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College Station TX chow- wanna talk?

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So, those of use who live in and around College Station may have noticed a restaurant building boom. And now that the end of the semester approaches and the exodus of the students means we might actually have an opportunity to eat at the local restaurants I thought it might be time to have a fresh look at the chowing choices in the greater Brazos Valley metropolitan area ;)

I've checked out Maggie's Taqueria on Texas Ave again recently, the new Indian place Taz, and the new Italian place Tutta Pasta, all of which have good points. Also, I've eaten at the newish food truck, Chef Tai's mobile gourmet.

We still can't manage to check out Chuy's (yes a chain I know) but with wait times of 2-1 hours on each attempt, I gotta wonder if it might not be worthwhile to try it out anyway.

Tony Roma's looks to be opening soon and there will be a new brew-pub next to Chuy's

If I get any takers, I'll be happy to post specific reviews and would love to hear from you. Also, the City of Bryan is talking about changing their food truck 21 days restrictions, what are everyone's thoughts on this?

And I'd love to know, if you drive anywhere for good chow, where? And why? What's worth it at $3.50 per gallon these days?

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Maggie's Taqueria
1311 S Texas Ave, Bryan, TX 77803

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  1. Ok, I'll take that as a no.

    1. I live in Houston but we do on occasion drive out to Messina Hof for a meal and wine tasting mostly because it's beautiful in Bryan and College Station. Since it's always just a day trip we are always there for lunch. The restaurant there is good and they do a good burger and fresh salads. In years pasts I remember enjoying some pasta dishes too. Ambiance and service have always been excellent. Personally I like to spend the day in the Wine Bar have a glass or two of wine and possibly some cheese and crackers. My husband enjoys wine tasting. One of these days we'll get to a wine stomp.

      1. What have you tried recently that you've really liked? I continue to enjoy Shiraz Shish Kebab (sp?). Also, recently tried Fargo's Pit BBQ in Bryan, which I enjoyed. I thought Taz was decent, not great, and I preferred the buffet for tastiness and value.

        1. Meerastvargo: I thought Taz was pretty decent. It's much better than Spice Bowl and as the only place for Indian food, unless you travel to Houston, it's better than nothing. I think Chuy's was waaay overrated. I'd never eaten there and thought, well, it's been 2 hours wait to get in - let's give it a shot. I just thought the food wasn't very good and the supposedly fresh New Mexico green chilie just read as hot without the wonderful fruity flavor that really good NM green chilies should have. I should know I'm a native New Mexican. I've had better green chilies on a my Blake's Lotta Burger. Whoops, had to wipe the drool off my keyboard.

          We enjoyed the food at Tutta Pasta however, the kitchen service was really off...Everything came out at different times and while it was all delicious if we hadn't been dining family style that night, each eating from everyone elses plates, the meal would have really been a bummer as my son's pizza came out first, then my salad and then my husbands pasta with fish. So the food itself was very good but the service was very poorly timed. Although, I'd much rather have it fresh than have it all sit under a a heater until it could be served together. And that isn't an option as it's an open kitchen. However, they are brand new and getting the staff all on the same page is a learning experience. So I'm trusting that over time things will level out.

          What are your thoughts on the Bar-B-que situation in town? How did Fargo's compare to other places nearby?

          And Tlegray I do like Messina Hoff but it's usually on in our price range for everyday eating. And it's hard convincing my 8yr old nibblet to clean up that much for dinner. If he could vote he'd do Blue Baker pizza or tomato basil bisque in the bread bowl every night.

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          Spice Bowl
          2501 Texas Ave S Ste 111C, College Station, TX 77840

          Blue Baker
          809 University Dr E Ste 216, College Station, TX 77840

          1 Reply
          1. re: aggiecat

            I wrote a much longer original response to your post (the other day) and it was deleted before I could reply. I thought I would wait and see if anyone would reply before I retyped too much of it.

            First I should say that I don't eat red meat so I probably shouldn't have said anything about BBQ. I had the chicken at both Martin's and Fargo's. Between the two,I really preferred I Fargo's - the chicken and the sides. I especially thought the dark meat chicken was good. I thought the potato salad and coleslaw were too sweet at Martin's. They only have coleslaw on Fridays at Fargo's but the potato salad was good and not sweet when I tried it. (You can't eat in at Fargo's, though - to go only). To be fair, I only tried Martin's and Fargo's once each.

            Overall, I don't think the BBQ situation in town is great but not eating red meat I probably shouldn't comment on that too much. Before I tried Fargo's there wasn't anywhere I would really want to go to. Do you have any recs for good BBQ in town? I particularly like BBQ turkey but they don't have that at either Martin's or Fargo's.

            I thought that Taz was tasty, especially the buffet, but the non-buffet meals I've had there weren't as satisfying. (On a side note, I really like Bhojan in Houston for Gujurati Indian food but I wasn't particularly impressed with Shri Balaji Bhavan for South Indian food in Houston. I had heard it was great but much preferred Bhojan. Both are vegetarian).

            I really like good NM chile. My roommate in college was from just outside Albuquerque and visits to NM with her and general indoctrination by her and her family have led me to a hearty appreciation of good NM food. I generally prefer green chile, and roast/grill my own and then freeze (in quantity) when I can get Hatch. No need to go out for sub-par chile.

            I really liked Tampico del Barrio Nuevo Latino Cafè and Bar before it closed. That was my favorite Mexican-ish food experience.

            What are your favorite places in or around town?

          2. So, the great chatter of the day 'round here is the chow piece by Joyce Slaton on the 10 worst college towns for chow and...surprise! College Station was on the list. Which, I really think is unfair. Really unfair. Yes we have chains but so do all the major cities which also happen to have large universities. And yes, there is plenty of baaaad food to be found but, there are also quite a few real gems. Latest one I found was the Lemon Wedge in downtown Bryan (jury duty) it was a real treat!

            Anyway, I'm seriously considering turning off my Chow account since they seem to be perfectly ok with publishing work which is clearly poorly researched. I don't want to participate in or contribute to a site that is unfairly jugemental and unkindly snarky just for the sake of snark.

            Horse Laugh for Joyce's bad bull!

            5 Replies
            1. re: aggiecat

              Saw that Aggiecat, AND the picture was of Whataburger!! You know, Joyce, the most revered home grown burger joint in Texas? Clearly clueless. I didn't even read the article. It was bad tasting tuna.

              @meerastvargo, I feel your pain. I have typed long posts only to have them self destruct before I can hit "post my reply." Sooooo annoying.

              1. re: aggiecat

                What ten college towns to you think have worse food? I'm really curious. Of course I went to college in Dallas, and my two kids to to college in NYC and Austin. (Runner up cities were Washington, DC and Berkeley, CA.) But I've been to Bryan/College Station on business and couldn't find anything much fit to eat.

                1. re: Mike C. Miller

                  Probably the bigger point is what's the point of that article. Hounds want to know where to find the best food experiences. Slamming whole towns as an article choice makes me think they've run out of ideas.

                  1. re: Mike C. Miller

                    Mike: there is good food, you just have to look a little further than Texas Ave or off of University Drive. Chef Tai's truck, Messina Hof, Mr. G's, The Lemon Wedge, Cafe' Capri, Madden's, Atami, etc. are just a few of the better known and not necessarily the best out there. The thing is, trying to compare college towns and the number and variety of good-great food options they have with cities that just happen to also have colleges is really unfair and just lazy. Non-College towns have just as many bad food choices as do college town, they just have the populations and incomes to also have a lot more excellent food choices. and the list was really poorly researched. I can come up with quite a few towns that, last time I was there have a whole lotta nuthin' in the way of exceptional eats. But I wouldn't list them because:
                    a. it's been a while since I was there and I don't know the current scene
                    b. I didn't necessarioy go there looking for fabu food choices and so since I didn't look I obviously didn't find.
                    c. the towns I went to are way smaller than BCS and so comparisons are not really fair.

                    It would be fair to compare simlarly sized cities with and without colleges and NOT fair to compare dissimilarly sized cities, particularly when the smaller cities ALWAYS come out on the bottom, college or no.

                    1. re: aggiecat

                      I'm going to be in town in the not too distant future for depositions. I think I'll be there overnight so I can get in a good dinner if I get get off early enough. Any place with a really good wine list, preferably good French wines?

                2. I will be in College Station for a few days soon; anything new or noteworthy? I'm mostly looking for casual and simple fare on the light side, not too meat-heavy. I've been to Atami and found it fine; didn't enjoy Cafe Capri too much.

                  Based on Chowhound and other online reviews, I'm thinking about Shiraz Shish Kebab, Fuego Tortilla Grill, Blue Baker, and the Lemon Wedge. Any recent thoughts on these?

                  Thanks!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: nonaggie

                    Where are you coming from? Or - what are you usually eating?

                    I think Blue Baker is ok, their sandwiches always seem kind of dry to me. But the food is fairly healthy.

                    I like the shrimp options at Fuego but their tacos are really messy to eat and the fried items are greasier than they should be, in my opinion.

                    I think Shiraz Shish Kebab is tasty compared with other options in town, request barberries added to your rice if you get a kebab there. I like their yogurt sides as well as their baba ganjouj but their hummus is kind of plain to me.

                    You could do Fargo's for BBQ (take-out only). There is a new Thai restaurant in town, Lanna Thai, which is actually a little upscale. I enjoyed the panang curry there but spiciness varied (once medium was about medium, next time hot was less hot than the medium the first time).

                    I think it is fun to order the stuffed avocado from Papa Perez if you haven't had one before and that kind of thing appeals. But their other dishes aren't my favorite. I think Taz is a decent Indian (buffet for lunch).

                    I thought Gina's was good for a basic Mexican breakfast (have only been once, recently). And I want to go back at dinner soon.

                    Is there a particular type of food you are hoping to have? Or something you get a lot of at home?

                    1. re: meerastvargo

                      Thanks for the recommendations. I'm coming from Boston, which is quite lacking in Tex-Mex and Mexican options. So, it would be great to have some of that in College Station, with the caveat that I'm not a big meat eater. Beyond that, we have pretty good variety in Boston, so I'm looking more for quality than any specific type of food while I'm in College Station.

                      1. re: nonaggie

                        In that case, I would probably not make a special trip to try Shiraz Shish Kebab, Blue Baker, Lanna Thai, or Taz unless you just in the mood for those cuisines/foods while in town.

                        For a fun experience, I would definitely go for the stuffed avocado at Papa Perez (I have only gotten it with chicken but they have it with other fillings). My husband and I split the a stuffed avocado plate for dinner - it would be a LOT of food for one person. You can also order it a la carte (otherwise it comes with rice and beans). They also have a good stuffed avocado at Casa Rodriguez. This is a surprisingly not greasy experience - the avocado is rolled in panko type crumbs and then fried.

                        I would definitely go for BBQ. My personal fave is Fargo's, it is take out only and they run out of stuff but you can call them earlier in the day and they will save stuff for you. I think they close by 7 pm (they are also closed on Sunday and Monday). We usually get a half chicken with potato salad, red beans, and coleslaw for sides (they only have coleslaw on Fridays and they run out of it early). Their sauce is sweet and spicy. They give you pickles and onions and bread. We split half a chicken (small half chicken) but we don't eat a lot of meat at once.

                        I am going to try Gina's again soon - they seemed to have some interesting dinner options but they don't have a website or a take out menu. I just asked to take a (quick) look at the dinner menu while I was there for breakfast. I know other people like it.

                        We went to Lemon Wedge for lunch and I liked it, but wasn't wowed.

                        I have only been to Madden's for breakfast and lunch and I would recommend it for lunch for sure. It can be a good deal for a very early dinner as well since they serve their lunch menu until 5 pm when they switch over to dinner. They have vegetarian and lighter options.

                        Enjoy!

                        1. re: meerastvargo

                          It looks like there are a lot of good options; thanks very much!

                  2. Casa Rodriguez downtown is good, at least we love it. CC's barbeque is another we go to. I also am from New Mexico and have not found any really good food like it was there. But that was then and this is now. We go to Abuelo's across from the Hilton. It is not tex-mex as much as a spanish blend. Thursday is a shrimp chowder my dh loves. I like it all. For steak, or hamburgers, we do like Sodalack's. Dh likes the fish. You just have to look at different places and try them yourself, we learned we like food spicy and our friends mostly don't. So we no longer ask anyone about Tex-Mex food. Good luck.....