Houston’s: Consistently Delicious Chain Never Disappoints

Date April 1, 2008

I love Houston’s. There I said it. Go ahead, laugh. NYC Food Guy’s favorite restaurant is a chain and I have no problem with that. Why? Because Houston’s has never disappointed. Not once!


Get to Houston’s now and bring a friend because that’s the fastest way for you to experience the glory of the Baby Back Ribs/Cheeseburger Split…

It’s the simplest way to carnivorous bliss.

  1. One person orders the Baby Back Ribs ($28) and the other the Cheeseburger ($14).
  2. Split everything down the middle and share.

Counting drinks (nonstop free refills, seriously, before you finish your drink, you’ll have a fresh one) and tip, this is the best $25 dollars you can spend.

I love BBQ & I love Ribs. Houston’s Ribs really aren’t BBQ though; they’re cooked in the oven, basted, and grilled. In the end, who cares? They’re delicious. The flavor from the spicy, smoky ribs combined with fries dipped in ketchup, is heavenly.


If that’s not enough, the ribs are always tender and falling off the bone.

 I’ve eaten the buttery cheeseburger below at least 50 times. 50 burgers, 50 lip smacking smiles. 50 thoughts of “I wish there was more”.

And the burger is equally tender. It’s served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, chopped onion, mustard, and mayo, but I skip all that. I stick to the classics.


Crumbly, tender, and moist beef always cooked to order and covered with melted cheddar. I recently found out that the patty is painted with a tiny bit of Hickory Sauce for some smoky flavor. Needless to say, I’m not complaining. A thin slice of cabbage rests below the burger patty so it doesn’t soak through the bun. Its presence goes undetected however, melding perfectly with the buttery egg bun and juicy burger.


The fries are amazing too. Thin, crisp, and amazingly addictive when served piping hot. If they taste like they haven’t been spiced, I implore you to add some salt and pepper because once you do you won’t want your supply of fries to end. Dip them in Houston’s ketchup, Heinz mixed with a touch of honey (surprising, I know), and you’re in business.


I would consider ordering fries as an appetizer if not for the Chicago Style Spinach/Artichoke Dip ($12).


Mounds of Monterey Jack & Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese combine with finely chopped artichoke hearts & spinach to create a molten mass of deliciousness. Served with a bowl of corn chips and two small sides of sour cream and salsa and you’re in for an amazing appetizer. I love alliteration.


I recommend a nice hearty dip in the spinach/artichoke followed by a spoonful of salsa and sour cream. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

And since I’ve run this meal in reverse, entree to appetizer, it would only be fitting to end with on a sweet note with one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

The Warm 5-Nut Brownie ($8) (previously reviewed by NYC Food Guy) features cashews, walnuts, macadmia nuts, pecans, and peanuts, encased within a warm, moist, and slightly fudgy brownie that strikes the perfect balance between sweet and dark chocolate.


The brownie rests in a pool of decadent champagne custard, the most expensive item in any dish in the entire restaurant. As you scoop through the Sedutto vanilla ice cream, drizzled with caramel espresso sauce, drag your whole bite along the plate, through the custard and just marvel at the knee-buckling harmony of flavors making your palate sing.


3 locations in New York

378 Park Ave S. Btwn 26th & 27th St
(212) 689-1090
153 E 53rd St At 3rd Ave
(212) 888-3828
Roosevelt Field Mall
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 873-1454

***Check out more great desserts here***

53 Responses to “Houston’s: Consistently Delicious Chain Never Disappoints”

  1. Danny said:

    I always hear about Houston’s but have never ventured forth. Would you say it is head and shoulders above all the other chains? (I like chains).

    And awesome on getting a bunch of comments, I skimmed through the last entry. You’re getting quite popular!

  2. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Houston’s is on another plateau, far above all other chains. Their prices, unfortunately, represent this. It’s tough to have a big dinner for two with appetizer for under $50. That being said, I never feel more satisfied spending that kind of money than when I eat at Houston’s.

    Ha, thanks for the kind words. For better or worse, it seems like the comments are catching on.

    What you been up to lately?

  3. David said:

    I can’t believe all of the bickering that is going on here. This is a food blog, with some great reviews. I personally feel that the comments section is absolutely hilarious. This really has turned into an entertaining site that I can read to catch up on some new places to eat, all while sitting here cracking up the entire time. Lighten up DDR it’s all in good fun!

  4. kingofketchup said:

    King of Ketchup in the hizzouuuse! Houston’s is real good meal, but I”m a bigger fan of the ribs than the burger. Unfortunately, the burger isn’t really anything to write home about, although NYC Food Guy slurps the living hell out of it. The bun is all buttered up, the patty isn’t that thick — it’s still good, but nothing compared to Donovan’s in woodside.

    The ribs, on the other hand, are very solid — only problem is they don’t give you enough ribs, and they charge like 30 bucks for it…I’d rather go to Georgia’s or Daisey Mays and be full as a bull when I leave. Not to mention the $13 salad at Houstons, which is just absurd for a bowl of lettuce. It’s a great salad, but 13 bucks? c’mon.

    As for the ketchup-sitiation at houstons — they serve their ketchup in those tiny metal ramicans (same as the new Donovan’s in Bayside), which is obviously extremely bothersome, constantly having to ask for more. and more. and more. Interestingly enough, Houston’s uses their own homemade blend of Heinz — I think they mix some honey into it, which is a nice touch.

  5. P. Nis said:

    Hey I love the ribs at Houston’s!

    NYC Foodguy, quick question… I know that Houston’s cooks their ribs in that smoke oven, but I know the Houston’s on ~27th and Park doesn’t have that oven due to building regulations. Were those wings you had obviouslya t the 3rd Ave and 50s location?


  6. P. Nis said:

    and by wings I mean ribs… sorry.

  7. The NYC Food Guy said:

    The ribs I photographed were actually from the Long Island branch. I’ve had them at both city spots, however, and none of the restaurants actually “smoke” the ribs in a traditional BBQ fashion. I’m not sure about the differences in rib preparation at each branch. If you want some cheaper ribs that are a little heartier but similarly tender and fall off the bone, head to Georgia’s Eastside BBQ.

    What are your favorite ribs in NY?

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:


    I apologize for all the slander sent your way. I’ve been pretty busy with my day job recently and saw the bulk of this at once. It’s obviously ridiculous. I wouldn’t worry about it though. I really appreciate your comments and feedback on the site and would hate to see you go. I’m not going to sit here and monitor all the comments though, it’s obviously not worth either of our time. I hope you’ll reconsider and continue your valuable contribution to my site.

    NYC Food Guy

  9. Jeff in Hells Kitchen said:

    Couldn’t agree more with you. Houston’s is consistently good food. That Spinach dip is incredible. Haven’t tried the 5-nut brownie but that looks like a must and certainly will next time.

    How are Houston’s appetizers though? I don’t think i’ve ever tried because I go with the spinach dip every time.

  10. Veal Pallard said:

    My favorite food is meat in general… does not matter what type of meat. As long as it’s meat.

  11. Craving Indian.... said:

    Hey NYC Food Guy!

    Off-topic, but What are the best indian food spots in the city? I’ve been looking for a place to take my Indian girlfriend and her Indian family that has an “authentic” feel to it. They don’t like me enough as is considering I’m of Asian descent but maybe they will warm up to me if I feed them some amazing Indian food.

  12. The NYC Food Guy said:


    That makes two of us. I’ve never had anything pre-entree besides the spinach dip and the salad, both of which are quality.

    Craving Indian-

    You’ve unearthed my lone weakness, Indian food. I know nothing about it and I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve never gone out for an Indian meal. I’ve got some plans in the works though so hopefully I can help out soon.

  13. Huge Fan said:

    NYC Food Guy, How often do you typically try to post? And how often are you actually going out to restaurants with the purpose of reviewing them? Lastly, how do you afford this expensive habit?

    This site is amazing by the way.

    -Huge Fan

  14. DDR said:


    Thanks for deleting all of those posts. I really appreciate it.

  15. Marshall said:

    My best friend is in the manager-in-training program with Hillstone and from what he says (and the one meal that I’ve had at Houston’s), this is a serious restaurant. Hillstone definitely knows what it is doing, and the company hires great people to run the show. As far as a chain restaurant goes, Houston’s is certainly one of the best ones out there.

  16. Lil NYC Food Guy said:

    I’ll try and handle that one. He tries to post as often as he can. He’s able to do this because he plans alot of his meals at places he’s heard are good and would like to review. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been sitting there salivating about eating my food while my brother has been taking pictures. He pretty much always has his camera and pad on him and is ready to review at all times.

    As for affording all this, I’d say he lives by the “you only live once” motto. It’s not worth living life counting all your pennies. You gotta enjoy life, and what better way to enjoy life than going around trying new food and spreading the love on http://www.nycfoodguy.com. I’ll also foot the bill sometimes can’t let big bro take me out to dinner all the time.

  17. Lil NYC Food Guy said:

    that was in response to huge fan…this sites gettin pretty popular took me a few minutes to write that post and there were already two more posts good shit brotha

  18. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Huge Fan,

    First off, thanks for the kind words. Let me say my brother, Lil NYC Food Guy, nailed it on the head. I don’t have many expensese these days aside from rent and my credit card bill. All my other money pretty much goes to food. If I can’t do that now, then when? Another thing is that I really try to eat at affordable places. The East Village Food Tour? It cost me around $60 bucks and I ate at 6 places. So if you have any cheap & great places I don’t know about, please tell me.


    Dude, that’s awesome you’re friend is gonna manage for Hillstone. He or she spoke right, Hillstone has it down to a science. Amazing food served well consistently. You can’t argue with results. Your blog by the way was very interesting. That Vision24 plan, eliminating all car traffic on 42nd and adding a light rail system, is very intriguing. I recommend everyone check it out here.

    Lil NYC Food Guy,

    In the words of Denzel: “Myyyyyyyyyyyyy Man.” Love ya brotha.

  19. couldnt stay away said:

    you promised you weren’t coming back to this site anymore DDR, you just couldn’t stay away huh! it’s good to have you back Big Sexy.

    what hotspots in brooklyn should we be hitting up?

  20. Luvs Eating said:

    what an awesome site! these reviews are so unbelievable awesome.

    NYC Food Guy – If you had to pick one genre of food as your “favorite”.. what would it be? From your previous posts, it seems to me like you are a burger guy but please correct me if i’m wrong.

  21. Huge Fan Says said:

    Thanks NYC Food Guy / Lil NYC Food Guy!

    You didn’t answer my question about how often do you typically try to post though. Not trying to be rude, just curious since I love the site so much and want to figure out how often I should be checking back / refreshing my browser.

  22. Wait a minute said:

    where did all of those hysterical posts go on this thread???????

    I’m getting backlashed by all of my friends now for linking to this shit and now it’s lacking in humor. Much better before.

  23. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Luvs Eating,

    Pizza, Burgers, and BBQ. My three favorites. And I always leave room for dessert.

    Huge Fan,

    There’s no posting schedule, I try to post as much as I can, ideally 2-3 times per week.

    Wait A Minute,

    Things were getting out of hand for no good reason, I want people to feel welcome on this site and to create productive a dialogue about food. I do not want to create a haven for unwarranted slander.

  24. golly said:

    gee golly there sure are a lot of comments on here!

  25. DDR said:

    Lawrence –

    Just wanted to thank you again for removing those mean comments about me. Not sure if you saw my note earlier. Hope things can get back to the way they used to be.

  26. JimBob said:

    Lil Nyc Food guy— you said before, “He pretty much always has his camera and pad on him and is ready to review at all times.”

    is that his maxi-pad you’re referencing?

  27. mary said:

    NYCFG, the bun on that burger looks kinda crappy, can you describe it? How does it compare to corner bistro’s bun?

  28. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Jim Bob-

    The answer is no. It’s a pad of note paper. You probably got it confused with the maxi pad your mother put on you this morning.


    The bun on this burger is excellent. Why do you think it looks crappy? It’s a toasted egg bun. The crunch is just right, the flavor is slightly sweet, and there’s a perfect amount of butter on it. Corner Bistro’s bun is a regular white bun. Last time I had it it was way over-toasted and everytime I’ve had it it’s too small to handle the heft of the the burger and collapses under its presence. That has never happened to me at Houston’s, then again, I abstain from Lettuce and Tomato. I think Bistro is overrated. If you’re drunk it’s great.

  29. betazen said:

    Thinking about grabbing some ribs on take out. Any idea if they do that well?

  30. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I don’t see how they could possibly be bad. Ribs are great cold. It’s the fries I’d worry about. How far would you be transporting them? Be prepared to throw the fries back in a really hot oven for a few minutes, you’ll be happy you did if they get cold.

  31. betazen said:

    NYC Food Guy,

    I really appreciate the response. Actually, who am I kidding? You responded 3 hours and 31 minutes after I asked you, and that essentially does me no good whatsoever. I didn’t even get ribs because I didn’t have your guidance. I went with some chinese food and to be honest, it sucked dick.

    Please answer quicker if possible, or maybe you could get a pager where we can page you “911” on urgent requests? Just a thought. I really do appreciate the effort.


  32. Mrs. NYC Food Guy said:

    betazen-imposter, you are a dumb bastard. it was 3 hours and 19 minutes. dont be mean to my hubby!

  33. DDR said:

    why does everyone have to be so rude? i like happy things. long…thick…happy things.

    Lawrence — what are your thoughts on corn on the cob?

  34. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Not a bad idea about the 911 Food Request, definitely something to think about. Any ideas on how to get that moving?

    Mrs. NYC Food Guy,
    Who are you? I didn’t know you existed…

    Obviously not the real DDR, but regardless, if you’re really having this much fun standing in as him, who am I to stop you?

    That being said, I’m down with corn on the cob. If you know anything about the Mexican variety, then you’re in business. Grilled with spices and then slathered with mayo and sprinkled with manchego cheese, it’s pretty sublime. You can get this at La Esquina or Westville. I suggest you do.

  35. betazen said:

    I’ve been bamboozled!

    Thanks for the response! I work right on 51st and Lex so I’m right there! So fries should be good to go.

  36. The NYC Food Guy said:


    I knew that wasn’t the real you. You really are right there. Let us know how the take out goes, I’ve only had Houston’s in house.

  37. DDR said:

    will the real DDR please stand up

  38. DDR said:

    I’m the REAL DDR. And no, I will not stand up, because I’m sitting down (on a pole). and its quite comfy…

  39. Doctor Dyspepsia said:

    Went this week with Mrs. Dyspepsia, ready to dive into a burger on your recommendation, when what do I see on the menu? PRIME RIB ON THE BONE!!!! Yes, it’s pricey, but there are some things that when they appear, cannot be denied. Osso bucco, short ribs, cassoulet (look it up), to name a few.

    Anyway, the prime rib was perfect- I like the end cut because if it’s done right, it has all the spices without being tough. This one was perfectly cooked, ample deckle (the “cap” on the rib-eye, extra tasty, often overlooked and under-appreciated), with the bone meat (shut up, you lurking homophobes waiting for an opportunity to crack wise!) fatty, seasoned up and falling apart. The best. And you are absolutely right about the delicious artichoke/spinach appetizer, too.

    Thanks for the suggestion- eventually, I’ll go back for that burger. Meanwhile, do you have a recommendation for a Philly Cheese Steak NOT in Philadelphia?


  40. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Glad to hear you enjoyed Houston’s. I’m not a big Prime Rib guy, I’ll always go steak over it, and at Houston’s I can’t break away from the burger or the ribs. That being said, I’m glad to hear you had a quality meal. No surprise there, Houston’s never disappoints. Did you get dessert? Brownie Sundae? Cassoulet, let me guess, some sort of French casserole? Maybe with some stewed meat? I’m yet to venture to the Osso Bucco realm though I’ve had some serious short ribs (dotted with toasted coconut) at Fatty Crab in the West Village.

    I’ll be honest, I had no idea what you were talking about when you say “deckle”. I looked it up, and lone behold, I like the deckle too, a great article described it as such:

    “The deckle actually is best known as the fatty part of the brisket, the favored cut for pastrami and the aficionado’s preferred part of “smoked meat,” the Jewish-Canadian cousin of corned beef.

    In fact, the deckle is any part of the strip of muscle and fat that lies right on top of the ribs, according to James Reagan, a specialist from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.”

    I’m ashamed to say, I’m one of those people who’ve put the deckle to waste. Ironically, the chef quoted in the article says the deckle makes great cheesteaks, which leads us to our next question… cheesesteaks in New York…

    I recommend Shorty’s on 42nd and 10th Ave, formerly Tony Luke’s. Authentic, decent bread, big as hell, great crispy fries. I’ve heard good things about 99 Miles to Philly and Wogie’s. Pass on Philly Slims, don’t be tempted by the widowmaker.

  41. Shelly Borrell said:

    Hello. I was excited to stumble upon your blog. Great job! I just posted a related story and Copycat Recipe for their Spinach Dip on my blog. Check it out, if you’re interested. I’m doing similar things on the West Coast. http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/?p=342

  42. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Great to hear from you, thanks for stopping by. Your Spinach/Artichoke dip looks awesome and I fully back up your preference for Shelly’s Pita Chips (which I’m sure has nothing to do with your name). Those corn chips and salsa at Houston’s are damn good though, lets be serious.

  43. NYC Steak: Angelo & Maxie’s $20.99 Lunch Special is Lackluster « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] The hash browns did what they were supposed to, provide the necessary potato aspect of the potato-onion-steak bite.  Salty and bland, these hash browns merely sufficed; a crisp outer shell hid chopped potato, onion and pepper.  Maybe we should have opted for the shoestring fries we spied on a neighboring table, they resembled a poor man’s Houston’s fries. […]

  44. MrArtTuro - The Food Maven said:

    Just Wondering…

    On April 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm, Doctor Dyspepsia Says:

    “…fatty, seasoned up and falling apart. The best.”

    Was he talking about me?

  45. MrArtTuro - The Food Maven said:

    NOTE : Not to be confused with the Schwartz Guy, I am now “MrArtTuro – Mr. Gluttony”.
    Thank You.

    You may now resume eating…

  46. MrArtTuro - Mr. Gluttony said:

    You see?

  47. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    Good one, O eater who was formerly known as The Food Maven.

  48. bbqmackster said:

    ahhhh, glorious Houston’s, they are a chain, a robotic chain at that, which means, no matter where you are, LA, NY or Atlanta, the same exact recipe, ingredients and perfectly weighed slice of cheese macthes up precisely with every other location. Rather than repeat the glorious exploits already stated by the foodguy I’ll offer other info.
    The Ribs are imported from Denmark by the way. I like ordering my spanich dip with no salt chips, just ask, in general they are great about taking all types of request and special orders, throw cheese and grilled onions on the already amazing french dip and it’s the best high end philly cheese steak in town. they offer fresh horseradish or a choice of a horseradish sauce, which is perfectly cut with some sour cream..
    And while the chuck is always grinded daily and the bun buttered and all that jazz, the burger doesn’t even begin to compare to the Pork Chop!! NYCFG please go back and treat yourself! We are talking a massive, bone-in double cut Chop, brined for 24 hours, perfectly finished on the grill to medium rare( made possible by great pork and the brining process) with a masive side of fries that soak up all the meaty juices in the bowl, this pure heaven, super tender, sweet meat, charry on the edgesm especially around the bone, omg!! And where else can you get a 25 oz Prime Rib cut, center or( End cut upon request) for about 30 dollars and have be that frickin good??

  49. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    mackster, please refer to my review (not far above) of the prime rib almost 2 years ago. Agree with the assessment, but medium rare pork? Wouldn’t go there… treatment of trichinosis isn’t pretty. Maybe the brine kills the parasites, but jeez, you’re walking the wild side.

    Nevertheless, great review. But ribs from Denmark? How do you know?


  50. bbqmackster said:

    My good DR. after review, you have in fact set the standard in your review, excellent mention of the end cut. – per the med rare issue- here is a long but informative link. Essentially it states trich affects les than 50 people annually, and since this is a little older, it is probable to assume even less, 2nd, the 160 degree temp is well above the 130 temp required to kill bacteria, it was more of consistent temp issue, which today’s modern commerical ovens can certainly overcome, and 3) by chance it mentions that Denmark as one country that is essentially trich free in all of its’ products, based on super tight regulation.
    The brine is a simply another proven measure to protect both you and the flavor and texture of the meat. Any good bbq outfit will confirm that.
    Per Denmark as the sourcing for ribs, a good friend works at the park ave location and I’ve had the privledge of helping use his employee dining credits with him, and this info was passed on to me as such.

  51. bbqmackster said:

    the damn link… http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/trichinae/docs/fact_sheet.htm

  52. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    Some scholarly work on Trichinella spiralis, bbq. As long as we don’t feed our swine trash, wild animals, or their relatives, we seem to be at little risk. Si U shall not fear trichinosis, but the prospect of medium-rare pork is still pretty nauseating: guess I was brainwashed.


  53. james said:

    oh my god, now im hungry. Im actually going to manhattan this december with a few friends (we live in the UK), we’ve been before in december and love the xmas atmosphere. now im gonna have to check this place out.
    Frankie & Bennies is pretty nice too btw, they serve NYC style food in the UK. Ribs, wings, burgers, steaks, etc…

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