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Houston Restaurant Weeks: Sparrow Bar + Cookshop

What they're up to for Restaurant Weeks: Monica Pope's Sparrow Bar + Cookshop is offering a two-course HRW lunch menu ($20) and a three-course HRW dinner menu ($45).

Service/Atmosphere: I had not been to Sparrow since the name change/concept shift, and it was fun to revisit a space I enjoy. Granted, it's kind of dark in there, but I find it a very cozy place to eat. We didn't need a reservation to get in at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night, though by 8 p.m. there was a good crowd. We had a wonderful server, and as always enjoyed a leisurely meal--the waitstaff here has never rushed me out the door.

Items that won't be on the regular menu: It looks like everything on the HRW menus is on the regular menu. The HRW menu is printed on the back of the regular menus, which was nice for us because we usually order from both.

Don't Miss This Dish: My fish was good, but my husband's ribeye steak was divine, and the Brussels sprouts with caramel miso? THEY SHOULD BE ILLEGAL, they are so delicious. I also think the Shiitake Mushroom dumplings in blue cheese-honey sauce are a don't-miss; a winning combination of savory and sweet.

Don't Bother: Soup of the day. Look, I love soup, but compared to those Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings? No thanks. I'm also not a huge fan of the cocktails at Sparrow (and wasn't at T'afia, either). They are solidly average, so I'd rather have a glass of wine for my ten bucks.

Final Verdict: The HRW dinner menu at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop is at the top end of the price scale, but HRW is always a great excuse to try somewhere new at a somewhat reasonable price point. I am usually impressed by the service here (last night was no exception), and the food is always delicious. It was nice to revisit an old/new favorite.

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