Friday, August 25, 2006

Near NW Houston Part 5 - Kojak's Deli

Some posts on say Kojak's Deli (on 18th near T.C. Jester) is one of Houston's best restaurants. These are their breathless comments:

"Kojak's is some of the most amazing food I have ever had the pleasure to eat!!! Everything that Chef Mark creates is a glorious experience for my taste buds."

"Mark is a trained chef and always has great food and extraordinarily reasonable prices!!!!"

"Simply put, one of the best restaurants in Houston."

I have been to Kojak's twice. It is an ordinary deli with unexceptional food.

Most of the menu consists of standard, uncreative sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes. For instance, a pasta special with sun dried tomato came with two different pasta shapes, jarred red peppers, garlic, olives, olive oil, and a little parmesan Other than using two pasta shapes, which I would never do, it is the sort of pasta dish I might whip up at home after about 10 seconds thought. The other menu pastas are equally uninteresting -- linguini with marinara and meatballs, linguini with chicken and alfredo sauce, and linguini alfredo.

Another special, a pork tenderloin sandwich, was served on very good pressed bread, much like a real Cuban sandwich. But the inside was less interesting. Instead of large chunks of marinated pork, the sandwich used thin, watery slices. The pork was served with provolone cheese, a few sauteed peppers, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and a nice, slightly sweet sauce. It was good quality, but I have made far better pork tenderloin sandwiches at home. You can also order even less interesting sandwiches -- a burger, tuna melt, veggie burger, and a chicken club.

Kojak's is fine - maybe slightly better than a Jason's Deli. But it is not "amazing" or "glorious" or "one of the best restaurants in Houston." It is not even one of the best 300 restaurants in Houston. In fact, there are at least three other delis in town that begin with a "K" and serve much better food - Kahn's, Katz's, Kenny & Ziggy's.

You simply can't trust online food reviews. A review might be written by a competitor. Or the restaurant's owner. Or a real customer who doesn't get out very often. Or a kid spaced out on psychedellic drugs.

Or an opinionated food snob like me.

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