Houston Press critic Katharine Shilcutt had one good, one awful and one mediocre visit to Lucille's, the Museum District restaurant named for a Texas restaurant icon that seeks to bring European techniques and influences to southern classics like pork and beans and shrimp and grits. Since negative reviews are much more fun to read than positive ones, here are some of the best quotes from the worst experience.
About the experience as a whole: "I have never had to apologize to a friend — this one from up north, excited to taste some Southern cooking — as profusely as I did on that Saturday night." Pan-roasted chicken "hadn't a single sear mark on it and looked as if it had been boiled in a pot of water, with a bit of pepper thrown on top." The burger was "cooked to a charcoal briquette consistency, while her fries were cool and mealy and smacked of freezer burn." A glass of iced tea "tasted as though someone had confused tea bags with beef bouillon cubes."
Even the decor, which is one of the restaurant's strong suits, comes under fire. "The kitschy centerpieces on each table ... did nothing more than take up space and bring the whole room down with their implied cheapness."
Still, there's hope. "Such brutal honesty, however, is borne out of a desire to see Lucille's succeed .... But with a place that sets expectations as sky high as Lucille's, the only thing that's going to keep them grounded is to slow down."
THE BLOGS: Offering a counterpoint to the Press review, Carla from Urban Swank enjoyed her media dinner visit to Lucille's backyard concept U.S. Smith's. Hank on Food spells words like "flavor" and "color" with a "u," which lends credence to his assertion that the Queen Vic serves very tasty English-style pub food. Daniel the gluttonous Chinaman finds that RA Sushi's lunch bento box is both tasty and a good value.
· What's the Deal, Lucille's? [Houston Press]
· Who was Lucille Bishop Smith? [Eating Our Words]
· U.S. Smith's BBQ Beer and Garden: A Big Backyard Restaurant with a Likeable Food & Drink Menu, Apt for Parties on the Patio [Urban Swank]
· Review: The Queen Victoria Pub & Kitchen in Upper Kirby [Hank On Food]
· RA Sushi - Lunch Bento Box [Confessions of a Gluttonous Chinaman]
· All Week In Reviews on Eater Houston [-EHOU-]