If you like burgers and you like difficult decisions, then bop, bop, bop along to Red Robin, where fast food meets table service. The menu of fixin's and combinations for gourmet burgerseverything from avocado to onion ringsis enough to make your head spin, so you may as well close your eyes and point. Once all the veggies, cheeses and sauces are piled on, it all starts to look and taste a little bit the samewhich, in general, is fresh and filling. — Carrington Fox
There is nothing little about Maggiano’s, a 15,000-square-foot, 470-seat behemoth that looms over West End Avenue, the largest chain so far to claim a section of that corridor. Owned by Dallas-based Brinker International—the folks who have somehow managed to make a success of the innocuous Chili’s restaurants—Maggiano’s Little Italy feeds big crowds and big appetites from a big, corporate-controlled menu of pastas, chicken, veal and chops, seafood and house specialties, all à la carte. Family-style service is also available for groups, and a private banquet hall seating 152 can fit your entire mob.
If you’re willing to use your imagination, Joe’s can make you feel almost like you’ve taken a little trip to the beach. The menu is heavily geared toward seafood—fried, steamed, broiled, stuffed, sautéed, grilled, lemon-peppered or blackened—but the offerings include some steaks and chicken as well. The food exceeds expectations for a themed chain restaurant: The fish—frozen fresh, as they say—is generously portioned, neither over- nor undercooked, well-seasoned when called for, and attractively presented. Not surprisingly, crab lovers have plenty to choose from: snow crab, Dungeness, Alaskan king crab legs and soft-shell crabs. Late-night menu.
Randy Rayburn, veteran restaurateur and owner of Sunset Grill and Midtown Café, partners up with two longtime employees—Sunset GM Craig Clifft and executive chef Brian Uhl—to create Cabana, an ambitious project that will put the trio’s legendary talents to the test. Bar, restaurant, lounge and a 2,900-square-foot year-round outdoor patio is the multiple-personality concept envisioned by the team, offering something for everyone—the drinker, the diner and scene-makers looking for a late-night hang. Ten private cabanas—each outfitted with a flat-screen TV—offer the ultimate in private parties. Uhl envisions his menu as playful and spontaneous, with items like chicken-wing lollipops, mini lobster corn dogs, oyster shooters and Tennessee Sliders.
Constructed on the former site of the flagship Houston's restaurant, Bricktop's fills the popular West End location with loaded kosher hotdogs, crab cakes, grilled artichokes, deviled eggs and banana splits. Houston's founder, co-owner and homeboy Joe Ledbetter mans the door of this clubby, leather-lined eatery.
It's hard not to leave the lush dining rooms of this small Italian chain without feeling completely stuffed with pasta, seafood, meats and pizza, which are consistently well cooked and moderately priced. A menu of small plates offers a variety of Northern Italian fare.