Restaurant Reviews

BB's Tex-Orleans: Houston Restaurant Weeks

A frozen drink and an HRW menu make us happy.
A frozen drink and an HRW menu make us happy. Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Houston gourmands and restaurant connoisseurs love the month of August when Houston Restaurant Weeks runs from August 1 through Labor Day. Restaurants around the Greater Houston area participate in the annual event to help raise funds for the Cleverley Stone Foundation and Houston Food Bank. For the participants, it helps bring in clientele during a slow month in the restaurant industry. It serves the dining public as well, giving them the opportunity to try a variety of restaurants for a reasonable price.

Recently, I was talking with a Houston Press reader who expressed how much she enjoys HRW but she really appreciates when restaurants offer three courses for the $25 lunch deals. While most establishments around town offer two courses for lunch and three for the more expensive dinner, there are a few in Houston that give a bonus third course at lunch.
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The New Orleans vibe is fun and welcoming.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
While trying to find a restaurant in my neck of the woods that offered a HRW menu, I came across BB's Tex-Orleans, a Houston-based restaurant that was founded in 2007 at Montrose and Westheimer. Since then, the Cajun-themed restaurant (with a Texas twist), has expanded to a dozen Houston area locations and one in San Antonio.

While there was a closer BB's to my house, I was on a mission to find bathroom tile, so I decided to try the Cypress location off the Northwest Freeway closer to my destination. BB's Cypress is kind of hidden, so GPS is a good idea. There are a dozen BB's Tex-Orleans restaurants spread out over the city and customers can expect a certain conformity in the menu and drinks offered no matter which location they choose.
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Sorry, patio. We'll see you in a couple of months.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Many of the BB's restaurants offer outdoor seating and the Cypress location had a large patio shaded by a huge oak tree. Unfortunately for me, its was a three-digit temperature day in the sweltering city, so I decided to take a seat at the bar instead. The young bartender greeted me right away. I asked about the HRW menu and she handed me a laminated list of options. I ordered a Texas Twister, which is a frozen swirl of its signature Red Headed Wompus Cat and its version of a margarita, Bri Bri's Creed. I've had the Red Headed Wompus Cat before but I find it just a tad sweet. The frozen margarita swirl helps to balance it with a little lime.

The HRW menu for BB's is pretty extensive. Many restaurants, especially the more upscale establishments, offer a prix fixe menu that's pretty tight. BB's has three choices for the first course: Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, Shrimp Gumbo or Red Beans and Rice. I opted for the Shrimp Gumbo. For the second course, there's a choice of three salads and for entrees, guests can pick from a fried Gulf shrimp po'boy with fries, Da' Cheeseburger with fries, Fish Tacos or the Fried Shrimp Plate. For my salad, I chose the Madhatter and decided to make it a shrimp fiesta by ordering the fried shrimp plate.
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Air conditioning means gumbo can be eaten year-round.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
With my frozen drink and the blasting air conditioning in the bar, I had escaped the Houston heat for a while. The bartender brought out the shrimp gumbo and I was surprised to see that it was a big bowl. I told her I thought it would be a cup of gumbo. She replied, " It is. It's just in a bowl." I wasn't sure what that meant, but it was a large serving of dark roux gumbo with the rice on the side. I have never had the gumbo at BB's and I was impressed. It was spicy but not overly so and it had a thinner broth, which I prefer. It had some slices of okra, which I just normally eat around. The okra in BB's gumbo melted in my mouth and before I knew it, that bowl of gumbo was gone. I didn't eat the crackers, though. I do have some restraint.

Next up was the Madhatter Salad. Again, the serving size was bigger than expected. There was a boatload of baby spinach topped with dried cranberries, feta cheese, pecans, onion and tomato with long, thin slices of green bell pepper. It was dressed pretty heavily with the citrus vinaigrette but I was wishing for more of a pop from the citrus and a little more feta for a tangy foil. Still, it was a refreshing middle course and I didn't eat it all. I left a few slices of bell pepper.
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The Madhatter Salad is somewhat healthy.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
With the thought of picking out bathroom tile weighing heavily on me, I ordered a mango margarita to give me some fortitude. When I saw the bartender putting mango syrup in the bottom of the glass, I knew I had made a mistake. I don't care much for overly sweet drinks and the mango syrup gave this margarita an unpleasant flavor. I remedied my mistake by drinking from the glass rather than the straw to avoid the dregs of the syrup at the bottom.

I was quite full by the time my entree arrived. It was a plate loaded with super skinny fries, five large butterflied shrimp, a slice of garlic bread and two hushpuppies. There was also a side of coleslaw in a ramekin. The slaw was good but nearly impossible to eat out of a tiny metal ramekin that I believe should only be used for sauces and condiments. That's my opinion and I am sticking to it. In fact, I may start a movement against ramekins of coleslaw.
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Nothing else can fit on this plate.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
The shrimp were fried perfectly and they were sweet but I only managed to eat two before my stomach told me that it was at capacity. The skinny fries were decent enough and there was plenty to take home to anyone in my house scavenging through the fridge later in the evening. The hushpuppies could have used a little more flavor but I found the almost cake-like consistency of the pups to be an interesting change from other onion and cornmeal versions. The garlic bread, well, it was garlicky.

So for HRW foodies looking for a casual option with three courses for lunch, BB"s Tex-Orleans is a solid choice. The atmosphere is casual for a fun lunch with friends but still fancy enough to be date night-worthy. For those indulging in frozen cocktails, the three courses may be more than one person can eat, as we found out. Frozen drinks are very filling.

BB's Tex-Orleans also offers three courses for its HRW dinner ($39). The dinner entrees offer a little more food for the price and the third course is a dessert selection. We think the lunch menu is a better deal but it doesn't offer the Rockdale Redfish like the dinner menu does and that alone may be a reason to go for dinner instead.

BB's Tex-Orleans
12 Houston locations
bbstexorelans.com
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.