Supper's On at Natachee's

I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong. (Life lesson: It's so much easier that way, kiddos.) And I was wrong about Natachee's Supper 'n Punch when it first opened back in November.

I wasn't impressed with any of the food during my First Look at the restaurant, save for the fried pickles and the veggie burger -- both of which, I'm happy to report, are still delicious -- and I disliked the interior. My exact words were these:

It feels like a cross between an old general store in a quiet, East Texas town and the Country Bear Jamboree theater at DisneyWorld. Even the much vaunted horse outside, Lacy, seems like part of the attraction instead of a holistic, natural component of the place. It's that classic form of cognitive dissonance that one experiences sitting inside of a new space meant to look much older than it really is.

And while the food honestly wasn't that great when Natachee's first opened, it's vastly improved since then. And so has my attitude toward the interior itself, which has slowly grown on me over several visits.

I really like Natachee's, the subject of this week's cafe review, now.

Part of my attitude shift has come from being schooled on the interior items themselves by my friend Bill Shirley, who owns the funky Shop-O-Rama store next door. "That wood was salvaged from an old house in the Heights that was being torn down," he said one night, pointing at the beams that make up the bar area at the front of the restaurant. And upon closer inspection, I love the fact that Natachee's has decorated its walls with Houston music memorabilia -- especially fitting considering its location down the block from the Continental Club, Big Top and the Mink.

And that's the other part of my shift: Seeing how Natachee's fits in as a whole with the "Best Block in Houston." At first, I didn't see the restaurant as part of a greater whole. But as shops have filled in the block -- Shop-O-Rama and My Flaming Heart directly next door, Sig's Lagoon around the corner and a rockabilly-style barber shop-cum-tattoo studio-cum-salon -- it's made a profound difference in the overall feel of the restaurant. It fits in here, it feels natural, it feels right.

On that same evening that Bill and I were discussing Natachee's interior, Sean Reefer was warming up on steel guitar in one corner while all around me, tables were filled with people happily munching on burgers and downing beers. The dining room took on a warm, close-knit feeling that made it seem as if Natachee's had been there for years.

That's the feeling I was missing before. And with delicious comfort food that now matches that comfortable vibe, Natachee's has finally come into its own.

For more photos from Natachee's, check out our slideshow.

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Katharine Shilcutt