Houston’s, Pasadena: They Consistently Impress!

I had another great meal last night at Houston’s, this time time at their Pasadena location. Hillstone Restaurant Group is one of the most consistent, high quality operators in the country. Their other concepts include Gulfstream, Bandera, R+D, Hillstone Manhattan, and their Grill concepts in Rutherford, Palm Beach, Cherry Creek, Los Altos, and Woodmont. Their dependable service, quality, value, and ambience, make it easy to bury them with accolades. I’m obviously not alone in this assessment–all of their units are typically packed, even in these current economic conditions. Let’s start with their smart wine program. Most of their compact list in Pasadena is from California, with the exception of Champagne and a couple of selections from Argentina and Australia. They pour 29 wines by the glass, just about half of the entire list! Both the prices and pours are very generous, and if you have a question about a particular selection, the servers are more than prepared to talk about the wine. Still not convinced about what to order? They are happy to pour you a taste to make sure you are happy with your choice. I had a glass of Bruno Paillard Champagne for $11.00. It’s rather rare to find a full pour of Champagne for under $18.00, let alone $11.00! I also enjoyed a glass of Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc from Mendocino, which is actually a rosé, and is listed under “More White Wine.” The well thought out list contains a good assortment of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, a few blends, and other varietals such as Syrah and Malbec. The food menu is comprised of American favorites such as burgers, sandwiches, creative salads, and entrées such as roasted prime rib, Hawaiian rib-eye, seared tuna steak, and three different fresh market fish, among others. I love the fresh fish sandwich with cole slaw, and this particular evening I had the rotisserie chicken with Louisiana-style dirty rice. The highest priced entrée is $32, but most are in the 20s and my rotisserie chicken was $19. Salads and sandwiches range from $12-18. Never thought of Houston’s for sushi rolls? For a fun change of pace, start your meal with a glass of Champagne and a Thai Tuna Roll or BBQ Eel & Mango Roll. “Today’s Soup” was Mexico City Style Chicken & Rice, which was absolutely delicious (and a big portion). It is always amazing to see how fast an order arrives at your table. Everything is obviously fresh and prepared to order, but it is incredible to witness the efficiency of the staff and kitchen on a busy night. For desert, try (and I would recommend sharing) a Warm Five-Nut Brownie or Apple Walnut Cobbler. They also serve serious coffee. Kudos to General Manager CB Gersch for a well-run operation. Because of the dining room layouts, bar configurations, and locales, each Houston’s has its own unique personality and feel. Mr. Gersch has molded this particular unit into a consistently remarkable experience. www.hillstone.com/#/restaurants/houstons/

~ by Thomas on February 21, 2009.

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