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Houston Restaurant Weeks: RDG + Bar Annie

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What they're up to for Restaurant Weeks: We went to RDG + Bar Annie for a luxurious lunch that was a stunning value: three courses for $20. You can also go for dinner ($45 for four courses) and they even have an HRW brunch ($35 for three courses).

Service/Atmosphere: RDG is sophisticated yet cozy. A long flight of stairs leads you up to a well-appointed dining room. You can also sit at the long, impressive bar and try out the brand-new cocktail menu by Chris Frankel (formerly of Anvil and Underbelly).

Items that won't be on the regular menu: The first courses, which are all chilled soups, the chocolate brioche bread pudding and yogurt ice cream sundae are special to the HRW lunch menu.

Don't Miss This Dish: The chilled corn soup with a dollop of Southwest-style chili paste on top was everything one could want in a summer dish: cool, creamy and just a touch spicy. We were also very pleased with the striped bass and the incredibly complimentary flavors of artichoke pesto, tomato butter sauce, quartered slices of pickled lemon and fennel. (Be mindful of the lemon seeds.) Wrap up with the pecan tart and you've got yourself quite a meal. RDG does one of the best pecan pies I have ever had. It served warm and the pecans are as toasty and crunchy as you'll ever need.

Don't Bother: Have you ever visited a restaurant and had an overall wonderful meal, except for that one dish that is so bad that you wonder how it made it onto the menu? The Chilled Grapefruit & Buttermilk Soup is one of the least appetizing things I ever have seen in my life and the taste doesn't justify its existence. Imagine a clammy, pinkish soup with clunky chunks of green avocado and flavorless jicama. There's nothing to offset the bitter grapefruit and unpleasantly tangy buttermilk flavors. Avoid at all costs.

Final verdict: RDG + Bar Annie has a wonderful HRW lunch offering that is a bargain to-boot. Just skip that grapefruit and buttermilk soup and you'll leave a happy customer.

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