When it comes to restaurant appetizers, spinach and artichoke dip is as standard as they come, probably right up there with Buffalo wings and cheddar cheese quesadillas.
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But preparation and presentation still vary significantly from place to place. Although The Black Labrador doesn't have the best British pub grub in Houston, they do make a mean spinach and artichoke dip.
Unlike other restaurants that give you one platter with a small cup of dip and an excessive amount of toasted pita bread or chips, the Black Lab delivers a massive warm bowl and full separate plate of warm corn tortilla chips.
I hate dribbly spinach and artichoke dips that are more cream than roughage, and the Black Lab's version is just the opposite: thick seasoned spinach and pleasantly sour artichoke chunks laced with modest amounts of sour cream and cheese. The consistency makes it easier to secure big scoops with the sturdy chips and facilitates fooling yourself into thinking you're having a healthful vegetable first course.
Of course, to get to the interior of the dip, you do have to eat through a layer of melted spicy Monterrey jack and parmesan cheeses, but such is the sacrifice I make for leafy greens.