Where to take out-of-country guests in Houston
In a couple of months we are going to host a couple from the UK. I have a few ideas but I would certainly appreciate some thoughts. the idea is to impress because the places are authentic; different from anything you'd find in the UK; and have good food. Not to impress by the prices or the beauty of the decor or indeed the fellow patrons. (But being pricey is not a disqualification.)
Is there such a thing as a "road house" with great food and atmosphere, that's uniquely Texas (Houston) and where there's not too much chance of bar fights erupting?
I can come up with ideas in the Chinese (authentic) arena but I am less good with the more mainstream (ironically).
Good service is important, but by that I always mean unobtrusive. I don't want to know the waiter's life story or have him demonstrate his no doubt interesting and astonishing personality. Nor do I want to know what "wilting" or "balsamicization" has been imposed on the "pristine Lake Titicaca duck breast" etc. etc. Anyone who knows the Caucus Club in Detroit knows what I am seeking on service.
I'd obviously wondered about Brennan's in the equation. But the choice could be a bowling alley for that matter. Just so long as a good dining experience can be had.
As always, I appreciate any responses. Feel free to venture a little outside Houston as well. If so, preferably to the west NW SW.
How about the Swinging Door , out FM 359 near Richmond? Authentic (check), different from anything you'd find in the UK (check), good food (check). Too bad they've discontinued the regular Friday and Saturday night boot-scootin'. (At least I think I heard that they had.)
What about Hickory Hollow in the Heights? They even have live music on the weekends...? I have only been to the location on my side of town (NW), and they do not have the live music. Nonetheless, I enjoy their food, and the atmosphere - friendly people, clean and very "Texas". They catered the rehearsal dinner for my wedding several years ago. Wonderful chicken fried steak, sausage, brisket...Great pecan pie, too. My other choice would be Lyndon's Pit Bar-B-Q off of 290 - not the same in exterior atmosphere, b/c its in a strip mall - but the bbq is rockin and the inside is pretty authentic Texas-themed. I would have loved to recommend Williams smokehouse to you, but its gone now. :(
FWIW, at both places you order first (unless the Heights location is different), and they call your number to come and get your food yourself. Its pretty low-key.
One other thought - Tampico Seafood on Airline for snapper a la plancha? We've taken lots of out-of-towners there. They've recently opened a new location on I-45 & West Rd, I believe. I saw it driving by, and it looks much nicer than the hole-in-the-wall no frills Airline location (which I love anyway!).
If you want a Texas theme - I would do Goode Company BBQ on Kirby (and drinks at the Armadillo Palace across the street). I live in the Heights and ate at Hickory Hollow once and it was NOT good. Goode Company is legendary.
If you can get off the Texas theme, my favorites (for outstanding food and service) are Mockingbird Bistro and Ibiza.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. There are ones that I will definitely use! Have a month to go yet so by all means keep them coming. Many thanks in advance. bb