Part of what began Hank on Food was a quest to find one of the best burgers in Houston. And while this website/online publication branched out way beyond that in a hurry, it is still in the roots and when I get a call from a worthy burger joint to check out some of their new options, I will gladly do so. Grub Burger Bar is a Texas original having its origins in College Station, is a favourite among my friends who are Aggies and for the past few years it has been deliberately building a reach way beyond Aggieland. Steve Padgett, the managing parter at the Houston City Centre Location was in the house when I came by, and along with South Texas Market Partner Walter Cervin, we grubbed down and talked healthier options for those who want them.
We started off with sharing a couple of appetizers. One their great not so healthy items that has been on the menu for a while, the Chorizo Queso. This has cooked Chorizo & ground beef mixed in a blend of melted cheeeses, topped with homemade guacamole & served with tortilla chips. This Queso is addicting due to the spicy addition of the Chorizo! It holds together very well due to the meat thickening it up and does not turn runny, nor rubbery. Getting that bite out of the way, attention was turned to a new appetizer for Grub that we have seen many versions of all over the place: Roasted Brussels Sprouts! These sprouts are taken off the stalk, chopped in half, roasted and tossed in ancho lime vinaigrette. and topped with queso fresco. Nothing like cheese and sauce to make it easier to eat your veggies. However, these veggies are crunchy, full of flavour and the cheese adn ancho lime vinaigrette accentuates the sour, hardiness of these miniature cabbages.
Grades: A+ and A
Sometimes it’s tough when you feel like the odd one out–i.e. the only Pescatarian in a group of carnivores or the only dieter in a group of Eat What You Wanters. Thankfully many fast casual dining places like Grub Burger Bar know of these issues and try to accommodate a diverse group of eaters. Putting the wheels to the road, they have rolled out two new Salads/Bowls for the more health conscious diner who also does not want to compromise on Flavour. The first of these is their Salmon Filet Bowl: A grilled Wild Alaskan Salmon filet, avocado, chopped bacon, black bean & corn medley, lettuce, campari tomatoes, sprouts, queso fresco, & ancho lime vinaigrette. This is a beautiful mix of grilled seafood and veggies, but where it really hits you best is in the palate–good salmon flavour, lots of different textures, a little spicy, good and crisp, fresh veggies below. The other new addition is the Thai Noodle salad: chewy Rice noodles, mango, tomato, avocado, cilantro, peanuts, lettuce & a sweet chile vinaigrette with a choice of sliced medium rare Ahi Tuna or grilled chicken. I went with the Ahi Tuna (which is lightly seared with a mix of peppercorns and other seasonings), and this is some good quality tuna, let me tell you. Again, the veggies are fresh and crisp, and again, full flavour. Grades: A and A+.
For those who prefer sandwiches, twochicken sandwiches will take care of your clucking needs. The California Chicken: Grilled chicken breast, bacon, Swiss, sprouts, avocado & chipotle aioli on a wheat bun; and the Greek Chicken Sandwich: Grilled chicken breast, feta cheese, lemon caper vinaigrette, arugula, tomato & fresh tzatziki on homemade flatbread. The California Chicken was a favourite of my kids’ aunt–she loves avocadoes, bacon and Swiss cheese, found it to be tasty and flavourful, but not too bad for any diet she was on. My daughter was very fond of the Greek Chicken Sandwich. The Feta cheese is a bit pungent, the Tzatziki sauce is full of garlic and herbs, and the grilled juicy chicken breast works well with those, inside the fluffy yet not overfilling Pita style bun. And though I did not picture it, the Back Porch is a standard chicken sandwich with cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo which would appeal to those who like a simple yet good chicken sandwich.
Grades: A and A
Of course for those of us who go to Grub Burger Bar for duuuhhh… the Burgers, they still have a great selection of many options to choose from. Some of my personal favourites include the Lockhart Legend: grilled beef patty, Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, Dr Pepper BBQ sauce, two onion rings & sliced dill pickles. Or the Texas Luau: a grilled beef patty topped with Braised pulled pork, grilled pineapple slice, grilled jalapeños, lettuce & tomato; or the Voodoo Mushroom Burger: a beef patty topped with Absinthe sautéed mushrooms, Swiss & Tabasco mayo. As you can see, my favourite burgers tend to lean to the spicy, but not so spicy that you regret it later on (cough cough, acid reflux!). I told Walter Cervin that Grub really needs to coordinate a deal with Dr. Pepper and HEB to bottle and sell the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce–it is a unique condiment that I could make all kinds of use of all kinds of ways. And I would be remiss if I did not miss the hand spun shakes from Grub–Jason’s fave is specifically the Dirt & Worms, which has Oreo cookies and Gummy Worms in the mix. Yes, I realize these are not as healthy as the Salmon Bowl, the Ahi Tuna Thai Noodle salad nor the chicken sandwiches, but they are good for your soul! And that counts, right?
Grub Burger bar has two Houston area locations–CityCentre Plaza at 799 Town & Country Way #200 (Next to Ra Sushi) 77024; 713 827-7157; and in The Woodlands at 241 Research Forest Dr. Suite A 77381; 281 907 9001; with both locations open most days 11 AM to 10 PM. I want to thank Steve Padgett and Walter Cervin for letting me know about these new options so I could share them with you.
Eat Happy, Y’all!!!
Grub Burger Bar Adds new Healthier Options, Keeps it’s Great Flavours This was reposted for my personal reading use