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  • Article

    Hot Plate

    I know there's a rock-and-roll heaven. I've been there. And I know there's a pizza heaven, too. I've been there, also. Want to find these pearly gates? Well, luckily for you, it doesn't involve spiritual exercises. Just head on out to Nick-N-Willy's ...

    by Eric Lawlor on August 13, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Devising Crescendo Endings Let us now praise famous pastry chefs. Sure, those white-hatted culinary wizards who make the savory appetizers and hearty entrees get all the credit, but let's be honest: What does the diner (if not the dentist) look f...

    by Bob Ruggiero on August 13, 1998
  • Article

    Mix Master - Pignetti's does a good job of blending flavors from Europe, Asia and the American Southwest

    Considering that Pignetti's is still in diapers -- it opened in early July -- this is a place remarkable for its poise. But once in a while, it reveals its inexperience. When three of us lunched there recently, the restaurant was relatively quiet, an...

    by Eric Lawlor on August 13, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    A Walk Through Chinatown For many, "dim sum" might be a term to accurately reflect the balance in their checking accounts. But to aficionados of Chinese food, it's a tasty Cantonese specialty. And if your exposure to foods of the Orient is usuall...

    by Bob Ruggiero on August 6, 1998
  • Article

    A Different Kind of Steak House - Chimi-Churris South American Grill has great steak and fabulous roasted potatoes

    I don't normally like steak houses. The spectacle of men, most of whom don't know a good steak from a bad one, happily forking out $30 for a T-bone that may or may not be mediocre is one I find profoundly depressing. Chimi-Churris South American...

    by Eric Lawlor on August 6, 1998
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Mortadella may be new to you. It was to me. A lightly smoked Italian sausage -- usually ham, though there are pork and beef versions as well -- it's studded with pistachios and seasoned with parsley, basil and cilantro. (Traditionalists add myrtle --...

    by Eric Lawlor on August 6, 1998
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    There's no telling what you're going to find at Chapultepec Mexican Restaurant (813 Richmond, 522-2365). The last time I was there, a Howard Stern look-alike -- or then again, it might have been the man himself -- sat slumped in a corner; and the tim...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 30, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Romance at Renata's "Do you know how many agreements have been signed on these tables for millions of dollars?" Sam Hannoush, owner/manager of Renata's (2006 Lexington, 523-2428), asks, sweeping his hand across the elegantly decorated restaurant ...

    by Bob Ruggiero on July 30, 1998
  • Article

    Pleasure Palace - Aleppo's Grille offers more good food than can be negotiated in one visit

    Over the years, Aleppo has suffered any number of setbacks. This city in northern Syria was, at various times, controlled by the Hittites, held by the Persians, seized by the Arabs, conquered by the Seljuk Turks, sacked by the Crusaders, captured by ...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 30, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Stranger Than Sushi The president of the Benihana Japanese steak-house chain was recently in Houston not only to check out the newest Benihana in Sugar Land (2579 Town Center Boulevard), but to scout potential locations for his new restaurant con...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on July 23, 1998
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    It's not true, as some have suggested, that I grew up eating steak and kidney pie. What I did grow up eating was another pub-grub mainstay, the so-called ploughman's lunch. I can't say which I enjoyed more: the lunch or the attendant danger. But I'll...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 23, 1998
  • Article

    Latina Nueva - Mixed-up geography and all, Amazon 2050 A.D. is on its way with some good dishes

    Yes, I admit it, I'm gullible, but when a restaurant calls itself Amazon 2050 A.D., I expect rain forest, chattering monkeys, tree frogs, brilliantly colored butterflies and, at the very least, a macaw or two. Am I being overly literal here? Probably...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 23, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Life After Leno Shades of The Truman Show: Imagine waking up one morning to find Jay Leno mentioned you the night before. That's exactly what happened to local restaurateur John Crapitto back in April. Leno displayed a blown-up copy of the advert...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on July 16, 1998
  • Article

    Modest Mex - Bocados has the good sense not to get fancy

    I like Bocados very much, though it can sometimes be tough on the nerves. Because the door has a tendency to stick, it's a struggle just getting into the place. My guests, in fact, couldn't get in at all and were forced to wave their arms and make fu...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 16, 1998
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    How do I spell relief? The way everyone does: B-R-E-A-D P-U-D-D-I-N-G. There's lots of great bread pudding in Houston. It's one of the reasons I live here. But the very, very best is the chocolate/sour-cherry kind ($6.50) available at, what for bread...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 16, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Lupe's, Inside the Loop What is it about that west Houston neighborhood phenomenon, Lupe's Tortillas (318 Stafford Street, [281] 496-7580), that has won so many devotees over the years? I can't think of many Houston eateries whose customers regul...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on July 9, 1998
  • Article

    Down-Home Delights - Meat loaf with Lipton soup! And other mom-food pleasures at the Heart and Soul Cafe

    Describing The Heart and Soul Cafe to a friend, I mentioned that the place was owned and operated by two sisters. "Don't tell me," he said. "One's a workhorse, and the other's a glamour puss, right?" Not right at all. The sisters in question, We...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 9, 1998
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    Do you know what's wrong with Houston? We don't sweat enough. That's why I'm so devoted to the huevos rancheros ($4.95) at Goode Company Hamburgers and Taqueria (4902 Kirby, 520-9153). They open the pores. Which is more than cleansing: It's almost a ...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 9, 1998
  • Article

    Hot Plate

    I'm not sure what I find so compelling about the barbecue sandwich ($3.35) served at Demeris (2911 South Shepherd, 529-7326, and branches). It might be the sauce of tomatoes, Worcestershire, liquid smoke and lemons (added last to give heft and comple...

    by Eric Lawlor on July 2, 1998
  • Article

    Dish

    Changing of the Swiss Guard You'd never suspect from the prim exterior of Andre's Tea Room that an oh-so-quiet revolution has occurred within its venerable walls. For the past 27 years, Andre's has seemed as immutable as Heidi's grandfather, tuck...

    by Margaret L. Briggs on July 2, 1998
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