Houston food, restaurants and dining review. Urban living, travel, thoughts and other randomness.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spicy Sichuan

????Bellaire Blvd

I have question marks on the address because I don't know what it is. It's located in the same shopping complex as Sinh Sinh, on the corner of one of the buildings.

The first special on the list is crispy Sichuan chicken (or some name like that). It's basically bite-sized pieces of chicken wok-fried on high heat with sichuan peppers and dry red peppers. At Sichuan Cuisine, just down the road on Bellaire, this dish made my lips go numb. At this place, it made my tastebuds dance. Amazing...

We also tried the whole tilapia in a thick brown sauce. It wasn't so good. The fish tasted sort of microwaved--some parts were chewy and overcooked, while others were a bit underdone.

The thing that really made this restaurant work were the cold appetizers. You go to the back food bar and point to the things you want. You can have up to three items for $6. We had the bamboo shoots in hot oil, beef jerky, and bean curds. The bean curds tasted fresh and slightly sweet. The bamboo shoots just tasted amazing. The beef jerky isn't something I would get as an appetizer--it's better as a snack.


Antica Osteria

2311 Bissonnet

We've tried eating here twice before on the weekend, only to get turned away because we didn't have reservations. This time, we went really early, 6:00. As usual, very expensive cars sit out front. We didn't get to make it into the restaurant because all the tables inside were taken. We sat outside on the porch.

The menu is pretty extensive. It reminds me a bit of a more rustic Nino's and Vincents. We started with the beef carpaccio. Amazingly, the beef was tasteless. Good thing for the lemon, parmesian, and greens.

I had the tagliatelle with pork meatballs and sausage. The tagliatelle was good, if a bit overcooked. The pork meatballs had no taste. I only ate half. On the other hand, Rekha had a kick-butt lambhop order. thing cuts of lambchop chargrilled with some vegetables on the side. Simple. Perfect.

The dessert menu seemed pretty bland (cheesecake, chocolate cake, sorbet, etc). So we skipped it and went to Da Marco's for panna cotta. Anitica Osteria is not as expensive as Da Marco's and not as good. I'd go back, but only if someone else wants to go. Nino's and Vincents is a better and in the same price range. Da Marco's is... well.... Da Marco's.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pho Thai Binh Duong

11528 Bellaire Blvd.

This pho restuarant is a bit hard to find and is further West than Hong Kong Supermarket outside the Beltway. Located in a run-down shopping center, this pho shop specializes in something most other pho shops don't even attempt: dry pho.

The specialty here is "pho ga kho," that translates into "pho chicken dry." The general concept is to take the pho ingredients, chicken, rice noodles, scallions, fish sauce, pepper, etc., and place those in a bowl separate from the pho broth. But it's not that simple. They also top the dry ingredients with things you don't see in a normal bowl of pho, like fried bits of garlic and vinegared onions. The taste is really qutie different from a normal bowl of pho.

The way to eat this monster is to eat the dry ingredients (that are quite moist) and follow that mouthful of dry ingredients with a scoop of the broth. If the dry ingredients are too dry, add a few spoons of the broth to wet it up a bit. Add fish sauce and pepper as required to the dry ingredients. Every now and then munch on the optional chicken gizzards and hearts in the broth. Thank me later for this recommendation.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


736 1/2 Telephone Rd.

Those in the know call it Telephone Thai. We've been meaning to go here for quite a while, but rarely find the inspiration to head East of Houston. We're glad we went.

Initial impressions were favorable. Kanomwan is a clean restaurant with light green walls. The guy in front takes all the orders and handles all the payments. He is by all accounts a tough moody guy. We found service slow because he is the only one allowed to take orders and handle payments. And when I say slow, I mean really really slow. The owner couldn't give a s**t if you sit there and wait until he's darn good and ready to take care of you.

So why will I go back? The fried snapper is the bomb. It's unlike the one you get at Thai Spice. Kanomwan's fish is steeped in various herbs and spices and placed on a sauce based on fish sauce.

We also had the tom yum soup which tasted a little more sweet than we are used to in the states, but very nicely balanced. We also tried a red pork curry. That was good too, but not as good as the fish.

Thai food inspires zealotry. This place is no different. B4-U-EAT readers either hate it or love it. I'm in the, "gotta try the fish," category. Give it a shot. The service, decoration (or lack thereof), and owner's fanatical control issues are an experience like few others in this city.

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