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Jul 12, 2002 01:45 PM

Houston's Restaurant - feedback please

  • j


Can anyone please provide feedback on this restaurant. I will be going to the one located in Irvine this weekend.

Any general suggestions and/or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Also, any specific feedback regarding their steaks (my meal of choice) would also be welcomed.

Thanks in advance,


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  1. I have been to the ones in Century City and Manhattan Beach. I like the ribs. They are very tender. You can eat them with a fork, no knife, as the meat falls off the bone.

    I also like the tortilla soup.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lil mikey

      is that beef or pork ribs or do they got both? i've tried the beef ribs at the sister rest. Bandera, and the beef ribs were beyond falling off the bone tender. all though it's pricey for ribs, hovering somewhere in the mid-20s.

      1. re: kevin

        It's been a while, but I think they were beef ribs.

        1. re: kevin

          Bandera's ribs are beef, Houston's are pork ribs. For the knife and fork ribs, which are damn expensive at $24, the meat really does come apart as you pull it from the rib. They also have ribs called "Hawaiian Style" or some such name, but I haven't tried those.

          I like their burgers. Very juicy, tasty beef. I normally get the one with barbque sauce, but instead of the grated non-melted cheddar and chopped onions which just fall off, I get the cheddar melted and sliced red onions. I also like to get a side of their Thai salad dressing to add.

          They used to have one of the best grilled pork chops I have ever tried, but alas I have not seen it in sometime, so may be gone for ever.

          Lastly, while their fries are quite good they can be way over salted at times. I actually started getting one of their loaded baked potatoes with the burger.

          It's not great, but it is good.

          1. re: WLA

            I concur -- the burger and the ribs are great.

      2. The Prime Rib French Dip sandwich is excellent

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ernie

          The Prime Rib Sandwich was one of the signature items from the moment the original restaurant opened in Nashville. It was always a bargain for its quality and size, and could easily have been the one item that won the restaurant so many fans, me very much included. That restaurant is no more, but I'm delighted to know the sandwich lives on.

          1. re: Will Owen

            That is what I ordered when I visited Houston's in Boca Raton a month or so ago. it was very good, but at $18 not for the frugally-inclined.

            1. re: Fibber McGee

              I guess it depends on where you're used to eating - it's not hard to pay $18 for a burger in L.A.! And if you think of it, except for the slab of bread, that sandwich is roughly the equivalent of an order of steak-frites, for which $17-$18 is the bottom price in this market. I really can't think of anything else equivalent at that price.

              1. re: Will Owen

                But that market hardly can be used as a gauge for restaurant prices across the country. Boca Raton, Florida has plenty of upscale dining and that was at the high end for such a sandwich, as good as it was. Overall, though, the prices were very reasoanble compared to equivalent restaurants in the area. Houston's may be a chain but I'd call it an upscale one, certainly without the slap dash feel of so many chains. I certainly would go back, because even if I think the price of that sandwich was a little high, it was hardly outrageous.

        2. The branch of this chain in Pasadena is drop dead gorgeous in terms of architecture, decor and ambiance. (I love the bar). The food in my opionion is second rate. I don't know how they prepare their "BBQ" or smoked entrees, as there is never any smoke emanating from this establishment.

          When I win Lotto I am going to buy out the Pasadena branch, install a jazz combo, and serve good drinks and graft on the nearby Arroyo Chop house for the food service.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Chino Wayne

            Did you buy your ticket for Saturday? They make an excellent dry martini, but that's about it. Agree with you re food: menu/preparation are about as exciting as that of the Velvet Turtle that once lived here.

            1. re: eeyore

              Ah yes, the Velvet Turtle, where one evening we were having drinks in the bar while waiting for a table, and then when the table was ready, the hostess did not offer to so much as help us get our drinks to the table, let alone get a tray and carry them over for us. So of course I spilled a drink while getting out of the bar booth, and then management did not have the decency to replace the drink or comp me in anyway. The Velvet Turtle richly deserved its demise.

            2. re: Chino Wayne

              Re your comment on smoke: I havn't looked recently, but the Manhattan Beach Houston's had a place behind the restaurant where they stored the wood for cooking.

              1. re: Chino Wayne

                >> I don't know how they prepare their "BBQ" or smoked entrees, as there is never any smoke emanating from this establishment.

                The ribs are truly "knife and fork" -- I cleaned the bones without using my hands once. However, I don't recall too much flavor in the meat -- I couldn't detect any smoke in the taste.

                1. re: Chino Wayne

                  We always split the Thai chicken salad as an appetizer and then split the ribs for a main course. For dessert, we have the five nut brownie and we ask for the kahlua (?) sauce. It's no longer on their menu so you need to ask for it.

                2. I too like the decor (and I have been to both Century City and Pasadena). I also like the only thing I've had there, which is the veggie burger, which is pleasingly large and spicy. I find that I have to police them to make sure that things are cooked in a healthy way, the side vegetables for example. I'm not sure I would go there if my top priority was food, but it has its place.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Stan

                    I find the meny disappointingly small. I do like the couscous that comes as a side to some of the entrees. They are pretty places to look out but I don't find anything special about it.

                    They are famous for their artichoke dip which is served with chips and pretty tasty.

                  2. Have eaten at Century City only, but the ribs and ahi salad were very good, and very consistently so. This chain is very professionally run, yet keep in mind that they have units from California to NYC, etc. so consistency can be a problem, and they are not competing with top local restaurants, or most other chains. They have good reliability, for a medium high price point restaurant. Great decor is always a hallmark of their operation as is the well trained wait staff. Given the amount of money you will spend, you do have options elsewhere, however, where you might get better value, including the Gullivers at MacArthur and the 405, especially for a meat lover as you profess to be. Regardless, give us your feedback.