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Apr 23, 2012 07:47 AM

Birthday dinner within an hour of IAH

Hi all -

My family and I have a night layover at IAH on our way home to San Francisco and it happens to be my birthday. Does anyone have any restaurant suggestions? We will have our 7 year old son with us but he is well behaved. I'd like to eat somewhere representative of the area (not a chain) and do not want to spend more than $50 per person (not including cocktails). We will have a car and do not mind driving a bit.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. I am probably being a little to broad in my question. We would like somewhere fairly casual (not shorts and t-shirt though), a good value (I don't want to spend $50 on a 6oz filet), not a chain, and has a decent steak. A little local flavor would be great!

    2 Replies
    1. re: mabreu

      An hour from IAH is most anywhere in Houston. Taste of Texas fits all your criteria. Take Beltway 8 (a toll road) to I-10 and exit the feeder road. It's at the intersection. Nicely casual and very kid friendly. About 45 minutes. There is not much around IAH except for chains. There has been some other discussions on similar requests recently.

      1. re: mabreu

        You might consider Americas (Woodlands or River Oaks locations), although I think it could easily climb outside your price point, depending on what you order. I just love the chimichurri! Oh, which reminds me ... a more affordable option (but similar South American-influenced steak etc.) might be Chimichurri's South American Grill in Humble. My only caveat is that I've been there exactly once and it was at least 2 years ago. But we went with a large-ish group that cares about good food and everyone was pretty pleased. I wouldn't describe any of these places as casual per se, but it's Houston, so I would say you can easily get away with jeans and cute shoes (for women) and slacks and decent shoes (for men).

      2. Does Houston have a great local steak place, (since Tillman bought Brenner's)? I can't remember the last time I had a steak "out".

        Has anyone been to Lynn's on Dairy Ashford?

        What about a good carne asada somewhere? That at least would be more "Texan-y" than one of the chains.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DoobieWah

          I haven't been to Lynn's mainly because I have not heard good things from those who have. TOT is the only non-chain place that is pure Houston that I know of. I love Churrasco's steaks, but they are wildly inconsistent and one perfect steak is replaced by a horrid one on the next visit. Can't figure the Corduas out. It used to be our go to restaurant for all special events, but no more.

          1. re: Lambowner

            I've never heard anything about Lynn's at all, but it has been there for . . . what . . . 30 years?

            What about Hugo's for asada?


            1. re: Lambowner

              Re: Lynn's, after looking them up, this may be the restaurant that our friend Mike C. Miller from the northern parts might be looking for: 11,000 bottles with 900 labels, and French owners. They also have Cafe Benedicte around the corner, which I think you've mentioned. We went a couple of times when they first opened that one but it wasn't memorable enough to return.

          2. Does this meal have to be steak? Close to IAH and locally owned, Jimmy G's on SH Pkwy North has the best local seafood you can possibly find. It should accomodate your budget, and you won't get lost in the Woodlands.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cheflambo

              Doesn't need to be steak. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

            2. El Tiempo Cantina, Laurnzo's Prime Rib. Both by the children of the founder of Ninfa's.
              Churrasco's for South American style.
              Rio Ranch for steaks in a upscale ranch house atmosphere.
              Barbeque Inn for truly great fried chicken (Food and Wine agrees), shrimp and chicken fried steak.

              1. What do you mean by 'within an hour?' One-way or round-trip? I'd play it safe in your situation and wouldn't try for TOT or River Oaks, for sure. Traffic at certain times will be a problem. You could almost certainly make it to Vic and Anthony's downtown in a half hour but that's probably a budget buster for you.


                This is a list of 'steak' places in the Woodlands, just west of IAH, no problem travel wise. You will recognize the chains. Perry's might be a good choice though perhaps also a budget buster. It's locally based though there are more than half a dozen locations now. I've never gone because I'm not much into steaks but others here on CHH have and could give advice. The other one on that list that might be interesting - I emphasize might since I've never been - would be the Guri du sul. Houston is an immigrant city and a South American steak house (i'm assuming that's what it is) is as much local flavor as a place with cowpokes moseying across the room or tumbleweeds in the parking lot.

                You can use that site to search for other options in the Woodlands, too.

                2 Replies
                1. re: brucesw

                  "as much local flavor as a place with cowpokes moseying across the room or tumbleweeds in the parking lot."

                  Thanks for the chuckle :-)