Out of all the "town square" developments that have cropped up in Houston suburbs over the last few years, Sugar Land's Town Square has been one of the most successful. Along with Market Street in The Woodlands and CityCentre in Memorial, these neo-urban centers in traditionally suburban communities bring a small, manageable dose of the close-knit city into areas where restaurants, bars and other businesses would normally be spread out over miles of asphalt.
They have also brought in some of the most interesting eateries: places such as 1252 Tapas and Jasper's in The Woodlands; Flora & Muse and Straits in CityCentre; and Japaneiro's and Guru Burgers & Crepes in Sugar Land.
These last two are owned by the same local Sugar Land residents, but that's not the only common thread between the restaurants. Both are fusion restaurants of varieties rarely seen anywhere else: Japaneiro's is a Latin sushi restaurant -- complete with mango, plantain and sweet potato-topped rolls -- while Guru Burgers & Crepes is just that, a restaurant that serves both American burgers and French crepes.
It's a combination you wouldn't expect to work, but it does...and with aplomb.
When I visited with a group of friends last Friday night, Guru Burgers was already packed -- at less than two months old. We waited for a short ten minutes, during which my boyfriend eagerly checked out the craft beer selection at Guru Burgers' crisp-and-clean-looking bar, decorated with white subway tiles and chocolate-brown growlers as shades for the pendant lamps above.
You can purchase those same growlers -- which are emblazoned with Guru Burger's logo -- and take any of the draft beers home should you find one you like. And with the selection of local craft beers, you ought to find at least one. We inhaled a Mint IPA from Katy's No Label Brewing and then moved on to the 1836 Copper Ale from Buffalo Bayou Brewing, which is quickly becoming my go-to beer at places where it's on draft.
The menu here isn't unwieldy, but it is large. I like the option to turn any burger into a slider or a double (two patty) burger, the option to get any salad in a large or small size, the option to customize your french fries (or sweet potato fries or yucca fries or beet chips) with a variety of seasonings -- but these things can definitely bog you down while you're trying to decide what to order. I recommend looking at the menu before you go, or you'll end up like us: staring at the menus for a good 20 minutes while our beers grew sweaty and warm.
We finally decided on two appetizers: Karbach Weisse Versa beer-battered green beans and spinach topped with lump crab meat in a lemon aioli and a plate of wonton-wrapped-and-fried queso fresco. I did not realize it was possible to fry whole leaves of spinach, but Guru Burgers has shown me the light. You couldn't taste the banana bread flavor of the Weisse Versa, thankfully, and we gobbled down the entire plate of fried greenery. Ditto the fried queso fresco, which is Guru Burgers' clever twist on fried marinara sticks. My friend Kelly immediately ordered another plate of them upon finishing, which we polished off just as quickly.
She was also the only one among us to order a traditional burger -- the "Royale with Cheese" -- which came out with a cherry tomato-topped bun and a well-seasoned patty under a melty blanket of sharp Cheddar cheese. Guru Burgers cooks your burgers to order, a big plus here, but it didn't occur to me that my own burger would be cooked well-done.
That's because I ordered the burger-in-a-crepe (the "Aka-Burger") in an attempt to bridge both ends of the menu. Inside the thin crepe was a chopped mess of meat, both beef and bacon (although I didn't see bacon listed on the menu), along with spinach leaves, Swiss cheese and diced tomatoes. A drizzle of avocado ranch was spread along the top of the crepe, and although I was a bit disappointed at the crumbled, well-done burger meat inside, the entire crepe taken as a whole was a hit. I found myself not minding the well-done beef at all.
I didn't get to try a single bite of my boyfriend's salmon-and-crab crepe with Sriracha sauce and cabbage, nor a bite of my friend's bunless "Longboard" burger with ginger-honey-glazed salmon -- but only because they both cleaned their plates so quickly. Our fries went almost as quickly: sweet potato strips came glistening with a sweet-and-salty sugar mix on top, regular french fries were well-salted and crispy, and yucca fries had a fun, crispy exterior that gave way to a soft, starchy inside.
The dessert crepes beckoned, but we were too full to even contemplate eating further. And although we'd had several beers and soft drinks among us, four entrées, three appetizers and four orders of fries, the bill came to barely $100 -- which left us a little money to spend at Flying Saucer across the street afterward.
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SHOW ME HOW
What? I said we were too full for dessert, not too full for beer.
Guru Burgers and Crepes is partnering with Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. to host its first beer dinner on Monday, August 20, at 6 p.m. Dinner is $50 and seating is limited; call 281-313-0026 for reservations.