished, the story goes, to make way for the parking lot of a new retail center. You see, t...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 30, 1999
  • Hot Plate

    Article

    Hot Plate

    But It Hurts So Good: The high-intensity Chocolate Suicide Cake concocted by the Phoenix Bakery and Coffee House in Galveston [2228 Ships Mechanic, (409)763-4611] poses a triple-layered threat of death by chocolate. Velvety layers of moist, dark choc...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 30, 1999
  • The Buzz - Chic, minimal decor. Healthy food. An urban attitude. And it's where?

    Article

    The Buzz - Chic, minimal decor. Healthy food. An urban attitude. And it's where?

    Close your eyes and picture a chic yet comfortable urban cafe. Sunday-morning sunlight pours through tall windows, fashionably softened by bleached canvas shades. Chalkboard menus hang over counters of warm-toned polished oak; ceiling fans twirl lazi...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 23, 1999
  • Pasta   la Goth

    Article

    Pasta la Goth

    Many people's image of an Italian trattoria comes directly from the Cher film Moonstruck: a small, family-run place with checkered tablecloths, Dean Martin crooning softly and a genial host who knows exactly what pasta you need to suit your mood. B...

    by Dennis Abrams on September 23, 1999
  • Article

    Dish - Quantifying Happy Hour

    One of the thousand-plus new laws passed by the last Texas legislative session reduced the legal level of intoxication from a blood-alcohol content of .10 percent to .08 percent, effective September 1. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driv...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 23, 1999
  • Hot Plate

    Article

    Hot Plate

    Sharp Shooters: The fat and snappy pickled cherry peppers on offer from the Euro-market at Urban Foods [909-A Texas, (713)225-FOOD] are plumply stuffed with a hundred folds of salty prosciutto di Parma and firm ivory wedges of provolone cheese, then ...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 23, 1999
  • East  Meets Best - Scott Chen opened Houston's top Chinese restaurant. Now he wants to run Houston's top restaurant. Period.

    Article

    East Meets Best - Scott Chen opened Houston's top Chinese restaurant. Now he wants to run Houston's top restaurant. Period.

    The tale of chef Scott Chen's two restaurants is an interesting lesson in Houston's restaurant geopolitics. Even though Chen's first restaurant has garnered recognition from all over the United States, it remains relatively unknown in its hometown....

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 16, 1999
  • Dish - Pico-boo. Now you see Don Pico's. Now you don't.

    Article

    Dish - Pico-boo. Now you see Don Pico's. Now you don't.

    A couple of months ago I was surprised to notice two -- count 'em, two -- new tenants bravely launched at the long-shuttered corner of Richmond and Greenbriar. (I guess I thought the Gulf Freeway would be finished before these properties were o...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on September 16, 1999
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