Price Range is the average cost per entree. The range does not include drinks, tax or tip.
We are going for averages here, folks.$ = Under $10: My money is funny and my credit won't get it!
$$ = $11 - $20: Just got paid....Friday night!!!
$$$ = $21 - $39: Don't cheat yourself....treat yourself!
$$$$ = Above $40: Splurge baby. Splurge!
CCC: "Triple C" rating. Establishments with this rating have that wow factor -- whether it be exceptional food or world class service. An 'eat-peat' is definitely in order. Consider placing these restaurants on your 'must do' list. Visit at your own risk - these establishments can cause late night cravings.
CC: "Double C" rating. Solid restaurant. Can be either average or above average. They excel in a few categories but may miss the mark in some others. Members will agree that these establishments warrant future visits and will recommend you pay them a visit. You'll find most restaurants with this rating.
C: "Single C" rating. Missing that "it" factor especially as it relates to good cuisine. Triple C members do not recommend this establishment. Not particularly worth the money, gas, time or effort, unless you get a rise out of let-downs. Hold on to your dough and spend it at restaurants with Double or Triple C ratings.
I am so excited!! Not just because I’m looking forward to catching up with friends, but this is Triple C’s first restaurant tour. I’ve been hearing a lot about Backstreet Café and decided we should host our first tour there. This establishment is consistently listed among the top restaurants in Houston and I’ve heard only good things about it. With those two combinations I thought, we can’t go wrong with this one.
Now, one thing you should know about me is that I’m habitually late to everything. But this time I was determined to be on time – at the expense of forgetting to stop by the ATM to grab some cash. As I drove up, I realized parking is valet only (complimentary) and I have no cash for a tip. Thank goodness for girlfriends – Renee had my back and took care of the tip. (luv ya Renee!!) Under normal circumstances my absentmindedness would not be an issue, but I drilled in everyone’s head that they should bring cash to make settling the tab more efficient. In the end, I’m the one sitting there with my credit card in hand and head held low in shame. Anyways, back to Backstreet Café and the parking situation. Parking is available along the neighborhood side street and limited parking is available next to Backstreet Cafe. However, depending on the day and time, it may be nearly impossible to find a spot. My advice is to utilize the complimentary valet service provided by the restaurant. It will save you a headache-and-a-half.
As you enter Backstreet there’s an immediate vibe of warmth and comfort. I would imagine it’s because the restaurant is housed in a renovated 30’s era house. It’s sort of that Sunday dinner at grandma’s feeling. I made reservations, so we were seated immediately by the friendly and welcoming hostess. Although I did not observe any excessive waiting by other patrons, I would highly recommend making a reservation – it got really packed later on. Shortly after taking our seats and some quick introductions, we ordered a round of much needed cocktails for the table. Although Backstreet offers a varied wine list, we all decided to try the Sangria of the Day. There wasn’t anything special about it. Would I order it again? Probably not. I personally enjoy a slightly sweeter and crispier sangria like the one posted in the recipe section of my site. But you know, when you’re winding down from a long, stressful week it kind of doesn’t matter how the drink tastes; as long as there’s enough alcohol to take the edge off. I can say that after a couple of their sangrias it did just that.
Backstreet Café boasts a very solid and diverse menu. There’s something there for just about anyone’s culinary taste. I’m also digging the al la carte side dish trend that a lot of restaurants are beginning to incorporate. Gone are the days when you order an entrée and are pretty much bound to the sides selected by the chef. The al la carte style allows you to choose sides YOU feel best compliment your entrée. Backstreet Cafe also features a vegetarian menu that will make any meat eater think twice about their carnivorous ways. Although I did not yield to the temptation of the vegetarian delights, I must say I had a close call.
Apparently we lucked up and visited Backstreet Cafe during artichoke peak season (whew-hooo). Several dishes featured this globe-like vegetable, including the Best Ever Artichoke Dip. We had to give it a try and I’m glad we did. This dish was unlike any artichoke dip you’ve tasted. It wasn’t the creamy, mayo-based dip commonly served in most restaurants, but more of a thick, brothy/au jus type dip topped with mozzarella and truffle cheeses and served with an assortment of breads. The flavors were intense, but in a good way!! Definitely something you would want to try before artichoke season officially ends.
After several visits from our waiter, we finally got around to placing our orders. I opted for the Chicken Milanese with green beans and macaroni & cheese. For those who are not familiar, Chicken Milanese is prepared by dipping chicken breasts into a breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture and fried in butter. Not sure how it’s prepared at Backstreet, but I could not hardly wait to chow down. Anything fried in butter has got my vote off the top. The others opted for the grilled lamb chops with a seasonal vegetable medley, one of the featured specials. Pretty straight forward approach to preparing the lamb chops. Seasoned and grilled — no extra commentary there.
A short wait and magically our entrees appeared. I don’t think we were expecting the entrees to arrive so quickly. Everything looks amazing!! Backstreet Café certainly takes pride in its presentation. The food was artfully plated in an effort to tempt our eyes. Let me tell you, this meal was on point!! I didn’t know chicken could taste this good. It was cooked to perfection and placed upon a bed of creamy remoulade sauce that complimented the flavors of the Chicken Milanese oh so right. Talk about some good eating. And the sides? – immaculately delicious!! Creamy (but light) mac and cheese and crunchy, well-seasoned green beans.
Judging by the brief moment of silence, I think the others experienced a similar bliss. As previously mentioned, the approach to preparing the lamb chops is quite straight forward. Lightly seasoned and grilled to what you hope to be perfection. Although simply prepared, the chops were great. They were succulent and tender, with a nice sear. We wouldn’t put it in the perfection category, but darn close.
We were all full as fall possums and so we unanimously decided to pass on dessert (sort of regretting it now). I must say, I fell in love with this place. I can now see why Backstreet Café has found itself on the top Houston restaurant list year after year. Triple C will definitely be back for a follow up. We ended the night with full bellies and great conversation. I would say our first restaurant tour was a success. It got us away from our hubbies, our jobs, energy-sucking couches and out for night of great food, a smooth buzz and grown-folk conversation.
What’s next on our restaurant tour? Continue to follow our journey to find out.
Until next time…Cheers!!!
- 1. Ruggles Green – W. Alabama
- 2. Black Walnut Cafe – Rice Village
- 3. The Melting Pot
- 4. Stadia Sports Grill – Pearland
- 5. Yard House