- Dick Davis
Anything good to eat in Aggieland?
There is a very good restaurant called Cafe Exxel (sp?) that I've been to twice - excellent blackened fish and grilled vegetables (asparagus, portabella, green beans, squash).
There are a number or Mexican places with Parrillada platters.
In my opinion, Madden's Casual Courmet in Downtown Bryan is the best restaurant in town. The food at B/CS is not great, but Madden's is a rare exception! Christopher's World Grille is quite good, too. The dinner menu at both places can be a bit pricey, depending on what your budget is like. Lunch is much more affordable.
Sorry, but I have to disagree about Cafe Eccel. It was the nicest place in town when I was a student, but now as a grown-up foodie, it is nothing special. I haven't been to Madden's or Christopher's, but I would not suggest looking for a big-town quality foodie meal in College Station. Just embrace the college town atmosphere and get a burrito at Freebird's, a burger and cheese fries at the Dixie Chicken or Chicken Oil Co., chicken wings at Wings N' More, or Tex-Mex on Main Street in Bryan.
Burger Boy is a local legend, just north of the A & M campus. Also, farther south on College Ave. is the Chicken Oil Company. Both places make great burgers.
Current scoop on dining in Aggieland:
Wings-N-More in CS or Bryan are good. HOWEVER, any other locations outside of the B/CS area are franchises and Not reliably good. We eat there often and the onion rings are a always a favorite. And pickle chips. And their Carribean Shrimp. I'm having a hard time coming up with something that was bad. Oh yes, once I got a grilled chicken with overcooked chicken.
Super yum: Fish Daddy's oh, my, goodness finally a decent, but not especially foodie, fish place. I'm addicted to their grilled salmon salad and lemon vinigrette. The Crazy Cajun's crawfish Etouffe' was quite good, if a tad pricey and the catfish po-boy my husband had was very nice. Fair warning they put a very spicy red-pepper blend (Tony Sacherere's? sp) on everything even the boiled new potatoes; ask specifically to have it omitted if you are dining with folks who are spicy averse, like a 6 year old :) Hebert's (pronounced ay-bears) is open again after the annual summer closure with a spiffy new sign and very long lines at lunch, has anyone eaten there recently, got a report?
Cafe Ecell was very disappointing the last time I attempted to eat there for lunch. I went early, 11:15, wanted to take away a wood fired margharita pizza and was basically ignored for 15 minutes. I walked out in disgust. I've heard 4-5 more reports that the service, if not the food, has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.
I hear good reports about Maddens but, haven't tried it.
Blue Baker is still a family go-to fave for the wood fired pizza's, rocking tomato basil bisque, and recently they've added a small size salad option, so I can get my favorite baby brutus salad but, in a portion I can manage. Their parmesan salad bowls are good but, at last trial, I had to ask for another as the first one wasn't cooked to crisp, but was rather an unappetizing level of chewy. I suppose they'd put the small salad in one for an extra fee. I also wish they had a home baked cracker type thing to go with the cups of soup. Say, day old bagles or bread turned into bagel crackers or super melba toast? Let's face it plain saltines with their extra good soups aren't cutting it when you have left-over artisan breads and a hugenormous wood oven just sitting their burning fuel.
Has anyone been to Luigi's, the new italian place in CS? Also, the Boat in Bryan is being reopened as something else, but still fish oriented. Has anyone got any inside scoop on who's doing what there?
Sodolak's in Snook or the Beekmasters on 21 for decent steaks and huge portions. Otherwise, steak is best if you grill it yourself. For a reliable chain for steak, definitely Texas Roadhouse and NOT Outback. They are also doing more lunches and not just dinner.
Foodie quality food: yep your best bet is still Christopher's and plan to pay for it.
Beef jerky: Rosenthal Meat Lab on TAMU Campus www.tamu.edu.
The only other bit of dining advice I have for the B/CS are is to Go very early or very late during the university school year. Seriously, unless you go to a place that takes reservations you will have a very long wait. I don't know where the students get the money to eat out like they do but it's seriously hard to get seated for less that a 30-45 minute wait and there is generally NO bar seating available. Anywhere. Even terrible places like Ninfa's.
Update on Hebert's - It is open and it is marvy! I had the Crawdad Etouffe' and a friend had the Cajun Pot roast sandwich. She did say that it didn't taste prticularly cajun, but was delicious, mouthwateringly tender, with that unctious mouthfeel that good pot roast ought to have. She later reported that it did have a long slow low burn so, be warned. She's going to find out if you can buy it by the quart or gallon like you can the gumbo and etouffe' because she's determined to get enough to take home to Kurten for dinner.
I definitely second the Fish Daddy's rec. I had mahi-mahi that was impossibly perfectly cooked despite its size - it was a BIG piece of fish, about 4.5x2.5, and easily 2inches thick. I requested broiled, with broccoli (steamed florets which were perfectly crisp-tender), and absolutely loved it.
Also wonderful, their blue cheese vinagrette is clearly house-made, and dressed a salad of greens, julienned apples, candied walnuts and curiously sweet/curiously good brown bread croutons. My husband had the (I think) Russian Chow dressing which was also fantastic.
He ordered a sirloin/chicken finger combo (wait, what? yes, really) that he definitely enjoyed with his Shiner on tap.
We were in town for a "Spend the Night with the Corps" college-visit trip, and let's just say that I'm hoping my son's desire to go to A&M and become a cadet pan out for more reasons than one. That mahi-mahi was that good and the margaritas hit the spot for a stressed out mom.