Houston, TX 77005
I had the POM Pomegranate with some almonds and blackberries, and as much as I want to say OMG OMG NOM and that it tastes different than the other 20 yogurt places, it doesn’t. In terms of the area, I’d more than likely go here first over swirll, but its a definite tough call when going up against Chocolate Bar.
1301 Nance St
Houston, TX 77002
I really wanted to love this place because of the concept of bringing a fun spin and take on the hot dog and hamburgers that coney island has monopolized on but I guess i need to give this place a second chance to impress me in the future.
I came here on a Friday for lunch with a friend and there was a severe lack of parking which I was prepared for from past visits to Last Concert Cafe around the corner. After driving around a bit, I found a spot and made the couple block trek to Ray’s. Upon entering, there was no one in there except us and a quick look over the menu and we both knew what we wanted. There was a male and female duo working the ordering and cooking and while nice, they weren’t terribly personable and just wanted to take our order and get back to the phone conversation. Our final order was a Chupacabre, The Birds and an order of Scissor Sticks. The food came out fairly fast and looked great, I was really looking forward to the meal before me. The Chupacabre gets a bit soggy after a while, so my advice would be to talk less and eat quickly. The Birds, a chicken sandwich with cheese and fixins was solid but nothing that made me want it again. The highlight of the meal for me were the scissor sticks, a mixture of deep fried onions and jalapeno strips with some ranch sauce. The portion size was definitely more than my friend and I could handle.
My place holder rating is a 2/5 because nothing really stood out from this visit that makes me want to come back. Some friends told me that I should try out a burger before committing to a solid rating, and I owe it to Ray’s to give the burger a try before a true final rating.
2/5: An interesting take on some old favorites that satisfy the wallet and taste buds.
5161 San Felipe
Houston, TX 77056
Came here friday night with a best friend fully intent on sharing a great italian meal. Having previously looked at the menu and been completely overwhelmed it was a hard task to choose a dish that I felt represented Ciao Bello to the fullest. Upon entering the hostess’ were friendly and showed us to a booth quickly. As soon as we sat down two waiters in tandem greeted us, poured our waters and placed the napkin on our laps. Great first impression indeed.
The menu was just massive, my friend and I had a hard time deciding what we wanted and we were almost tempted to order something from every section of the menu. The waiter greeted us with two assortments of bread and from that point on we knew we were in store for a great meal. We decided to go with the Mussels Aiello and Beef Carpaccio Pazzo for appetizers. The Mussels Aiello were fantastic and left me wondering which ones I enjoyed more, Ciao Bello or Sorrento. The flavor of the dish was amazing, LOVED it. I can’t say the same for the Beef Carpaccio, I liked the idea of apples included in the dish however the execution left a lot to be desired, the beef was laid atop an apple slice however there was just too much apple included. You couldnt taste the beef at all, not completely disappointing but enough to not want to order this or recommend it to anyone else. For the main course I went with the Fedelini con Granchio which included Lump Crabmeat, Lemon, and White Vermouth. At $23, it was a solid dish with tons of flavor, but it came at a price point a *bit* higher than I would have liked. My friend went with the Agnolotti di Zucca which was Squash Stuffed with Light Sage Sauce. The first few were amazing, the squash was perfect, by the end of the dish, the squash was a bit overwhelming. I can see this dish in a half portion served as an appetizer for the full impact without getting tired of it. Sautéed Spinach Aglio e Olio and Truffle Roasted Potatoes rounded out the main courses. Dessert came in the form of Mom’s Chocolate Ice Box Pie, consistency was great and the crust was great.
The decor of Ciao Bello was very clean with modern accents, I absolutely loved the bar area design, You almost forget there is a Randalls in the same shopping center lol. Complete meal came in right at $100 with tip which is a steal in my book. I’ll be back next time to tackle a pizza or two.
3/5: Solid Italian place, definitely get the mussels and take time to enjoy all the flavors from the dishes. Modern decor make you forget that there’s a Randalls next door.
2502 Algerian Way
Houston, TX 77098
Simple Review: wow.
I made a reservation for 6 people for 7:30 and was running superlate, a quick call to Haven and a simple apology for running behind and the sympathetic hostess said, no problem, we’ll be waiting for you. Around 8pm we arrived to some friendly valet parking attendants and a gorgeous restaurant. We were greeted promptly and our cocktail orders were taken immediately. I must admit, while looking at the dinner menu online I felt extremely disappointed at the lack of options but the menu they had on friday night changed that with a quickness. The menu was packed with goodies that night with a few new additions as our waiter pointed out.
For appetizer I went with the infamous Shrimp Corn Dogs with a shot of Lemonade and Tobasco mash remoulade. I cant even describe how awesome these were, I was tempted to order another round of these things. For my main entree I went with a new item on the menu, Akaushi beef sirloin with sweet potato and mushroom caramelized onion demi glace. I ordered my Akaushi sirlion rare plus, to which the waiter commented back “Black and Blue and barely cooked eh?” EXACTLY. lol, The Sirloin came out in glorious fashion, my first cut into the meat and it was heaven on my plate, and even tasted better than it looked, the cut of meat melted in my mouth. I savored every single bite of that dish until there was no more to be had. I was honestly sad when i took my last bite. That is, until the coconut tres leche bread pudding came out. I was nearing full capacity but I made enough room for the great bread pudding that I fortunately shared with my close friend. All this for $80 with 15% tip was very reasonable and I’d recommend what i had to anyone any day of the week. While I can understand some of the dissatisfaction of the wood-grilled queen snapper that some others got at the table and even the same akaushi sirlion (cooked medium) I am going to be fair and rate what I ate, and what I ate was (I’ll use the word again) GLORIOUS.
4/5: Service, Decor, Shrimp Corn Dogs, Rare Plus Akaushi Sirloin all add up to an amazing dining experience. While the view of the Taco Cabana across the street isnt pleasant, you’ll forget about it when the first shrimp corndog hits your tongue.
4319 Lockwood Dr
Houston, TX 77026
After a few days of great meals (Ciao Bello and Haven) I decided to head over to Hank’s Fish Market after reading the Houston Press article by Robb Walsh. After a google maps snafu (Search for Hank’s Fish Market and not by address “4319 Lockwood”) I was in the parking lot and ready to tear into some fish and shrimp. It’s in the fifth ward so you’ll run into a variety of people, a sign that this place is damn good i suppose lol. Looking at all the stencil prepared poster boards with “Family Special” written on all of them, we decided to go for the 10 Trout and 15 Shrimp special for $15.99 and some fried crawfish tails for $3.99. The Family special came out in a birthday cake box and I felt like it was my birthday after cracking open the top to be greeted by the fresh smell of fried seafood. Opening the box to the crawfish wasnt as eventful though. The trout and shrimp were perfectly fried and wasn’t terribly oily. Slap on some hot sauce and tarter sauce and goto town. The three of us consumed 10 large pieces of trout, 15 shrimp, 30 fried crawfish tails, large box of fries and a large “salad” (read iceberg lettuce and french dressing).
3/5: Not the best area of Houston, but make the trek out here at least once for some great fried seafood!