Location: 202 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 576-7558
Date: December 17, 2010
Rating: Solid High-end Chain American
As any reader can probably tell, I’m not too big on chain restaurants. Frankly I consider the Olive Garden, Outback, Claim Jumper ilk to be demonic evil blights on the face of American cuisine. There are, however, a few high end chains that serve their purposes. Houstons is one of them. Although a tad over priced, its not bad for a chain.
Their wine list is all American. While I’m a huge patriot and a grand believer in our role as the best genuine republic since the Roman Republic, our wines our too by the book. Certainly the case with this pinot, over oaked, and just not a burgundy.
Clam chowder. I am a fan of well done American food. Houston’s clam chowder used to be better. It used to be loaded with cream and have butter floating on top. It’s still good, but they lightened it up. In case you’re curious, it’s my opinion that clam chowder is descended from the classic Irish peasant soup that combined cream and potatoes — in ready supply in Ireland. New England — and this is New England chowder — is full of Irish. Go figure.
Fish of the day, livened up with cheese and fried shrimp.
They have a very good veggie burger. Not one of those soy patties. The fries aren’t awful either.
The fish sandwich. The slaw is really good too.
Or you could go with cous cous. They mix in a lot of good stuff there, almonds, mint etc.
Maryland lump crab-cakes. Yum! I love blue crab. These were quiet good, with a buttery mustard sauce.
And the apple praline nut crumble — ala mode. The nuts are glazed and delicious. There isn’t that much apple, but the candied nuts and ice cream alone is enough.
So when one wants a reliable quick American fix, Houstons isn’t a bad choice. Still, I’d take the smaller chain Coastal Flats, but that isn’t on this coast.