Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Near NW Houston - Introduction

I am currently obsessed with near northwest Houston. This is the region bounded by the Heights on the east, I-10 on the South, the West Loop and Northwest Mall on the West, and the North Loop and Garden Oaks on the North. The epicenter of this region is Ella and T.C. Jester.

The near northwest is notable for the restaurants it does not have -- no "fine dining," no trendy eateries, no exotic ethnic restaurants, and surprisingly few chains (although there is a Dairy Queen). It feels a bit like small town America before it was franchised. Many of the restaurants are like a time capsule to the 70s or 80s. They tend to be Mom 'n Pop establishments that cater to an unpretentious crowd. And they can be a little quirky.

In the next few weeks, I will talk about some of the representative restaurants in this area, including: Golden Cafe, Texas Cafeteria, Jazzie's, Kojak's Deli, and Cavatore's Restaurant.


"Bob" said...

You might try Tony's Mexican place on Ella just a few blocks south of N. 610. Meets all your Near NW criteria, I think, but nicely so. And will you be reviewing Tour D'Argent, or has it gone under recently? I've always wondered how good the Thai food is at Vung Thai on the Loop frontage near 18th - - let us know! Although it might not fit your middle America template; ditto the Vietnam cafe on 19th. (I'm also being coerced into suggesting Tecate on Ella across from Tony's, but personally I was not that big a fan of the place.)

"Bob" said...

Surely, too, you will be including the Barbeque Inn? It's nothing if not a Near NW kinda place, even if it is just a wee bit outside your North Loop - Garden Oaks perimeter . . . BTW, my Tecate recommender is looking forward to your Cavatore review and insists you try the tableside Caesar salad.

anonymouseater said...

Great thoughts. I may write about all of those.

-Tony's is classic Tex-Mex, so it fits in well with the region.

-Barbecue Inn is a fantastic time warp to the 50s and a perfect exemplar for the region. Plus, they make a good CFS.

-Vung Thai is a bit of an oddball in this region. Apart from a small lunch buffet, and the fact that they seemed to have toned down the spice in recent years, they don't seem to pander much. It remains be fairly authentic Thai home cooking and doesn't quite fit my "assimilation" theory for the region.

-Oh, and I think Tour D'Argent has closed again.

Anonymous said...

you may want to survey hamburgers as well, though not so healthy. if so, try Roznovsky's Hamburgers on t.c. jester and some burger (the green shack) at 11th and studewood.

Anonymous said...

when i was a little girl we would go to italian cavatore for my mom's birthday. my mom loves caesar salad and is pretty picky about it but they had the best in the city. for the past, i dunno, 7 years? we've gone less and less frequently. the caesar salad became completely hit or miss and the rest of the menu got worse and worse. i'll be interested to read how theyre doing