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Monarch is Meh; Burger Guys are Balanced; Aura is Mixed

In his monthly review, Houstonia food editor Robb Walsh considers Jonathan Jones's tenure as the chef at Monarch Bistro in the Hotel ZaZa. While he likes certain dishes, including the market fish and shrimp and grits, he finds that overall the move to a hotel has muted the flavors that brought Jones such acclaim during previous stints at Max's Wine Dive, Beaver's and Xuco Xicana. "All of these dishes are well worth ordering, but it seems like the food isn't really targeted at Houstonians, who love their bold flavors. Perhaps it's intended to give a national and international audience a taste of the Houston food scene (albeit slightly toned down and less spicy)." [Houstonia]

Aura Brasserie's relocation from Missouri City to Sugar Land's Town Square prompts a new review by Chronicle critic Alison Cook, who awards it one star based on the way in which certain standout dishes are marred by uneven execution overall. "Aura remains a restaurant I'd recommend, with the caveat that at present it is not wholly reliable. I suspect that is because Perrier is spreading himself too thin these days. He has two other restaurants to run: his casual Hoggs & Chicks and the new Italian restaurant, Coco Pazzo, which he launched in the former Aura space in Missouri City." [Houston Chronicle]

In the Houston Press, Nicholas Hall pinch hits for departed critic Katharine Shilcutt with a review of the Burger Guys's downtown location. Click through for some R-rated descriptions of burger deliciousness as well as Hall's definition of the "Burger/Hamburger Sandwich Venn diagram." As he explains, "There are two basic types of burgers, with their attendant and deeply entrenched fan bases. The first camp loves the burger as burger. A gloriously indulgent homage to beef and bun .... Occupying the other end of the Venn spectrum is the hamburger sandwich. A bit austere, this burger is more about the overall experience than the glory of beef." [Houston Press]

The Blogs: Urban Swank heads to Pearland to sample Killen's BBQ. Aghastronome in Houston decides that The Refinery is too expensive to tolerate indifferent service and so-so food. Finally, Sidedish gets a first taste of sports and spirits restaurant Katch 22.

The patio at Monarch [Hotel ZaZa Houston/Facebook]

Katch 22

700 Durham Drive, Houston, TX 77007

The Refinery Burgers & Whiskey

702 W Dallas Street, Houston, TX 77019 713 487 0029 Visit Website