One of the most popular restaurants in Boca Raton isn’t a mom-and-pop shop. It’s not celebrity chef owned. The menu doesn’t come with sticker shock. But it is a chain.
It’s Houston’s. And often times it’s hard to get in without a reservation or without waiting upwards of 30 minutes for a table. But once inside, the food is solid, American comfort classics cooked over a wood burning grill that adds some great flavor.
The restaurant is dark and has a large bar that’s aways packed, sometimes standing room only. The dining room is all booths and the smell from the burning wood adds to the atmosphere.
The menu is clear and concise – appetizers, salads, mains. Nothing more, nothing less and there are seasonal changes but some of the staples remain.
On a recent visit, we did have to wait about a half hour to get a table, which is something you come to expect because like I said earlier, this place is always busy. For a chain, that surprises me every time. But then again, Houston’s also owns the Palm Beach Grill on Palm Beach Island and simply put, you just can’t get in without a reservation made way in advance.
While chain restaurants aren’t allowed on Palm Beach Island (imagine that, but there is a Starbucks), Houston’s skirted that rule by opening up under the Palm Beach Grill monicker. The menu is pretty much the same, with the same dishes served in Boca getting that Palm Beach bump in price.
Lets talk starters. First up, we tried the peel-and-eat shrimp. A generous portion of large shrimp served with cocktail and tartar sauce.
Next up, a Classic Salad served with veggies, chopped egg (never on my salad!), a piece of garlic toast and dressing.
For entrees, two dishes that always stand out at Houston’s are the BBQ Ribs and the Prime Rib (you can ask for an end cut if available.) The ribs are always fall of the bone good with a sweet, sticky BBQ sauce. They come with a baked potato as does the prime rib which has a nice seasoned crust and is always a favorite of mine.
One of my dining companions ordered the Double Cut Pork Chop, which was cooked medium and served with corn and mashed. More thumbs up for Houston’s take on comfort food.
Finally, one of my friends ordered the Thai Steak and Noodle Salad. It’s served with sliced, marinated filet mignon and topped with avocado, mango and pancit noodles with a Thai dressing. This also received thumbs up.
I would put Houston’s on the same level as the not-too-far-away Pinon Grill over in Town Center. Both offer up a similar menu, wood burning grill and a great meal.