Houston's

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Although their website would have you believe that this is one of those rare "local" and somehow different and therefore better restaurants that are part of a massive consortium, I really didn't get that feel. This place just feels like a chain. Albeit, of the upscale Chang's/Bonefish ilk.

The decor was nice, I will give it that. The view was amazing.

The website bills this place (A Hillstone venture) as simply American. I would agree with that. The menu wasn't "steakhouse" or any one feel. It seemed to be a bit of just general, everyday food. We had no idea what to expect going in, having only heard that the salads were great and the main dish a friend had gotten was so-so.

What we had:

I had the prime rib with a side I can't remember and the house salad. My DH had a roast beef sandwich with fries. The prime rib was pretty tasteless as prime rib goes. They didn't use any seasoning at all, bar a light dusting of salt & pepper on the top. Generally, I'm all for simple preparation, but in the case of a prime rib, a bit of garlic, rosemary or even a nice red go a long way towards enhancing the natural flavor of the beef. Not so at Houston's. I was sad, but it was pretty tasteless. A shame, really. I will say, in the interest of attempting to be as objective as possible that I'm somewhat of a steak Nazi. I know what I like, and I will tolerate nothing less. I like my meat tender, flavorful, bloody and succulent. Over-cooked shoe leather is simply not an option. I tend to feel in those cases, capital punishment should be not only expected but encouraged. This was a tender piece of meat, don't get me wrong, I was just disappointed by the lack of taste. And the lack of proper selection on the menu in the case of steak, too. Possibly because I was craving cow the night we went. They did have a fillet on the menu, but I wasn't feeling trusting a restaurant I didn't know with a cut of meat that has sorely disappointed over the past few years (I'm convinced that the standard for calling a cut of meat a "fillet" has changed--gone is the buttery smoothness of my youth--replaced with too much fat, and too much grain) that night. The salad, now that's a different story altogether. The salad was great. It had romaine, the ubiquitous iceberg, real bacon, egg, croutons, and I can't remember what all else. I was loving it. The house dressing is a honey-mustard vinaigrette.

My DH's sandwich was pretty good. No real complaints, except that the bread would have been better toasted. He thought it was decent, not great, not wanting to make his belly cry. The fries were okay, too.

D├ęcor:

The decor was nice. Interesting pieces on the wall, lots of high-backed black leather booths. Open floorplan style massive chain restaurant. The view, however, was amazing. Right on the water.

Service:

Not bad. The waiters in black were nice, as were the managers in suits and the hostesses in jackets. They blended nice with the after-work/out for a night out crowd.

Overall impressions:

I would like to go back for the salad. I wouldn't go back for anything else. The prices for the quality just didn't warrant it. Come to think of it, I bet I could find a better salad somewhere that didn't try so hard while not trying at all.

Company website; what Google says

Rating:

2 out of 5 salamanders

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