Houlihan’s: Bennigans, but with poor service and higher prices

A new restaurant, Houlihan’s, opened in the Galleria area near where I work a few weeks ago.

I gave it a try at lunch yesterday. I probably won’t be returning.

The place seems like an upscale Bennigans. Relatively quiet, attractive decor, tables spaced okay.

The menu prices were a bit high for the average Houston lunch spot, but I was hoping the food would justify the prices.

I settled on an “appetizer” that I guessed would be a meal in itself, blackened chicken and caramelized onion quesadilla. Callie ordered the pot roast (her test of places that offer such comfort foods). The pot roast also came with a salad. The waitress kept insisting that I should order soup or salad (twice!). I guess I look fat (*grumble* *grumble*). I’m a light luncher, and sent her away.

The quesadillas (four pieces) were not good. The chicken was not blackened in the manner we are accustomed here so close to Cajun country. It was grilled. It also had a bit of a fuel aftertaste to it, which was not appealing (to say the least). I couldn’t find the “caramelized onions” until the last half of the last quesadilla piece. They were not caramelized onions, but crunchy, nearly raw, onions. The quesadilla dish wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t what I thought I was getting from the menu description, and it was substantially worse than the plain ol’ chicken quesadillas you can get at, say, Rudyard’s. The guacamole that accompanied it was just plain nasty.

Callie didn’t seem to have any complaints about her salad or pot roast. Nor did she rave about it. She left over half of it, though, and Callie tends not to be as light a luncher as I am. Maybe she will leave a comment about the quality of her dish.

The service was extremely slow and inattentive (not good at lunch during the workday), even though there were not many patrons and the number of staff was large. At one point, our waitress did notice our drinks (iced tea and diet coke) were getting low, and she brought out refills. She placed the diet coke refill with the iced tea, and the iced tea refill with the diet coke. This is what I mean by “inattentive,” although clueless might also work.

The bar looked kind of nice, but I have other places I prefer to grab a drink.

They do serve HUGE portions, which will probably please the commenting crowd at b4-u-eat (which tends to judge restaurants that way). I can’t recommend any other aspect of the restaurant. It’s a shame there are so few quality lunch spots within walking distance of the Galleria.

3 comments On Houlihan’s: Bennigans, but with poor service and higher prices

Comments are closed.