Restaurant Reviews

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Globalization's McBacklash Globalization's McBacklash
Guatemala’s Pollo Campero has American fast-food franchises running scared
, January 16, 2003
At 11:52 a.m., I ease into the line of cars waiting to pull in to the parking lot of the new fried chicken franchise Pollo Campero. The traffic... More >>
New Digs, Old Tricks New Digs, Old Tricks
The Riviera Grill has moved downtown, but it doesn't know how to make an urban statement
, January 09, 2003
In 1924, the year the Sam Houston Hotel first opened, Damon Runyon was America's best-read journalist. With an incredible eye for detail, Runyon... More >>
Feeling Lucky? Feeling Lucky?
Score big at the Lucky Pot noodle shop
, January 02, 2003
It's lunchtime and all ten tables at the Lucky Pot noodle shop are taken. Aside from me and my dining companion, the only other Anglo in the... More >>
Mexican, Straight Up Mexican, Straight Up
Pondering the similarities between rock and roll and Mexican food at Hugo's
, December 26, 2002
"Rock and roll is like Mexican food. As it improves in quality it stops being what it is," wrote Dave Hickey in The Village Voice in 1975. I... More >>
Not That Turkey Not That Turkey
Where have all the Turkish restaurants been? Hiding in plain sight as "Mediterranean" cafes.
, December 19, 2002
Hot flatbread in one hand, knife in the other, I am poised to attack. But I hesitate, momentarily overwhelmed by the seductive excess before me.... More >>
Drink Pink Drink Pink
Rosé champagnes compete in our third annual sparkler shoot-out
, December 12, 2002
Delicious Mischief is the name of a radio program about food and wine on KRTS 92.1 FM. It's also an apt description of the impish rascality... More >>
Mystery Meat Mystery Meat
Maverick's motto may be "Supper + Whiskey," but the restaurant doesn't always deliver on both counts
, December 05, 2002
The 28-ounce T-bone at Maverick Supper + Whiskey comes with a smear of red chile-flavored butter on top. That's it. No potatoes, no vegetables,... More >>
Tired of Turkey? Tired of Turkey?
Chef Wakasugi's sushi is designed to please the Texan palate
, November 28, 2002
Bright red and streaked with fat, the large slab of raw meat glistens invitingly. It looks like a quarter-inch-thick slice of raw filet mignon.... More >>
Come Fry with Me Come Fry with Me
Valdo's misses some connections on its culinary journey around the world, but it's right at home with Gulf Coast seafood
, November 21, 2002
When you cut into a fried green tomato slice at Valdo's Café, you can't help mopping up some of the overlapping puddles of warm red gravy, chunky... More >>
Sub Text Sub Text
Will Ponzo's or Jersey Mike's come out on top in our side-by-side submarine sandwich comparison?
, November 14, 2002
Ponzo's Original, the cold Italian sub offered at the new Midtown Italian takeout restaurant, comes with hard salami, cotto salami, mortadella... More >>
Forbidden City Food Forbidden City Food
Sometimes when a Chinese waiter says "not for you," he's right
, November 07, 2002
"Not frozen egg rolls, homemade egg rolls!" the proprietor of Peking Cuisine insists. I must have rolled my eyes a little when he said the lunch... More >>
The Nickel Burger The Nickel Burger
How is a falling-apart Fifth Ward joint turning out the best burgers in town? Adrian's has history.
, October 31, 2002
The TV is blaring, although the picture is mostly snow. While I wait for my order to be called, I slip into a ripped vinyl chair and stare at the... More >>
Buttery Beef on the Rock Buttery Beef on the Rock
Or, how to get full at a Japanese restaurant
, October 24, 2002
Each slice of ultra-fatty Kobe beef is about the size of two squares of a big Hershey's chocolate bar. At Azuma, the new Japanese-style... More >>
Moscow on the Bayou Moscow on the Bayou
A Muscovite Moulin Rouge in a westside strip mall? Welcome to The Russian Bear
, October 17, 2002
The voluptuous, dark-haired belly dancer is putting on an astonishing exhibition of muscle control. And I thought wiggling one ear at a time was... More >>
Use Your Noodle Use Your Noodle
From the strange store next door to the mystery bits in the soup, there's plenty to ponder at Arepas & Empanadas Gourmet
, October 10, 2002
They look like noodles, but they taste like fish. So what are they? my dining companion wants to know. He discovered the long, skinny ribbons in... More >>
Deconstructing Sandwiches Deconstructing Sandwiches
Zinnante's makes great poor boys -- no matter how you eat them
, October 03, 2002
Ms. W removes one of the two fillets of fried catfish before she starts eating her poor boy. I almost choke on my overstuffed roast beef sub.... More >>
Dim Sum 101 Dim Sum 101
Dorothy Huang holds court at Ocean Palace
, September 26, 2002
Asian women in dark blue baseball caps and light blue shirts wheel shiny stainless-steel dim sum carts around the enormous upstairs dining room... More >>
Just Like in Mexico City Just Like in Mexico City
At Maria Selma, that can be a blessing or a curse
, September 19, 2002
My steak is covered with cactus. The oval prickly-pear pad has been grilled and cut partway through with long slits to make it easier to eat. It... More >>
The Eel Thing The Eel Thing
Looking for a veteran sushi chef who'll actually talk to you? Chef Toda's your man.
, September 12, 2002
Chef Tatsumi Toda's secret unagi recipe involves a slow-cooked, sweetened black sake and soy sauce, but that's all I can get out of him.... More >>
Where's Chango? Where's Chango?
The "San Phillipy" set swears by Tony Vallone's first Mexican restaurant, but don't go looking for authenticity
, September 05, 2002
"They could turn it into a game, like Where's Waldo?" Ms. W suggests as she sips her margarita. "See how many monkeys you can find. Kids would... More >>
Peking Order Peking Order
Golden Duck may look a little too much like the Mexican restaurant it once was, but what a deal on duck
, August 29, 2002
Chef Jian Gang Liu of Golden Duck restaurant humbly displays our freshly roasted Peking duck as he prepares to slice it tableside. There is... More >>
Pro-Choice Pro-Choice
Just because you don't eat meat, that doesn't mean you don't want options -- and Tien Ren's got them
, August 22, 2002
Here's a textbook example of what vegetarians love to complain about: I'm at my cousin's house for a family barbecue. Through some miracle of... More >>
The Family Formula The Family Formula
It's just another Tuesday night at Lopez Mexican Restaurant
, August 15, 2002
Ask any restaurateur, and they'll tell you that Tuesday is a painfully slow night. Carefree weekend celebrations are either forgotten or as yet... More >>
How Do You Take It? How Do You Take It?
Our intrepid driving diner discovers the Bright & Early Coffee stand and why Houstonians like their brew weak
, August 08, 2002
There's an awful lot of cellophane wrapped around the banana nut muffin I just bought at the Bright & Early Coffee drive-through stand at the... More >>
Roll Your Own Roll Your Own
Saigon Pagolac's DIY Vietnamese fajitas may be a lot of work, but they're worth it
, August 01, 2002
"Lunch Specials from $2.95," reads the lettering near the door of Saigon Pagolac. As promised, the little lunch menu is loaded with bargains, but... More >>
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