Amazón Grill is no longer the red-headed stepchild of the Cordúa family restaurants after a few adjustments and some much needed TLC earlier this fall. Eater sat down with patriarch Michael Cordúa, his son David and corporate chef Brian Doherty to take in all the changes happening at this fast-casual, counter service concept.
From a design standpoint, the cozy factor has gone from a 3 to a 10, with an added warmth that's palpable. Repurposing some of the furniture from the now-closed America's Post Oak to cozy up the place gave some of those signature pieces so indicative of a Cordúa restaurant interior (grandiose, modern, Latin-inspired) a new place to live.
Secondly, the menu board at the order counter was nixed. Michael explained that they noticed people feeling rushed as they all crowded around the board to read the menu, so with much trepidation from their regulars, they did away with it. Now, upon entrance, guests can grab a menu and casually peruse the offerings, which are broken down—as Michael explained—like a Chinese restaurant menu, grouped by proteins, without having to worry about someone breathing down their neck.
Lastly, in addition to constantly tweaking the dishes—from deciding whether or not to crisp the edges of the enchiladas to where the marinated tomatoes should go on the enormous B.A.L.T. salad—they've bulked up the portions and added "extras" like black beans, rice and plantains to certain entrees.
While Amazón Grill isn't doing anything groundbreaking (like serving bone marrow from a food truck), some of the "old guard" of Houston's culinary scene do care enough to come into their restaurants and discuss the merits of crispy edged enchiladas vs. soft edged ones, making a place more approachable and giving their guests more food for the money.
· Cordúa Restaurants [Official Site]
· A Tale of Two Dinners: Ava Kitchen vs. The Modular [EOW]