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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Seafood, Southern
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Upper Kirby
2810 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 528-3474
Tony Mandola’s
White-clothed Cajun cuisine that’s a Houston icon wherever it goes

Tony Mandola’s is currently in its “Miracle Location” on Westheimer, but (as of press time) plans to move to a new, permanent space later in 2011. The temporary space is actually quite nice, with all the vibrancy and class of a smallish New Orleans restaurant, even if it does get quite crammed at busy times with longtime loyal supporters.

On any given night, the crowd of oil execs, former mayors, financiers, and anchorwomen dines on white tablecloths littered now and then with oyster shells. They adore the variety of terrific snapper dishes; our favorite is “Snapper Martha,” grilled to golden and topped with shrimp, crawfish, and crabmeat. Most sinful is the appropriately named “Snapper Decadent,” topped with blackened shrimp, oysters, lump crabmeat, and brown butter. Although pasta dishes are overtly creamy and a bit mushy, we just can’t quit the crawfish ravioli. Fried dishes are good, but nothing special.

While there’s plenty of recognizable Cajun fare on the menu, there are places around town where you can find better po’ boys, gumbo, and étouffée for much less money. The wine list is a perfunctory, showing of recognizable names from here and abroad. It’s totally boring but competitively priced. But we’ll take a “Cajun Martini,” because it’s the ideal marriage of spice and class, just like Tony Mandola’s is, always has been, and—we bet—will continue to be, “Miracle Location” or no.

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