Houston! Show a So california Chowhound (in town for 3 days this weekend ) some love.
I have been reading your boards so I don't overdo the redundancy , but I still need some up to date info: I will be staying in the northwest area near Willowbrook but I am mobile and like any good chowhound ready to drive if need be,for some good grub. Saturday night is the big family night Dinner. I was originally thinking Steakhouse, We have Flemings out here and that seems to be the level of some of the steakhouses I have looked up: Pappas, Vic and Anthony's, Perry's Steak house etc. If we do choose the steak route I want to find the one which gives Bang for your buck , don't really want to go the total high end if I can help it . the other option is Hugos Mexican for Saturday night , sounds like a must visit place.. other than that I don't know what kind of time I will have but I would love some Great casual Tex Mex ..........I am Looking at Gatlins, The brisket house or Rudys for BBQ ..., a great place for some pecan Pie. and maybe a rock solid soul food joint and just a plain old fashioned Great Cheeseburger . sheeesh a pretty touristy list I know but the rest we can get out here in LA.
Since you are staying in near Willowbrook, you are close to two non-touristy neighborhood gems: Mezzanotte, and the companion restaurant by the same owners, Piqueo. http://www.mezzanotte.tv/
Mezzanotte just made Alison Cook's Top 100 Restaurants in Houston list.
Not my area of town, Sorry.
However, since you want Texan-y type foods, let me recommend BBQ Inn at Yale and Crosstimbers. It's not too much of a schlep from Willowbrook. You want to order chicken fried steak and/or fried chicken and NOT the barbecue. Also excellent are the fried shrimp and fried oysters. You can buy those by the piece to go with your fried chicken.
Do this for lunch on Saturday, and then ...
Drive two blocks west to Flying Saucer Pie Company where they currently have pecan as well as a bunch of others. By the pie or by the slice.
Let me know if you want to hear about the tamale place a few miles east.
Hope you enjoy your visit.
P.S. EDITED TO ADD: Isn't there somewhere popular in Tomball that's been talked about here semi-recently? I searched but didn't find it.
Hugo's is great and I highly recommend it. If you're looking for steak, you might consider one of the churrascarias--I think Angus Grill made it onto Alison Cook's top 100 list. I've never been, but maybe someone else can comment on that or other rodizio options. I think that environment could be good for a big group.
I seem to recall a burger place out that way that's supposed to be good--Rockwell Tavern?
I honestly like Rudy's quite a bit, although I think that's maybe un-Texan of me. But I normally get the pulled pork or the turkey, not the brisket (definitely un-Texan!), so YMMV.
Tex-Mex-wise, I have to think there are probably some good options close to where you'll be, but I only know of closer in options.
This other dude came recently and stayed near Willowbrook. We had this discussion:
Bootsie's is now closed. For steak, families like Taste of Texas. Casual Tex-Mex, El Real very near Hugo's on Westheimer or any location of Pappasito's. There is one at Willowbrook. Best burger in town, IMO, Christian's Tailgate. For more family friendly burgers, Burger Guys is popular.
I will second Taste of Texas, if you do not mind a wait. Never had a bad steak and the rest of their food is very good.
Vic n Anthony's is a great steakhouse, but pricey. Prefer it over most of the others you mentioned.
As for Angus Grill, stay away. Rodzio style and VERY hit or miss. They are on Groupon, LivingSocial and most other discount websites ALL OF THE TIME. Because of this, their food usually is a miss and not that good.
Will also 2nd BBQ Inn for their Fried Chicken. It has made many national lists for their it. Again, I would stay away from their BBQ.
I am not familiar w/ the Willowbrook area so I can not recommend anything in that area.
For burgers, I am partial to Hubcap Grill, which has 2 locations. Good, messy burgers and nothing fancy by any means.