Happy Hour Scene

First Look at Broken Barrel in The Woodlands

The decor of Broken Barrel is contemporary and features an open kitchen in the center of the restaurant.
The decor of Broken Barrel is contemporary and features an open kitchen in the center of the restaurant. Photo by Jamie Alvear
Broken Barrel is a new chef-driven concept with high hopes for a unique change from the chain restaurants that occupy “Restaurant Row” in Hughes Landing. It's the brainchild of Culinary Institute of America graduate Hilda Ysusi, whose menu of tapas-style dishes boasts an ambitious array of items with Latin, Asian and Mediterranean influence.

Located on the ground level of  One Lakes Edge, its prime location in Hughes Landing offers a stunning view of Lake Woodlands. The decor is contemporary with an airy space featuring high ceilings, rustic wood and brick accents, as well as a large glass garage door which slides open to allow patio access. An open kitchen is prominently displayed in the center of the restaurant, separating the bar from the main dining area.
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The Hendrick's Gin with rose petals and cucumbers is one of six specialty gin cocktails featured at Broken Barrel.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
The restaurant is open seven days a week and is currently serving lunch, dinner and brunch. There are more than 100 wines on the menu and 25 are available by the glass. Broken Barrel has a full bar, but specializes in a select list of six gin cocktails. The cocktails showcase top shelf gins that are enhanced with fresh botanicals and served with Fever-Tree Tonic Water. Cocktails not to be missed include the Hendrick’s Gin with rose petals and cucumbers and the Brooklyn Gin with citrus peel and ancho chile.

Happy hour is Monday to Friday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Cocktails are not currently on the happy hour menu, but it is a great time to take advantage of the picturesque view while noshing on the daily popcorn selection. A limited selection of wine is available for $6, and bites, including the crunchy Japanese Fried Chicken, are only $8.
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Crunchy Japanese Fried Chicken with Kewpie Mayo and ponzo sauce is available during happy hour.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
The dinner menu is comprised of tapas-style dining with shareable plates which range in price from $15 to $19. Those with an affinity for fried things may be drawn to the Crispy Olives. However, on a recent visit, the olives sadly did not deliver on the “crispy” part. The Cochinita Pibil Tostones include tender Adobo pork, refried beans and pickled onions served on top of crispy fried plantain slices. The only fault with this dish is the price – an order of three small tostones is $16. Heartier entrees available at dinner include grilled hanger steak, spinach stuffed chicken breast and Japanese Wagyu.
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The Breakfast Flatbread is available during Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays. The menu offers diners choices of Sweet, Sea, Land or Eggs. The Breakfast Flatbread, under the “Eggs” option, was a well-balanced combination of refried beans, cheese, caramelized onion and bacon. The flavor was further enhanced once the yolk from the fried egg on top oozed onto the flatbread making it a messy, but delicious dish. The chilaquiles on the other hand fell flat with the use of tortilla chips instead of crispy fried tortilla strips.

In just the short month that Broken Barrel has been open, it has already made adjustments based on feedback from guests. It is expected that the concept will continue to evolve over the next few months if it has any hope of luring diners away from its more well-known neighbors in Hughes Landing.

Broken Barrel
1950 Hughes Landing #1900, 281-719-8542, brokenbarrelwoodlands.com
Hours: Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Jamie Alvear is a local blogger and freelance writer for the Houston Press. She enjoys writing about the vibrant food and beverage scene that the city has to offer. Jamie is a native Houstonian, avid traveler, and wine aficionado. You can typically find her around town sipping on everything from cocktails to craft beer.