Fat and Happy at Houston’s: 5 Favorite Features

1) Spinach dip: A gut-swelling appetizer that belies the term–fat sweats and mild nausea will overwhelm not enhance the appetite if you take this one on solo. Best ordered with company, or after a double-session on the squash court. Discard irrelevant salsa and sour cream.

2) Fish Fillet Sandwich with Cauliflower and Red Cabbage sides: A total surprise in a beef barn, this fish sandwich is perhaps the best thing on the menu. Fillet’s fine, but it’s really a set-up for the buttery bread and comforting nip of the tartar-type sauce. Remove the superfluous red onion, but please don’t put it in the space-age flip-top sugar dispenser again. You know who you are.

3) Hickory Burger and fries: Flawless ratio of toasted bun to beef. As with fish, the whole exceeds the sum of individual parts. That said, remove half the shredded cheddar and add to your fries for a perfect second main. Yes, the shoestrings (Steak N’ Shake-like) are superlative and substantial enough to be a meal unto themselves. A little green Tabasco or hickory sauce sets them off nicely.

3) Art Collection: Who would expect Jim Dine in a burger joint? Some remarkable finds, though dim lighting does little to emphasize them.

4) Servers: Easy on the eyes wait staff is Soho hot without the attitude. Sincere service (scripted but effective) ranks with the best in the city.

5) Bargain espresso: Order a dollar espresso to end the meal. Warning, unless you’ve lost your sense of smell, the espresso is merely an excuse to linger at your table. Crema on coffee looks good, but tastes like day-old pig-farm runoff. When you’re finished with your witty anecdote, get a real espresso upstairs in the Barnes & Noble.

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