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houstoncrimlawyer's Profile

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NY with kids...

I agree. I try to stay away from chains if possible. Lugers I have taken them to and I was not very impressed. It was good. But not "great", IMO.

I am taking them to Keen's this time.

I am a big fan of the Palm but you can go to them in almost every major city. The ambiance may vary but it is still "corporate".

Aug 06, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

Interesting. I have a general (although not always) rule: you will be hard pressed to get good Mexican food outside of Texas or Southern CA. You cannot get good BBQ outside of Texas/Kansas City/Memphis/and maybe a couple of other places. You cannot get good authentic Italian outside of the tri-state area. These are generalities, of course. I know there is an exception to every rule, but just something I am accustomed to typically speaking, and therefore I try to get local flavor depending upon where I am.

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

Lockhart has a deep BBQ history - essentially you have Kreutz's Market, and their family feud has their nemesis, Smitty's Market (much better BBQ ambiance and authenticity IMO), and Black's (haven't been there yet). Those are the big 3 in Lockhart. I am impressed with the attempt that Dinosaur BBQ (only went to the Syracuse location) has tried. It is certainly not "BBQ" but they have made it quite a place for people to park their money.

I have often wondered if a true BBQ family could take their trade up to the city and open up a place. I doubt it b/c BBQ does not have "flare" or "pizazz" - it is meat - smoked meat and some simple sided. You cannot make it trendy or "upscale" bc that very thing defies the logic of what BBQ is.

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

You could be right about Katz's. I have been to both the one in NY and the ones in Houston and Austin. I agree that they are worlds apart. My only point was we have one here and while it is not the same, its close enough that I don't want to go while in NY again. As for the bankruptcy, I agree that NY is never going to see the inside of a Bankruptcy court...at least not in either of our lifetimes.

I'm impressed with your Kreutz's comparison. Have you ever been? It really is a very good place. Nothing else in that town except BBQ. But it is worth a stop if you are anywhere remotely close to Austin (as Lockhart is only 30 miles away). I make stops a couple times a year when I am in Austin for clients.

I am excited about Russ & Daughters. The more you tell me about it the more excited I get to go there. It sounds like a place you cannot pass up.

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

Sneakeater...you are not correct. Katz's son is the owner (or was) of the Houston location. The Austin location is owned by M&M Katz Inc. (i.e., Marc Katz). Check out

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/sto...

I think you are mistaken. They are in fact the same place, albeit though different locations.

Thanks for the tip at Russ & Daughters.

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

Thanks Pan. I think I will wait on Spotted Pig. Gastro has been the way to go lately (at least in Houston anyway) and for lunch you can take your kids, but I would not take them for dinner. As for GS/SG/Lan Sheng, I really am not sure which to go to. I like spicy food, but the kids don't like it too spicy, so I guess I need to steer clear of anything too spicy.

Thanks again.

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

Great intel btw. I appreciate that. Sounds like John's is the place I want to go to.

I planned on being at Clinton St. right at 8. I do not like to wait for any meal. I surely will not be waiting 2-3 hours, great pancakes or not.

What do you mean Spotted Pig might be "ok"? As in, Ok for quality or ok for a lunch? I am confused. But if it is not kid appropriate, then I may need to skip it for later when I am back and sans kids.

I figured as much about Minetta. That is another place I must wait to go to without the kids.

Yes, I meant Lan Sheng. I did mean Grand Sichuan. I read a lot about both GS and SG. Which is better and why? Is Lan Sheng still the over all place to go to between the three or are they all pretty comparable?

We have Katz's in Houston. There is also a location in Austin as well. Will look into Russ & Daughters. What is good there?

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

Places we have chosen thus far:

Clinton St. Bakery

Rubirosa or John's on Bleeker for pizza

The Spotted Pig

Minetta Tavern

Todd's at the Plaza

Liang Sheng or GS for Chinese...

Any other places I "must" go to that I am missing?

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

I have not done Keen's, so I made resos there to make it this time. This is not a shopping trip or a tourist trip either (as we are there several times a year and have done the tourist stops way back when). Mostly I am planning on handling a little business and of course the Yankees/Red Sox game, but otherwise I plan on eating good local food I cannot get anywhere else.

As I mentioned before, I am not real worried about kid appropriate places as my kids act surprisingly well when we take them to nice places. I am mostly looking for places where the food and atmosphere will be good.

I like spicy, but the kids are not huge fans of spicy Chinese, and as "Pan" pointed out, that must be something to consider. I understand the "best" is really a comical question, as there is usually never a "best" but rather a list of places that would all vie for the "best". Eataly sounds like it will be too crowded to enjoy with the kids, so I am thinking some of the other places mentioned.

Oh, I forgot to ask for a place for breakfast/brunch on Sunday. We are big fans of Todd's at the plaza and the kids really like that place as well, but I need another spot for Sunday morning. Thoughts???

Aug 05, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

NY with kids...

I will be back in NY this month although, with the kids in tow this time (9 & 5). We can take them most places without any problems, although would likely stay away from places like Babbo and others similar in terms of atmosphere and ambiance.

Mostly I am looking for some local CH takes on the following:

- best Chinese (or some of the same recommendations for good, authentic Chinese) - I don't mind ordering back to the hotel if it is a delivery only place (we will be staying in Mid-town).

- best Italian (here I am looking for more of a comfort food place versus a Batali joint). Location is not an issue. We will go wherever we need to go to.

- best Pizza (don't want to go back to Brooklyn for Grimaldi's - even though we enjoyed it last time)

- best Steakhouse (have previously been to Luger's - looking for something that is unique to NYC, like Keen's - as we have every other chain in Houston that you have in NY...so something local and unique is the key.)

How is Eataly? Have been meaning to go several of the last times I was in town, but never made it.

Open for any suggestions. Kids are well behaved when we dine at nice places, so that is not an issue for us.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 04, 2012
houstoncrimlawyer in Manhattan

Brasserie 19 (W. Gray) Experience

The pork at Catalan is or shall I say, was, provided by Black Hill meats. They are a local purveyor of specialty pork. They have rare breeds of pork that you will not find at most restaurants in Houston. Most Houston restaurants use the same low grade Sysco processed meat and throw some sauce on top of it and plate it at $29.95 and you are led to believe it is quality. Ask around, more and more restaurants are using Black Hill meats, (Haven, Catalan (before they closed), and numerous others).

May 23, 2011
houstoncrimlawyer in Houston

Brasserie 19 (W. Gray) Experience

@ Chef Lambo - I expect the servers not to lie to your face when asked a direct question. If I ask how many appetizers I need to order (thus implying I don't mind spending the money as long as there is enough to go around) I expect an honest answer. Honesty goes a long way with the tip. We left the guy 20% and would have left more as we typically do for "good" service. I understand the negative correlation between app size and price. I just expect not to be lied to. I would not consider this "high end" just as the very nature of their theme would suggest that it is not a high end place but a place that serves quality meals at a price that should be on par with the quality. I didn't feel we were gouged by any means, just misled by the staff. On a side note - they have great fresh squeezed lemonade if you are looking for a summer drink to quench your thirst while waiting for your table or food.

May 22, 2011
houstoncrimlawyer in Houston

Brasserie 19 (W. Gray) Experience

We went to Brasserie 19 on 5/8/11. I am not sure if this was the first weekend they were open or the second, but I thought I would give you the run down.

First off, they were aiming for the upscale/downscale concept because (according to their website) they wanted people to feel they could come eat there 3-4 times per week instead of just on anniversaries or birthdays, etc.

It was a very eclectic mix of patrons. You clearly had the old-money River Oaks crowd, but you also had a lot of younger people there on dates, dining with friends, etc. It was a lot more casual than what I was anticipating.

As for the service....it was TERRIBLE. The entrees were plated one at a time, each one coming about 5 minutes after the previous one. Seriously, the kitchen has some kinks to work out. Which, depending upon when they opened up, this may be an easy fix. Although, this is the 3rd installment from these guys (Ibiza, Catalan..) so you would think the recipe for a successful opening month would be second nature by now. Not the case here.

After the entrees FINALLY got there for ALL of us, we had yet another issue, which may just be a product of a waiter in the weeds? My friend's wife ordered a glass of wine that was a suggestion of the waiter. It never came, so she inquired about it. His reply: "Yes, ma'am, what did you order?" She said, "well I don't know, I took your recommendation, so you tell me." --- clearly he had no clue so I am sure she got whatever glass of Pinot Noir they could pour fastest.

AS FOR THE FOOD: The appetizers we ordered: (gnocchi & steak tartare) were good. HOWEVER --- they were TINY. I know this is a French themed restaurant, but when I say tiny, I am referring to 5 small pieces of gnocchi for a table of 4. Literally. We each had one and I snagged the 5th piece. Worth $15? Not in the least bit for the amount of food. The steak tartare yielded about 5 fork fulls as well. They were both very good, but the waitstaff should advise the tables that you need about 3-4 appetizers because they are so small you will get one bite. They never did. So I ordered a cone of french fries, as a table next to me got one and they looked good. Those held us over until the main course came.

My wife got the blue crab cocktail (which was listed as a main entree) and it came out 1/2 full and looked like it could yield about 3-4 spoon fulls, if that. She told them she had no idea it was that small or would be 1/2 full, so she got the Halibut instead. The portion was average size and she remarked that it was very good. My buddy got the filet ($38) and he said it tasted EXACTLY like the filet at Ibiza. I had the ribeye ($32) which came with mushrooms and marrow. It was an 18oz (I was told) ribeye
and it was good. It was good for the price point. It was cooked the way I asked (med rare) and had good flavor. Our other friend got a salad and the 1/2 lobster. It arrived LAST after we were almost done and it was prepared shelled, on ice. She was never told it was served chilled. She ate it but was not happy that the waiter did not inform her of this (and there was no mention in the menu).

The re-fills on cocktails and other drinks were very very slow. Again, this could be one waiter slammed in the weeds and not a reflection of the restaurant in general.

When we got the dessert menu it looked "okay" but we did not want the fiasco of waiting one by one to receive our dessert. So we left and went to Tony's for their souffle.

The total bill (including drinks) was about $185 or so. Overall, it has the capacity to be a pretty good place IMO, but time will tell. We had a good time, but I will be back for lunch a few times before I try them out for dinner again.

Just my .02

May 08, 2011
houstoncrimlawyer in Houston