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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Sun–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm

Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Upper Kirby
4848 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX
(713) 529-2386

5888 Westheimer Rd.
(713) 975-1947
A classy, contemporary chain that manages to avoid a chain’s usual weak links

Houston’s, with locations from OC to DC, enjoys a legendary success wherever it is. The décor, which was cutting-edge in the ’90s, manages to evade that datedness from which contemporary interiors from that period often suffer. Instead, it’s more of a classic and clubby feel that integrates elements that seem almost Art-Deco-Navajo. The shiny red banquettes are comfy, but you’ll have to negotiate some ghastly downward lighting. As the waitstaff can be disturbingly attentive, it’s a slightly better group spot than a date one. If there’s a long wait, sidle up to the bar and enjoy a stuffed-olive martini

We love to start with cedar-smoked salmon, whose followers are legion. It’s flaky and topped with a dollop of dilly crème fraîche. Filet mignon is unusually flavorful, although we prefer the fattier ribeye. Here it’s dolled up annoyingly as “Hawaiian,” with a sweetish marinade. Still, this is top-steakhouse quality in a less pretentious atmosphere, at a price that undersells the big names. As expected, there’s a delicious burger that comes in several configurations, all tasting of a good smokehouse grill. Get it medium-rare, and don’t miss the exemplary thin fries.

The wine list has a few pleasant surprises at much lower markups than usual, and cocktails are of the sort that come in martini glasses the size of Texas, but they’re solidly crafted—like this enduring and still lovable chain.

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