Jason Kerr's review a few months back on the "black jack burger" at Polk Street Pub put this restaurant on my burger radar.
After forcing my "meating" companion to navigate through is downtown Houston, we arrived at Polk Street Pub just at the end of happy hour (Monday through Friday, 4 to 7 p.m.). While gulping down my whiskey sour ($3), I scanned the menu for the "black jack burger," which had...disappeared!
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I didn't care, though, when I saw a far superior alternative: the "pavilion" burger ($15), an angus beef patty topped with -- grab a pen -- bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado, a fried egg, and bell peppers and a choice of brie, goat, cheese, or American white cheddar. Channeling Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, I then asked if it were possible to skip the fried egg and add a side of mayonnaise. "No problem!," replied the server, an earnest young thing who later admitted it was his third day on the job. I requested waffle fries, but they were out, so I substituted sweet potato fries.
My burger arrived cooked rare (like I asked) but sans bacon and with the egg. I didn't send it back because I was starving at this point and an extra egg never hurt anyone. (The missing bacon did make me a bit sad. Sigh.) Small portions of each topping kept the burger from overflowing onto my lap, and the flavorful combination of yolk, condiments, vegetables and cheese offset the lackluster meat, which was juicy but under-seasoned.
Although my sweet potato fries were indeed excellent, I had to order an extra plate of my friend's chosen side, the twice-baked potato tots. These barrel-shaped chunks of mashed potato were delightfully puffy from a light dip in the fryer. Although I usually liberally garnish most fried foods with some variety of Heinz sauce, there was no ketchup needed for these crisp little potato pillows, which melted in my mouth, tasting of cream and chives.
Polk Street Pub is certainly not your traditional tartan and oak pub, but the food is no joke and the happy hour's a decent deal. Its clubby interior was fairly calm on Tuesday night, and thanks to the moderate volume on the overhead televisions, we weren't shouting over our food. Go early for happy hour and plan ahead for parking as (free) spaces are limited.