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May 19, 2007 11:26 PM

Houston Recs

I am from Austin, and I am meeting a close friend who is a former Austinite for a short visit in Houston. She now lives in Albany, NY, and is jonesing for Mexican and bbq. What are some good bets to take her to in Houston? She doesn't eat pork and is allergic to poultry, so a bbq place that serves beef ribs would be a plus. Otherwise, brisket would suffice. I've read that Houston doesn't have excellent bbq, but I know she's going to want some regardless. Oh, and we'll be in North Houston, but we will have a car.

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  1. I think Houston has some excellent BBQ places? Not much beef ribs though. Some good cue joints would be Williams Smokehouse, Burns BBQ, Thelmas, Goode Co and Little's BBQ trailor in Dickinson.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jscarbor

      Little's BBQ where is Dickinson?? I grew up there...intrigued

      1. re: jennisad

        Its just a little trailor. He has moved since the last time I went but I want to say its in the parking lot of a grocery store in the heart of Dickinson.

        1. re: jscarbor

          Well since you are familiar with the area, if you have not tried AJ's Meat Market, DO!! It is hard to beat his sliced brisket, as well as his ham good. It is down 517 almost to the high school, on the left hand side of the road. Small red building, closed on Sun and Mon.
          Great BBQ sauce too.

    2. I like Goode Co. BBQ too for beef ribs. Mexican that different and great atmosphere is Cyclone Anayas.

      1. Jonesing for Mex? Cyclone Anaya is good but for out of towner I would send to Ninfas but ONLY the location on Navigation just east of downtown. The food is solid but it is really the place that started the fajita craze. I really like the carnitas here. A "cousin" of Ninfas is El Tiempo. The prices here are higher than I like to pay for tex/mex but the fajitas, especially the chicken(only place I will order chicken), are sometimes GREAT.
        For more authentic mex I would head to Otillas or to Pico's. And for high end mex Hugo's is good with a great tequila selection.

        1. Goode Co. does beef ribs? Who knew? (I go there so seldom could've easily missed it). Not on their on-line menu. I was going to suggest Pappas but only if you have to have beef ribs, otherwise, not that good. If by North Houston you mean I-45 north, also avoid Thomas BBQ.

          I've been to Burns a couple of times and don't see what the fuss is about. Williams is best, close to being on a part with the best in C-Tex. Ribs are best (pork) but brisket is good; home-made, fine ground sausage is all-beef I think. Closed Sun and Mon.

          Thelma's - pork ribs and chicken are best (sorry bout that) and catfish.

          Otherwise I second jscarbor's recs. Otilias, Picos and Hugos are Mex-Mex, not Tex-Mex. I'd guess your friend is jonesing for Tex-Mex. I don't do Tex-Mex that often but for old fashioned Tex-Mex platters Lopez on Wilcrest off 59S is good as are the Molina's.

          A regional variation on bbq here is pecan smoked; best I know of close is Swinging Door north of Richmond on FM359; up to a 3/8" smoke ring, good portions, good sides, sauce on the side as it should be. Sit-down service and prices a little higher than most Q joints plus a tip for the server; only open W-Su, I think. There is a website.

          4 Replies
          1. re: oltheimmer

            Thanks for the replies! I would appreciate any additional recs--I'll look at the websites to see what might be best. I should add that my friend is also allergic to dairy, fish, and yeast (I know, it makes it difficult to find the perfect place to eat, and I'd probably consider suicide if I had her allergies. No brioche? No sashimi? No artisan cheese? Yikes).

            1. re: diva360

              I'd guess many of the places rec'd have websites? goode probably?

              My god your poor friend She is a tough one. Who is allergic to poultry? Sure I could easily give up poultry but still....?

              1. re: diva360

                Here's some of the websites. I don't think Otilia's has one. Pappas is easily found if your going that route.







                Ninfa's is owned by Serrano's which is why you should avoid anything other than the original on Navigation, but El Tiempo is Ninfa Laurenzo's family.

              2. re: oltheimmer

                I guess I'm wrong about the beef ribs. I eat bbq so seldom, my memory fails me. Being lucky enough to not have to avoid pork I'd choose pork ribs every time. My favorite bbq is in Austin anyway.

              3. No good BBQ in Houston? I haven't heard that one!

                I like the BBQ at Goode Company.

                For Tex-Mex I like El Tiempo and Molinas on Washington. They also have nice atmospheres. For something even more casual try Tecate or Tony's on Ella Blvd

                3 Replies
                1. re: mocity

                  I didn't mean no good Que, I meant no excellent Que. And this intel is from people who will drive from Austin to eat a lot of Que in both Lockhart and Luling all in one gluttinous afternoon.

                  1. re: diva360

                    Thanks everyone! We took my friend to Molina's, and she really liked it. All she could talk about is how much she missed Austin while we were eating and the lack of comparable mex-mex or tex-mex in Albany. Mission accomplished!

                    Here are some details:

                    We went on Sunday night at about 8:30, and the restaurant was pretty busy. We were served chips, two salsas, and some escabeche. Got rocks salt margaritas which were pretty strong, made with lime juice. I preferred the more vinegary, milder salsa to the other two. But my dining companions scarfed down all of it. Mr. Diva ordered tortilla soup which was a little bland, and my friend and I ordered that Mexican shrimp cocktail dish as an appetizer (can't remember the name of it right now, it was a special). It was good, not outstanding, but not bad at all.

                    I wasn't super-hungry to start with, so I just got a salad. My friend wanted veggie fajitas (I know, sacrilege to some) because she had been in Honduras for ten days with very few vegetables in sight. They weren't on the menu, but the waiter said the kitchen would oblige. I was expecting them to mostly consist of griddled onions and bell peppers, but they included summer squash, zuchinni, and carrots? as well. Though they hadn't been marinated, the veggies had been seasoned with lime juice and cilantro. I would have skipped the carrots as they didn't properly soften as the other veggies had. But my friend was very happy, and kudos to the kitchen for accomodating my veggie-starved, dairy-allergic friend. Mr. Diva got the quail and was very happy. They appeared to have been halved and grilled under a weight.

                    All in all, it was a quite good experience. I wish I could have ordered something more substantial, but I ate a ridiculous amount of chips and salsa--I couldn't stop myself. Did I mention that the chips were very fresh?

                    Thanks to you guys, we did much better than we otherwise would have. I'm a pretty new chowhound, and I appreciate your guidance.

                    1. re: diva360

                      Wow. I'm glad you had a good meal, but I'm a bit suprised. I remember Molinas not so fondly; I think the exact words passing through my mind at the time were "I would not feed my dog this..."

                      Glad to hear things are looking up for the joint.

                      A little late, but I would have recommended Pico's in Bellaire or the original Ninfa's on Navigation.