A Sneak Peek of the New H-E-B and Table 57 Restaurant

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When it comes to its new, 91,000 square foot location at 5895 San Felipe at Fountainview, H-E-B is making sure there's a whole lot of fun in-store for shoppers. The company is touting this location as its "finest store in Houston."

It was a stroke of good fortune that when it came time to develop Table 57's menu that a respected, longtime Houston chef happened to be available to help. Chef Randy Evans had just struck out on his own after his prior restaurant, Haven, was sold by its main investor. McClelland asked Evans to consult on Table 57's new menu. The executive chef is Allen Duhon. The restaurant, by the way, is named for the zip code of the address.

The menu is impressive in both quality and price. There's almost no excuse to not grab a meal there when you can. The pricing is ridiculously cheap for what you're getting. A Tuscan salad topped with beautiful, translucent, ruby-red tuna goes for a mere $12.50, while meatless salads, like the spinach, avocado and grapefruit, is a mere $8.50. "That's the H-E-B buying power," says Evans. "They buy in such quantity they can get amazing deals on ingredients."

If you think a grocery store can't produce good barbecue, think again. This Houston H-E-B is following in the footsteps of Café Muller in Austin (named for the old airport, not the pitmasters) and has not only installed a real smoker but has someone minding the pits 24-hours-a-day.

Then, there's the rest of the store. Craft beer lovers have not been forgotten. There's a draft system set up to feature eight different Texas beers and both stainless steel and glass growlers available for taking them home. As we were touring the store, a department manager was stocking bottled beers and while he wouldn't reveal what new, notable ones he's initially going to have in-stock, he promised there are some real gems in store. Wine lovers have over 1,600 kinds to choose from.

There's a custom sign package installed throughout that is as bold and beautiful as it is functional. The most impressive show of aesthetics, though, are the exterior living walls on the west side of the store. These are vertical garden frameworks that are so big, it took over 22,000 plants to fill them.

Gourmands will have a fit trying to decide which salt to try from a four-foot long section of different kinds from around the world. An endcap of wooden barrels hold a variety of jerky. There's a huge sushi counter and fresh fish is flown in for the seafood department daily. The housewares are impressive, too. If you need a one-of-a-kind granite lazy Susan, they've got you covered--for a price, of course.

One of the most impressive displays in the store is the glass cabinet full of beef behind the meat counter that is dry-aged for at least 21 days. This store is also offering prepared Korean dishes bibimbap and bulgogi. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

The new H-E-B and Table 57 open this Wednesday, February 18.

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