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Burgers Off the Beaten Path: The Hideaway

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I keep finding new reasons to love The Hideaway on Dunvale and therefore new reasons to drive west on Richmond until I hit Dunvale -- a corner of the city that is actually rife with terrific reasons to head west.

In the strip center across Richmond from The Hideaway, you'll find two of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in the city. At Al Aseel, the Palestinian-style roast chicken draws raves from everyone who visits. And next door at Cedars Bakery, the Lebanese "pizza" the Cedars team bakes (along with pita and other fresh breads) in its big stone ovens packs the place from breakfast to dinner. Next door to The Hideaway is the popular Tacos el Tepache truck, which sports only one review on Yelp but a long line each time I pass it.

Taking them all together with The Hideaway -- my favorite spot for crawfish -- you could ostensibly do a mini food crawl right here at the corner of Richmond and Dunvale, investigating three of the cuisines that Houston specializes in: Mexican, Middle Eastern and Cajun. Start at Cedars for breakfast, head to Al Aseel for lunch, get dinner and beers at The Hideaway and grab a midnight snack at Tacos el Tepache before heading home. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No, I don't know how this is possible.

But let's say you hate crawfish or it's simply not crawfish season. In addition to hosting a terrific steak night, The Hideaway also makes one of the better pub-style burgers in town. In fact, on a recent visit, I ended up enjoying it more than the two pounds of crawfish I'd ordered and was annoyed at having to split it with a friend. (I would have ordered a second one, but somehow a burger-and-a-half plus two pounds of crawfish just seemed like taunting the wrathful-heart attack gods.)

Underneath a bun that's liberally coated with sesame seeds is a nicely charred patty that oozes just the right amount when you bite into it. The 1/3-pounder's ooze factor is helped along by two kinds of cheese melted on top -- American and Swiss. And beneath this warm, gooey mess is a tumble of crunchy vegetables: raw white onions, crinkle-cut dills and a giant round slice of tomato. Only the shreds of lettuce are forgettable.

The burger comes with seasoned fries that are frozen but nicely crispy nevertheless. And this is an icehouse, after all. You're eating on picnic tables near a man who looks like your drunk, creepy uncle. The married couple across the way from you may or may not be wearing matching leather NASCAR jackets even though it's 84 degrees outside. There aren't going to be any hand-cut fries here, and that's as it should be. (There is, however, free Wi-Fi.)

At $7.25, it's definitely one of the more expensive burgers on our running list of Burgers Off the Beaten Path -- and more than a pound of crawfish -- but it's worth the price. If it's bang-for-your-buck that you're after, try The Hideaway on Thursday nights instead. Whole Maine lobsters are selling for $12, starting at 5 p.m. until they're gone...which is usually within a couple of hours.

See also: - Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Watson's House of Ales - Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Poppa Burger - Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Blake's BBQ & Burgers - Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Stomp's vs. Tookie's - Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Taqueria Taconmadre - Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Chief's Cajun Snack Shack

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