This Houston's location is one of the highest grossing locations in the country, mainly because of its great location on the intracoastal. The other reason is that the prices are really high here. In fact, Houston's has quietly become one of the most expensive chains for the kind of menu they have. While Houston's copycats like YOLO have moved to offering more appetizers and billing them as "small plates", Houston's has gone in a different direction. The only have a couple of appetizers and you'll pay $16 for a burger billed as "Ground Chuck". They used to tout their beef from Allen Brothers, but they've apparently dropped that product and now don't mention any branding for their beef.
Nevertheless, Houston's is a professional organization, and after a few bad lunches this week, I needed something I could count on. I got a mini-booth in the bar area; which is a raised area near the front door.
I usually get prime rib when I come to one of these Houston's / J Alexander type places, but I wasn't having that today. There was a snapper special that I considered, but I decided to go for the ribs. The menu here will remind you of YOLO, mainly because YOLO's owners are from Houston's and they've borrowed many of their ideas from here.
There's no bread, but they do cut their lemons into wedges, which shouldn't even need mentioning.
One idea that YOLO hasn't borrowed is that the portions here are huge.
At $29 this is hardly a bargain lunch, but they give you a lot of food. A big rack of ribs, fries and a very good cole slaw, which is made with cabbage, parsley and scallions. They describe the ribs as "fall off the bone", and they deliver. You can eat these without getting your hands too messed up, as the meat literally slips off of the bone. And they're good ribs as restaurant ribs go; not as good as top notch BBQ, but very enjoyable.
I never mention server's names but in this case I will; Lauren was charming and efficient and she made my visit very comfortable and pleasant.
It shouldn't cost $35 to eat lunch at a chain, but they don't send you home hungry. While I'm not a fan of the Boca location; this one is excellent. Just avoid their awful "eggless" caesar salad and you'll be good to go.
Compared to the place in Boca, this Houston's is the Taj Mahol of locations. Right on the intracoastal, on a nice afternoon or evening you want to try to get a table on the patio.
Inside its a very nice place, except that its way too dark. You can't see your food inside, which is in start contrast to eating on the sunny outside patio. The Bar area is a 360 degree affair, but if you sit on the backside you won't be able to see either of the 2 TVs. There's low lighting and nice, leather barstools and its a nice place to meet for drinks or for a date.
There was a time when I enjoyed Houston's, but that's before I became more knowledgeable about food. Their menu is similar to J Alexander's and J Mark's, which is no accident, as those restaurants have modeled themselves after Houston's. There's no lunch menu here, nor lunch specials, and the prices are just way too high for a chain restaurant. I also don't like it when specials are presented to me without indicating the price; the last thing I want is to be surprised by a $38. hunk of salmon.
The prime rib here is $29. and they don't indicate how much they give you. While their prices are high, I don't consider Houston's to be a great restaurant, so I decided to try a couple of specialties in the form of soup and salad. On Wednesdays they have Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo, and I paired it with a caesar salad. I remember enjoying their caesar years ago; but I don't remember that they had an "eggless" caesar as they do now. Eggless Caesar makes no sense to me, as egg or mayonnaise is the entire key to caesar.
They served me the Gumbo without the salad. It's so dark in the place that I could barely see it. One thing for certain is that this isn't really a soup; there's virtually no liquid at all. Unfortunately it also wasn't hot; in temperature or spice. The luke warm offering was a good portion of Okra, chicken, medium shrimp and rice, but the only slightly piquant flavor just wasn't spicy enough to qualify as a decent gumbo. It wasn't nearly as good as the gumbo at the Blue Moon at the next bridge over.
When I asked why they didn't bring the salad out my server indicated that they don't like to "rush" people; I guess they consider a soup and salad as a 2 course meal. I kind of like to eat them at the same time, so I coaxed her to fetch it for me.
Houston's awful 'eggless' Caesar Salad
While it looks like a Caesar Salad; it doesn't taste like one. The dressing tastes like plain oil; its not even garlicky nor is there any anchovy flavor. Its just not Caesar dressing. With grated parmesan and croutons that look pretty cool but are closer to oven baked garlic bread; the salad is just a loser through and through.
I've had some decent meals at Houston's but this wasn't one of them. The patio alone is enough of a reason to come here; but the food isn't the reason that would get me here.