Eat This: Summer Salad and Crawdads Biscuit at Punk's

The calendar says September, but it still feels like summer in Houston, so why not indulge in some warm-weather fare as long as it's on offer? See Punk's Simple Southern Food, where one of the best things on the current menu is the "Summer Salad." Although most patrons go to Punk's for the fried chicken (despite its high price tag), you will be just as satiated (in a different, less bloated way) by ordering this sweet, refreshing assemblage.

With a spinach and romaine lettuce, over-sized candied pecans, mandarin orange slices, strawberries and avocado bits all dressed in a strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette, the salad might verge on cloying if not for the earthy salt from the pecans and creamy botanical flavors of the avocado.

Ask for the dressing on the side to fully appreciate the salad's "naked" flavor, which is arguable as just as good plain as dressed. Also know that the Summer Salad is certainly enough for one at lunchtime but also great to split at dinner, especially as a precursor to richer dishes. And speaking of which...

As the Houston Press earlier reported, the biscuits at Punk's are not to be missed, and a special plug should be made for the Crawdads version, in which a very generous ladle of thick etouffee with strong pepper notes and sizeable shellfish bits. There's more stew than biscuit, so consider ordering an additional flaky biscuit to sop out the remainder. Or, just lick the dish and avert your eyes from the disapproving gaze of your dining companion.

In conjunction, the summer salad and the crawdads biscuit balance each other wonderfully, though if you are sporting an above-average hunger that evening, consider splitting an additional entree.

Perhaps to accommodate the many families with young children that frequent the restaurant, service is extremely swift. Too swift, in fact, for those that like a more staggered, leisurely meal, and if that's you, politely tell your waiter or waitress that you would like each course separately. Or, just be satisfied to receive them all at the same time and linger as long as you like.

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