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Houston's

i
Ishmael Mar 13, 2006 03:18 PM

Went last Wednesday to check out this relatively new place in the financial district. have had good experiences at Houston's US locations so was expecting the same here.

Walked in with no reservation at 7pm --place was 1/3 full. pleasnt greeting from hostess and seated promptly at a large semi circular booth-- only 2 of us ( both male)so it felt a little awkward. Genial server took drink orders and delivered them promptly.

Wanted to try some of the specialties so we ordered the sampler platter from the mains to share as an appetizer-- ribs, chicken and sausage with slaw and cinnamon apples as sides. The order was delivered in less than 5 minutes. everything was lukewarm(Ribs and chicken) to cool (sausage). Some of the apples were piping hot and some cool leading me to believe that food had been pre-cooked and simply plated when we ordered--I find it hard to believe that the chicken could have been freshly cooked and delivered in that time frame. Slaw was good but a little sweet for my taste.

I ordered the rib steak medium rare with baked potato and my friend ordered the NY strip medium rare. I passed on the salad included in the meal-- he had the caesar . Steaks had nice diamond grid marks but lacked any distinct char and any discernible seasoning. Rib steak was bordering on blue rare and NY was well past medium.

After eating a few bites of the rib steak it became apparent that the center of the steak was not only rare but cold -- not my preferred way of enjoying a steak. Asked server to return to kitchen for a little more time on the grill. Steak was returned within 3 minutes ---on a salad plate!!!--still rare and still cold but minus the remeining half of my baked potato.
When I pointed this out to the server she summoned the manager.

The manager came to the table and inquired about my dissatisfaction with my meal. I pointed out that I thought my steak was too rare for med rare-- he looked at it and said " no sir that is medium rare".
Not wanting to be difficult I asked what had happened to my baked potato and his reply was "it looked to us as if you had finished it so we threw it out".

At this point I felt it was not worth arguing and embarass my friend who was paying for the neal as a thank you and did not eat the remaining 70% of the steak. The manager offered us complimentary dessert as compensation which we declined. When we recieved the bill we were astonisheed to discover that the rib steak had been charged at full price with no acknowledegment of what was obviously a less than adequate experience.

All in all a very dissapointing experience for a meal that rang in at more than $100 for 2 including tax and tip.

PS they claim their steaks are "Angus Pride" anyone ever heard of this grading designation for beef

  1. m
    Marjorie Mar 13, 2006 03:46 PM

    I've been three times (business lunches) and been disappointed by the food each time.

    The sausage lunch (also available as an appetizer) was room temperature, and the "mustard" was a thin, sugary sauce with no mustard flavour whatsoever.

    The burger was OK, but the fries were so oversalted they were inedible. No one bothers to ask why they were uneaten.

    The daily special sandwich wrap (chicken caesar, I believe) was nothing special and was served with fries that were again incredibly salty.

    One of the servers was friendly and pleasant, the other two were hired for the way they fill their bras. They were both so incredibly dumb it was hard to imagine how they get to work each day. But my male companions weren't complaining...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Marjorie
      m
      meathead Mar 13, 2006 06:46 PM

      "Angus Pride" is part of the "Angus" branding terminolgy in both Canada and the US. In the US the grades of beef are given names, the "best" grade of beef in North America is Prime ( although both Canada and the US use this name,just because I'm told it is the best doesn't make it so), followed by Choice (AAA in Canada) and Select (AA in Canada) "Angus Pride" is a Select program.The bottom line is - even a AA, or Select piece of beef can be great tasting if it cooked according to the desired degree of doneness
      (customer's desire that is) AND if it is handled by professionals, both of which so far seem to be lacking.

      1. re: meathead
        m
        meathead Mar 19, 2006 03:42 PM

        A further update to the Angus Pride - I have been corrected and found out that it is a AAA program. No matter - any grade of meat can be enjoyed if it is cooked properly. Cheers.

    2. b
      BLM Jan 22, 2007 01:45 AM

      Is Houston's a Canadian or American chain. I thought it was a Canadain chain. Angus Pride, I believe use to be known as Canadian Certified Angus(CCA).

      1. k
        kalsop Jan 22, 2007 05:06 AM

        Have you considered going higher? Contact their head office, don't mess around with middle managers if they don't want to solve anything.

        There seems to be a theme about this place being bad... http://www.martiniboys.com/Toronto/Ho...

        1. f
          flyinggonzo Jan 22, 2007 06:17 PM

          The food there is terrible, especially at the prices they charge. The steak they were serving for their lunch special was similar in quality to a breakfast steak at a diner - very, very thin. I didn't bother complaining... it really comes down to corporate standards.

          The selling points for the chain are location, decor and the appearance of their staff.

          1 Reply
          1. re: flyinggonzo
            a
            Aardvark Jan 23, 2007 06:44 AM

            I agree the food is terrible. I went there hoping it was going to be good based on the US Houston's and because it's close by. I ordered the steak and the tried to put this awful sauce on it. Everything was very sub par and they also screwed up the bill.

            I went again and only did takeout and it was still sub par. It seems to be busy around 5:00 to 7:00 for the local business crowd but I can't understand how this place stays in business.

          2. k
            karendianne Jan 23, 2007 06:21 PM

            We ate at Houston's at the Pro Bass Outlet Mall north of Toronto. We agree, it was awful. My friend and I ordered the prime rib and on the waiter's recommendation ordered them medium rather than medium rare like I would normally order. Of course the meat came too well done, I showed the colour of my meat to another waitress who inquired about our meals, she argued with me as to whether it was cooked properly or not. We sent them back, they arrived back about three minutes later, still overcooked but no waiter came by after that to see if we were satified. One of our side dishes never came, most of my friends french fries had vanished from her plate, and our original waiter disappeared, never to be seen again. All in all a laughable, miserable experience and far too expensive.

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