Monday, May 27, 2013

Review of Buffalo Grill on Academy & Bissonnet Houston, Texas 77005

    Being Memorial Day, my wife and I decided to have brunch out today.  Knowing we had a plethora of options, we decided on trying someplace new.  We decided to try The Buffalo Grill.  Without giving away too many details, all I have to say is that I have not had a more underwhelming eating experience in quite a while.

    The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that there was quite a long line. Out the door long.  Buffalo Grill is a counter service establishment.  The kind where you order your food, pay for it and then call your name to come get it.  I was a little apprehensive about the wait, but one, it was probably going to be a similar wait at other places, and two, it was a pleasant so the wait outside would not be too bad.  Luckily for us the line moved at a pretty good clip.  Once inside I had a chance to peruse the menu and was intrigued by many of the offerings.  I decided on the Huevos Rancheros with an ala carte order of bacon while my wife ordered the pecan pancakes.

   Since we had both had coffee at home we ordered juice.  They offered two sizes of cups, my wife and I choosing the smaller of the two.  I had the grapefruit and my wife the orange.  The juice was quite good.  It tasted fresh squeeze since both had a bit of pulp, which I am personally a fan of.

   When I was waiting in line and trying to decide what I wanted to eat I had whittled my way down to the huevos rancheros and the biscuits and gravy.  I ultimately chose the huevos rancheros because I wanted to give Buffalo Grill an opportunity to impress me.  As much as I love biscuits and gravy, you would be hard pressed to screw those up.  So, for those you not in the know, huevos rancheros are basically fried eggs served over tortillas (corn traditionally) and topped with some kind of salsa.  The ones from here came with refried beans, pico de gallo, and your choice of a green chili or ranchero sauce.  They were also accompanied by two flour tortillas.  I decided to have some of each.

   Sadly, they did not even begin to live up to expectations.  The first problem was that everything was under seasoned.  While I am always for erring on the side of caution when it comes to seasoning, (you can always add more but never take out) this was just bland.  The next thing I noticed was that the tortilla on which the eggs were served was a flour tortilla.  That in and of itself could have been forgiven if it were not for the fact that ALL of my tortillas were seriously undercooked and chewy.  It seems as if they did not know how to properly cook tortillas.
   Another problem with the dish was the fact that the sauces as a whole missed the mark. The pico de gallo was more white onion than anything else. In fact, it had very little of anything else.  Good pico de gallo is tomato heavy with the other ingredients playing the supporting cast, but still being strong enough to make their presence known.  The ranchero sauce was just a weak tomato sauce with some nopales thrown in.  The biggest offender on the plate was by far the green chili sauce.  It looked like leftover gravy with some green chili thrown in to give it flavor and color.  To make matters worse, it was lumpy!  What's worse then lumpy gravy?  I know, lumpy gravy made to pass off as a green chili sauce. If there was some good on the plate. it was the eggs themselves and the beans.  They managed not to screw those up. 

   My wife had the pancakes.  When you order the pancakes you have your choice of one or two as well as a variety of fruits and nuts.  She choose two pecan pancakes with an egg on the side.  If there is one thing you can say about the pancakes is that they are freaking HUGE!

Big as yo' face, big.  After that, the pancakes were uninspired.  They were a little flat.  I am used to nice fluffy pancakes that have a propensity for absorbing syrup.  I asked my wife her opinion about the pancakes and her answer was, "eh, they were ok."  Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

   The best part of our meal was the peppered bacon. It was nice and crisp.  Had good flavor and a nice trim of pepper.  An ala carte order comes with three pieces, so I had enough to share with my wife who also agreed that it was quite good.

   Maybe it was my mistake for ordering something so Mexican specific from a non Mexican restaurant.  And maybe it works well for the intended audience, but I am a little fearful of what I would get if I ordered the migas.  I think my compatriots in the kitchen die a little every time they send stuff like that out. 

Buffalo Grille on Urbanspoon

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