Saturday, May 29, 2010

Houston Restaurant Report

This is a new hamburger chain and they make a really good hamburger. While you see kids in there, it is more like an adult hamburger place. I really like their onion rings. Well they aren't exactly onion rings. They are called onion haystacks and they are very, very thin sliced onions that are seasoned and fried. In fact the concept and food is so good that I checked to see if Smashburger is a public traded company. I was going to buy some stock but they are not.

They say that their meat is never frozen. We start with 100% Angus Beef, smashed, seared and seasoned on the grill, placed on a butter-toasted artisan bun and topped with the highest-quality cheeses, freshest produce and condiments. A place where you can get a 1/3 or 1/2 pound burger with one of our great recipes or you can create your own. A place that is close to home and affordable. Where the energy is comfortable and relaxed. Where the food is served to you quickly and on a plate - not in a bag.

Smashburger has opened several places around town but the one where we ate was on Buffalo Speedway.

This shrimp taco is from Seco's Latin Cuisine on Nottingham just off Kirby. We tried Seco's with our friends, Guy and Debbie.
It is in a small old-West-University-type brick house with a deck out front. If weather permits there are tables on the deck for eating outside. The parking could get a little dicey because it is street parking but the night we were there, parking wasn't a problem. The service was good and so was the food although the shrimp in my tacos were a little overcooked but the filling was crunchy and the sauce was spicy. They serve brunch on Sunday and they won a Houston Press award for the brunch in 2008. I want to go back and try the brunch because some of the reviews I've read really make my mouth water.

 Last night we went with our friends, Pat and Susan to Yelapa Playa Mexicana in the 2300 block of  Richmond. We had been there once before but wanted to try it out again. I want to like this place more than I do. It is suppose to have great ceviches but the mango ceviche I had last night was okay but not great. The fish was Peruvian style or marinated in lime juice. Some of the chunks of fish were too big and the ceviche just didn't have a kick. It needed more lime and some onion and jalapeno or serrano. I'm going to try to improve on it when I get back to San Miguel by adding shrimp to my Mango Salsa.

The entree for me was fried softshell crab served with a pile of nice ripe tomatoes and a spicy avocado sauce. It was good but not outstanding and the plating was a little strange. The crab was apparently suppose to stand up in the tomatoes but just as my plate arrived they fell over and the big smear of the sauce didn't balance out the plate. The reviews I've read about Yelapa reflect my own experience the two times we have gone. Some people love it and others are indifferent. I like the concept for the restaurant but some items on the menu work and some don't. I'd really like to see them tweak the recipes a bit more.

Okay, that is your restaurant report for the week. Next week the restaurant report will be from New Orleans. As Babs would say, Yee Ha!


Brenda said...

I would LOVE a good burger right about NOW lol. Enjoy.
The shrimp does look overcooked in the photo and the ceviche looks odd; but I guess it is just different than what is served here.
That big smear of sauce with the crab would have turned me off, I think. Maybe it looked better in real time?
Enjoy your travels. Look forward to some food post from New Orleans.

Billie said...

Brenda, the shrimp was overcooked but the color of it was from seasoning not from the overcooking. You are right the big smear of sauce just didn't look right on the plate.

Brenda said...

I see. Well you are on to new restaurants now, and hopefully they will all be good.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Sigh, I keep coming back and stare longinly at the food, my fondest hope being that I missed the part where you say these restaurants are located in the Houston Airport, where I always seem to spend at least 3 hours when I fly anywhere. No matter how many times I reread the post, it doesn't change...