Category Archives: Rating: h8

Indika

Indika

516 Westheimer Road

Houston, TX 77006

(713) 524-2170

http://www.indikausa.com

Rating: h8

A long, long time ago, Aaron and I went to Indika. Being on college student budgets, we discovered we really could only afford to drink our dinner and left after a round of cocktails. Years later, we decided to revisit the parent restaurant of our beloved Pondicheri. Pondicheri converted Aaron into an Indian food lover (lucky for me since I was already a fan and could never convince Aaron myself).

Our hostess was very nice to us, offering a booth so that we could sit next to each other. Our waiter…not so much. He seemed really busy (although there were plenty of wait staff and the restaurant was half empty). When I asked for three olives in my martini, I was informed that they were blue cheese stuffed olives and cost three dollars each…but he would do me a huge favor and give it to me anyway. Hmmph.

Amuse bouche: cucumber with spicy yogurt and stewed lentils

He ate: I really enjoyed this. It was a little savory, a little spicy. Quite nice.

She ate: A simple dish, nothing crazy but pretty enjoyable.

Pork Belly & Kale wraps: grilled pork belly marinated in tamarind & black pepper, sweet potato fries, fig chutney & kale

He ate: Since pork belly, sweet potatoes, and kale are literally Amy’s three favorite things, I suggested getting this. It was alright. Individually it was all fine. The pork was too chewy but the flavor was fine. The sweet potatoes were REALLY good, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I would order it again to see if the pork belly is better cooked next time.

She ate: Let me put it this way. My knife could not cut the pork belly. It was really chewy and definitely not braised long enough. That being said, I actually didn’t mind the chewy texture. I prefer chewy over tough, stringy meat any day. But I prefer soft and tender over both chewy or tough.  And the fat of the belly was nowhere to be found. I agree the sweet potatoes were great but it’s kind of hard to mess up sweet potatoes.

Goat Brain Masala: goat brains quick braised with amchur masala, served over a pistachio apricot naan

He ate: I’ve never had brains before so I really wanted to try it. I was disappointed that the flavors of everything else really overwhelmed the brains, so I couldn’t really taste any of that essence of goat you always taste. I know Amy really liked it…A LOT. I thought it was an interesting dish and maybe something I would order again just to see if I like it better next time.

She ate: Mmmmmm goaaaaaaat braaaaaaaaaaaains how I love thee. The naan was perfectly pillowy and crispy to compliment the soft tofu-like texture of the brains. I could taste the goat essence (although I’m very sensitive to that taste. I used to not eat goat cheese because I equated goat flavor to monkey balls, but I’ve grown to like monkey balls). I also love sweet savory pairings in general, so the pistachio apricot was a brilliant addition. I could eat two or more of these pies and be a very happy brainy girl!

Stuffed Eggplant: purple eggplant stuffed with paneer & roasted cashews,
fresh turmeric curry & sautéed greens

He ate: Sorry I didn’t try this.

She ate: I liked this fine, but it was super bland and I could barely find the paneer in it. Actually, I couldn’t tell what any of the ingredients were since they were pretty much blended and mixed in…nor could I taste the flavors. Overall a huge snoozeville. Not worth the calories of paneer and cashews…or the $18 price tag.

Mango Chutney Chicken: Bryan Farms chicken breast stuffed with fresh mango chutney in a tomato almond curry

He ate: It wasn’t mango-y enough. It was just chicken…and there were some okra and potatoes on there. It was okay but nothing special. I thought it would be more mango and coconut milk but it was a pretty bland dish. I did want something lighter but this was too boring.

She ate: Zzzzz…oh and the chicken was tough.

Overall it was an okay experience but really there are zero reasons for us to return. I would have rather gone…anywhere.  ..anywhere with flavor. Almost everything other than the brains were just so bland, which I find astounding for Indian food. I don’t even know how you make Indian food bland since so much of it is spice based. Aaron actually found the dishes to be spicy but in a predictable way. A dish would arrive, he knew how it would taste, and then that would be it.

tl; dr: Expensive, not that good, weird service. Stick with Pondicheri.

Advertisements

Mini Korean Food Tour

Nam Gang

1411 Gessner Dr, Ste A
Houston, TX 77080
(713) 467-8801

Rating: h8

Soju Bang

10049 Long Point Rd

Houston, Tx 77055

713-722-0578

Rating: 8

I got to live out my Korean soap opera fantasies on our last date night. Aaron and I wanted an exotic food staycation, and we decided this mini Korean food tour would be just the thing. We got a late start so didn’t make it to Han Mi Jung, but we did make it to both Nam Gang and Soju Bang.

Nam Gang

He ate: My overall comment about this place is that it’s really expensive. They cook the food here for you, and if you don’t like that it might be annoying, but I suppose you can just tell them to go away. Our bill was $80 and we only ordered half of what we usually would have ordered since we knew we were going to another restaurant afterwards.

She ate: I was really excited about Nam Gang for two reasons: 1. table top bbq with coal. I haven’t found this at any Korean restaurants on Bellaire, and 2. the egg banchan (similar to Japanese chwanmushi, or a steamed egg) that comes free along with the many small appetizer dishes. As you can see below, the coal excitement was fulfilled, but the egg banchan never came. When I asked for it the waitress kind of rolled her eyes and said “ok, well, I can make it for you…if you want.”

image

image

He ate: I liked the sauces that came with the sauces that came with food, the thicker bean paste sauce, and then the sesame sauce with the salt on the bottom. I liked the appetizer plates here more than I usually do. They didn’t have the whole fried fish like they do at Tofu Village, but I’m not a big fan of that so it was fine with me. I really liked the kimchi (I usually don’t) because it was a little sweeter than what you usually get. I also liked the plum seaweed. I thought the sides were better than average but not that much.

She ate: The small dishes were more substantial and interesting than the small dishes offered at Korean restaurants on Bellaire. They had egg battered tofu and marinaded eggplant, two varieties I haven’t yet seen. Other than that, there was nothing special about their small dishes or entrees.

image

He ate: I liked the marinaded short ribs a lot, but I like this dish wherever we get it. It tends to taste very similar wherever we go.

She ate: I agree. Short ribs are going to be good even when covered in poo. Ok maybe not poo but come on. It’s a cheap, fatty cut of meat. You can’t really go wrong here.

image

He ate: I thought the oyster pancake was just ok. It was luke warm and wasn’t very good. It had a nice amount of oyster in it, but overall the pancake was not well-formed and kept falling apart.

She ate: The pancake wasn’t crispy at all, but the oysters were plentiful and fresh. It also made for a yummy cold leftover treat the next day.

image

image

He ate: When we ordered the lamb, they tried really hard to dissuade us. I don’t understand why lamb is such an exotic thing. They kept saying it smells, and then when they cooked it for us. The meat was a little thin and overcooked, but I guess that’s what happens when someone else is cooking for you—they tend to not care as much/they don’t know how you like it. I tend to like my meats a little undercooked rather than overcooked.

She ate: Yeah, I have no fucking clue what that whole thing was about. I find it highly annoying when we go to Asian restaurants and the waiters/waitresses look to me and asks “are you sure HE will eat that?!” *eyes Aaron as if they were all of a sudden invisible to him.* The fuck. This time at least Aaron was not singled out. It was just totally random. “Are you sure you want the lamb? It smells!” Sure, lamb has a distinctive aroma, but does it matter when we’re in a restaurant full of people grilling AT THEIR TABLE? For real. Finally they let us order the lamb, but they kept making comments about how it smells the whole time they were cooking it, and they even said “smells like oysters!” (ummmm probably from the oyster sitting next to the grill but whatever).

Overall we probably won’t go back. It wasn’t bad by any means, it just wasn’t that good and was way too expensive.

Soju Bang:

image

He ate: This was some of the most interesting food I’ve had in a long time. It was very, very different from food I’ve had in a long time. And coming from eating in Houston, where you can find really any ethnicity food you want, and done well at that, this is saying a lot. It was not really my taste palate—everything was super spicy. The soju was like weak everclear. I know we just got the very basic standard soju, and there are much better ones out there, but I would not recommend that to anyone. I also got the Hite beer, which I assume is the bud light of Korea. This was basically water, and so I would also not recommend this to anyone.

She ate: Ok, the soju was indeed like everclear…but I kind of think that’s the beauty of soju. It’s an every man drink, and it’s fun to cringe after each sip—and it makes the fried shit you’re about to eat taste all the better in contrast! I really dug the atmosphere of the bar/restaurant. It was a Korean dive bar—something Houston lacks. Houston lacks authentic Asian bars of any kind, which makes me kind of sad. There was a wedding after party happening when we were there, which was pretty awesome.

Kim Ma Ri:

image

image

He ate: These were so interesting. I don’t even know what to compare these to. I don’t think I can even form an opinion on these since they’re nothing like anything I’ve ever tasted before.

She ate: I was informed that these are a very typical street food called Kim Ma Ri. They were most excellent. Chewy, starchy noodles, wrapped in seaweed, battered, and deep-fried. We didn’t we think of this earlier?? They didn’t seem all that spicy to me, but then again, I have a manlier tolerance level of spice than Aaron. Just sayin’.

Teteokbokki:

image

He ate: This was too spicy for me, but I really liked the texture of the rice cakes. I would pick one out, eat it, and decide it’s too spicy. Then I’d pick another one out to eat, just to make sure, and to experience the texture again! They were addictive. The dumplings were a bit disappointing, but it was nice to have a crunchy texture to contrast with everything else.

She ate: Ok, I admit this dish was pretty spicy even for me. I pretty much would eat a bite, shout “OH! Spicy!” take a glug of soju, make a cringy face at the everclear-ness of the liquor, and eat another bite of the spicy red noodles to erase the soju taste, then the vicious cycle would start all over again. No, but seriously, I really liked this dish. The sauce was spicy but also very sweet. The noodles were perfectly al dente but squishy at the same time. There were also these fat, doughy rice cake logs that just soaked up the sauce. In contrast, there were the deep-fried crispy dumplings, which actually were not all that great but the dish really needed the crispness.

Ja Jeung Mein:

image

He ate: Even though these noodles were super black (they looked like they were cooked in squid ink! Which would have actually tasted much better. Too bad.) they didn’t have much of a black bean flavor. I really liked these noodles. The texture was great and it had a really pleasant aroma.

She ate: I thought these noodles were pretty sad. They used a different noodle than the red spicy one above, so it wasn’t as chewy or al dente. It wasn’t overcooked, just a very boring texture. The bean sauce didn’t taste like beans because it was overpowered by the humongous BED OF ONIONS THAT WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD. I’m not well versed in Korean food, so maybe this is typical of Korean ja jeung mein (although I’ve had it in other Korean restaurants and never with onions). This dish was not bad, very edible, but not my cup of tea. My ja jeung mein loyalty still remains with Dumpling King, the one on Bellaire, NOT Westheimer!

We would go back to Soju Bang to try some of their other dishes. Even though it’s far from us, they offer dishes not typically found in other Korean restaurants.

Pizaro’s Pizza

Pizaro’s Pizza

14028 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX

(281) 589-7277 ‎
Rating: h8

Pizaro’s Pizza is yet another restaurant the foodiesphere have been buzzing about. Everyone loves it, it’s the new best thing next to wonder bread, blahblahblah.

So of course, Aaron and I have to be sheep and follow the herd.

Baaaaah.

Was it worth it?

He ate: So we walk in, stand in line, order. It was very crowded, but it was a Saturday night so maybe expected. They have a pretty short list of pizzas available, which is kind of a good thing. All the pizzas looked interesting but nothing extravagant which was a little disappointing. It would have been nice to see some creative combinations. Every single table had brought their own wine, so the atmosphere was pretty festive. The service was great—they didn’t have any wait staff and they were not understaffed. But based on the food alone, I don’t think I would recommend it. With pizzas you go two directions. Either you get a style, and it’s AWESOME. Great deep dish, great Napoletana, great New York style—whatever the specific style the pizzerias focuses on, they nail it cold. Or you go with something that’s interesting. Pizaro’s aimed to be of the former category, and it wasn’t awesome.

She ate: So, we came here a couple of hours after I had just finished the Tough Mudder challenge. It was the most traumatic three hours of my life, so I really wanted to treat myself. I had pretty high expectations of this place even though you’d think by now I’d learn to not let myself get so excited over foodie hype. It’s almost always a let down. The service was great. The owner invited us to stay after they closed so we can drink our no-corkage fee BYOB wine. The atmosphere was eh…in a strip mall, typical of Houston, and the inside was pretty bare bone, suburban pizzeria decor. Metal/wood furniture, not very cozy. For self-serve condiments, they had Sriracha (seriously, when will this trend end? It’s not that good, people, and no it does not belong on everything. And putting it on something doesn’t make it cool. It’s just another Asian food staple white people  think did not exist before they discovered it. Therefore it is the shit and you should put it on every single food because oh my god it is SO good and goes with everything and you want to snort it. But I digress.) To Pizaro’s credit, they did have another spicy, red oil which I’ve never had before. The owner warned me that the oil is as spicy as it looks, and he was right.

Cornicione Di Ricotta e Spinaci (Margherita pizza, crust stuffed with spinach and ricotta):

image

He ate: I love stuffed crust pizzas so I was pretty excited about this one. It was only ok. I expected more stuffing to crust ratio, and was disappointed because it was largely crust with a little bit of mild stuffing. Overall the pizza was only ok.

She ate: Ok, this pizza was $17 for a 12″ pizza. With no expensive, rare, interesting ingredient. And three-quarters of the pizza was just crust. The sauce was your run-of-the-mill tomato sauce. It was pretty good, we ate it in about five minutes because it was small, paper-thin crust, and not much substance. While I highly appreciate paper-thin crust with the lightly burned bottom etc etc, there was so little of the actual thin crust part that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it. The stuffing inside the crust was pretty flavorless. All the ingredients were very fresh, I’ll give them that.

Arugula (Olive oil, garlic, arugula and shaved parmesan with prosciutto):

image

He ate: This pizza was much better than the first one. It tasted more of what I expect a Napoletana pizza should taste like. Prosciutto and arugula is a pretty standard combination, so…there’s really nothing more I can say about this pizza other than it tasted pretty good.

She ate: I agree, this is much better than the first pizza, but again the crust to actual pizza ratio is so high that the middle part was gone in seconds, and we’re left with boring crust with no flavor (albeit good texture). The prosciutto and arugula were both very fresh and tasty but that’s about it.

tl; dr: Great service, free BYOB, but not worth the drive. Piola is better.

Texans Grill

Houston Texans Grille
12848 Queensbury Lane
Suite 208
Houston, TX 77024
Phone: 713-461-2002
http://texansgrille.g3restaurants.com/

Rating: h8

In our continual search for cool sports bars, Aaron and I went to Houston Texans Grille in City Centre. I have been obsessing over their deep-fried cheeseburger, deep-fried Italian hoagie, and deep-fried rib eye on their menu. I love anything prefaced by the word “fried” (although the fried butter video was pretty disturbing. Look at that butter dribbling down that kid’s chin…it looks porn-ish. I can’t help it. My mind went there. To Catch a Predator style. Kiddie sex. Ew. SICKKKKKKKKKKKK). I mean, I still want to try it, don’t get me wrong, let’s not be crazy here.

Oh god. I just almost vomited looking for that video for you guys. I hope you appreciate it.

And now I want fried butter. And I’m kind of horny. Great.

ANYway, the vibe at Texans Grille was only ok. Not very cozy or fun. And we had to watch this couple PDA for two hours. Ugh, old people sex:

She ate: I think the owners were going for a modern, clean edge vibe when they designed the space…but it kind of came off looking like an office building. There are two parts of the bar: the front with a large oval bar, and the back where it’s more of a restaurant atmosphere with tables (no booths) and big tv screens everywhere. We were seated in the back, but we asked to be moved to the bar when we saw how empty and boring the back portion was. I mean, who wants to sit at an office table to watch the playoffs? Come on.

We both got the No Label El Jefe hefeweizen:

He ate: I was disappointed by their lame beer selection. The No Label el jefe was good, but there were so few to choose from. It was weird to drink a hefeweizen in the winter, but it was good nonetheless. My second beer was a Shiner. It tasted fine but it came in a plastic cup, I assume because they ran out of glasses but this is yet another point taken away from them.

She ate: I didn’t like the beer. Too sour.

Deep fried pretzel sticks with mustard sauce. Phallic much?

He ate: Whoever put the menu together obviously knows nothing about fonts. They used Arial for goodness sakes. I mean, why not just use comic sans at that point? Weird parts of it were boxed off. I never notice menus, and I noticed this one.

The food came out all at once, which was nice because that was what we asked for. The service was fast for being packed since it was the playoffs, so that is a plus.

The pretzels with the honey mustard was quite good.  They were hot, and when you broke them in half, steam came out (cue Cleveland steamer joke). That was clutch. They were deep fried but tasted like baked, not too greasy.

She ate: The pretzels were by far the best part of the meal…although the fried part was misleading. I expected a sort of batter, and these could have tasted easily just as good baked. The mustard sauce was ok, I prefer cheese with my pretzels, but that’s just me.

He ate: The presentation of the burger was nice, although in retrospect I have no idea how you would put the lettuce and tomato inside the burger. I guess you can slice the fried burger open and reassemble it? It seemed odd to me. I think it was mainly there for garnish, which, if you’re going to go that way, kudos, restaurant. I thought it was more of a novelty food than anything else, and the fact that it’s named “our soon-to-be-famous deep fried cheeseburger” is premature. The bread tasted stale and the whole thing was a total let down.

She ate: The cheeseburger was a big let down. It was served on some wilted, not crunchy cafeteria fries. The burger itself was not very good, and believe me I was HUNGRY. That’s saying a lot. It was too greasy, even for something deep fried, and not juicy. It made me sad. If I’m going to eat 1000 calories, it better be worth it. I had a couple bites and gave up.

Wings with pomegranate bbq sauce and ranch:

He ate: I ate the crap out of the wings, but they were expensive for wings ($9 for 8 wings) and you can get better, cheaper wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. There was no bulk discount. It’s actually one cent cheaper to buy two sets of eight than one set of sixteen. That bothers me for some reason, I’m not sure why.

She ate: The wings were ok. You can get better ones at the Kroger hot foods section.

And an Asian salad (salad of my people) with ahi tuna:

He ate: Amy’s salad was ok. It was super spicy and not very interesting.

She ate: I got a salad to round off the meal. The girl at the next table got it and I had immediate food jealousy. The vegetables were nice and fresh, and I didn’t mind the spiciness like Aaron did, but the tuna was weird. It was oddly overcooked on the outside, and completely raw on the inside. I don’t mind the rawness because that’s what I expected, but the charred, stringy meat on the outside was startling.

Overall it was ok. We’ve been to a bunch of sports bars recently, and the fact that it’s far from our house (incidentally it’s on the none-busy, far even from the parking garage side of City Centre) doesn’t help it. The atmosphere was very sterile, the furniture was all wood and metal. Yard House, another sports bar in the same center, offers better food and is cozier.

tl; dr: if I’m going to a mediocre bar, the servers better be showing some boob/penis/pecs. That’s all I’m saying.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
16535 Southwest Fwy # 2500
Sugar Land
(281) 265-2280

www.grimaldispizzeria.com

Rating: h8

Once a year, we get to see our good friend Rich when he visits his mom in Sugarland (a suburb 30 minutes south of Houston)  for the holidays.  This year, for the first time, guilt got the better of us and we agreed to actually go outside of Houston to eat. I actually quite enjoy going to the suburbs…it reminds me of visiting a small, posh village, where everything is convenient and clean. Unfortunately I also feel ashamed to like it so much as Aaron said I’ve now graduated from being a teenage white boy (this stemmed from my music preference of Bon Jovi and Aerosmith) to an older suburban white male stuck in an Asian woman’s body. I think this was meant as an insult but I find it highly entertaining!

I heard about Grimaldi’s through a friend of mine a couple of years ago. I seemed to remember her raving about the coal-kissed thing crust pizzas and have been dying to try it, being from New Jersey and naturally a lover of New York style pizza. The chain originating from Brooklyn was also a promising aspect.

We got a carafe of the house red wine. It was only $15 (in hindsight this was a red flag) and from Montepulciano, a small Italian town Aaron and I visited two years ago. It piqued our interest and we enthusiastically ordered it.

I ordered a small house salad (much to Aaron’s chagrin) and we got three personal sized 12″ pizzas to share.

Amy’s pizza:

White garlic sauce with mushrooms and anchovies

Aaron’s pizza:

White garlic sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and Italian sausage

(I forgot to take a picture of this one as it arrived quite a bit after our other pizzas, I’m not sure why…)

Rich’s pizza:

Red sauce with jalapenos and pepperoni

We also shared the tiramisu for dessert.

He ate: Pizza is such a solved problem that you have to work really hard for it to be good. So much time and money has been spent in this country in the last fifty years to make pizza better. It’s a whole industry and this place did not raise the bar.

Although the pizza was meh, I was a fan of the tiramisu. It was solid.

She ate: The wine was only ok…a good deal for $15 and when I eat pizza, I usually want a cheap tasting, non-offensive, easy to drink red wine. This fit the bill! I was expecting a bit more quality since it was from Montepulciano. This could have been Franzia by taste. But for $15 for a big carafe, I can’t complain much.

I also can’t complain too much about the pizza. It wasn’t bad. But it also wasn’t good. The crust was thin but not thin or crispy enough. The cheese was there but not flavorful. They have no signature combinations for toppings, and although the pizzas were only $10, each topping was $2-4, so that adds up quickly. The toppings were very boring, the most interesting being ricotta cheese and artichoke hearts. The rest were your usual suspects of ham, olives, etc. They didn’t even have pineapple for Aaron’s favorite Hawaiian pizza. They charge you the same amount for toppings on half or the whole pizza. I think this is kind of a rip off, as then you don’t get to try many toppings (unless you dont’ mind shelling out $20 for a small pizza). They also recommend that you only get 2-3 toppings in order for the pizzas to not get too heavy/soggy.

The salad tasted like a Jason’s deli salad. Very dry, not very many components. I wouldn’t get it again.

Although the food was mediocre, our server Bradley was very attentive and friendly.

For the money, I would gladly have Papa John’s pizza. There are a million other better places to get pizza in Houston. For thin crust, the best is Piola.

The tiramisu was ok. Better than the stuff you get in the frozen section at the grocery store, but again, nothing special. The ladyfingers were fluffy and the cream was silky, but they both lacked flavor and richness.

———-

The night ended at the quintessential suburbia “bar,” TGIFridays! I haven’t been here since high school, and it has not changed one bit, other than the fact that we were able to order alcohol this time! Aaron and Rich both got the mudslide shake, and I got a Guiness. Silliness ensued.

tl; dr: Don’t go here, even if you’re already in Sugarland and you crave pizza. Go to Lasagna instead.