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Restaurant Reviews
The Woodlands Texas Restaurant Chew and Reviews

Posts Tagged ‘waterway square’

The Woodlands

A First Look

In May, we did a whole series on burgers around The Woodlands for National Burger Month. You might recall we covered Taco USA, JAX Burgers, JP’s Grill, and Honey Bee Ham & Deli.

After taking a break from all that beef, we were more than ready to head over to BurgerFi for their soft opening event tonight and give them a try.

Working on moving westward across the nation from their home base in Florida, BurgerFi (presumably short for Burgerfication), promises to give patrons a better burger by offering only hormone- and antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed, all-natural Angus beef, which, according to them, means you’re getting the “flavor and tenderness that we’ve come to expect in a fine steak, is now made possible in a hamburger.”

Another reason they think you’re going to love them sounds a whole lot like another unique burger chain that once graced The Waterway – each BurgerFi store is built with environmentally sustainable practices, and includes eco-conscious elements like tables made out of compressed recycled wood. BurgerFi also promises to maintain a low carbon footprint, with strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans. All this minus the outdoor style grill that those other guys used.

But enough about all that – you want to know about the burger, right?

He Said

First off I gotta say, I ate too much!
BurgerFi is fast-casual, with order-at-the-counter/buzzer-brings-you-back-for-your-food service. Though this was the soft opening night so we had our meal hand delivered, as many people did. The friendly guy at the counter, Mark, recommended the B.A.D. (Breakfast All Day) Burger, for me, so I took him up on it. This bad boy had American cheese, hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, a fried egg,
hash browns, grilled diced onions, and ketchup. Served up fresh, the burger is only about 4″ across yet when I picked it up and felt the weight of it… that thing could have been 10 inches across; man, it was heavy. Ok, yes it has several delicious items layered between the soft, supple potato roll and yes, it was more than I should be eating in one sitting, but, in my defense, it was really good! The fried egg wasn’t quite completely cooked, producing just a smattering of that familiar yellow yolk, and the beef was cooked to near perfection, firm, juicy and full of flavor. The bacon strips extended outwards like a Howitzer Cannon from The U.S. Army’s New 84-Ton Tank and definitely says “Check out these Guns!” This is one serious burger, don’t let the size fool you, it really packs a punch.

B.A.D. Burgerfi Burger

She Said

Having just made my doctor so proud this afternoon, I wanted to keep up the momentum – so when Mark assured me the VegeFi Burger was good, I thought it was worth a shot. I wish I’d asked if the quinoa burger was a patty that BurgerFi created themselves, but I didn’t get the chance. The “burger” came with white cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and BurgerFi® sauce served on multi-grain bun. On the plus side, I have to say it was the best veggie-burger I’ve had in a long time. Usually, when a restaurant offers a veggie burger, it’s either Gardenburger® or Boca Burger®, and neither are an option I relish (no pun intended). But the VegeFi patty had a great texture, and a flavor that was well-seasoned – no dryness or blandness here. The only downside to my burger was finding out on delivery the patty comes fried, standard. Apparently, on BurgerFi’s website there’s this “Secret Menu,” which includes a Hippie Veggie burger – one that, while containing TWO patties, serves them up grilled – and with the removal of cheese as well, ends up with a net reduction in calories (and of course fat as well). Be that as it may, I was assured by the Juan, the GM, on our way out, that I can always get the VegiFi grilled if I prefer. So now that you know that, feel free to ask for it when you order.

But now that I was already “sinning,” I went ahead and sampled a Red Velvet Concrete. This fantabulous blend of vanilla custard layered with red velvet cake was really, really good. Which also means it was really, really, bad… you know what I mean. ;-)

Veggie Burger

French Fries

If you’re a fan of real, fresh-cut, skin-on potato fries, you’re in luck at BurgerFi. We again took Mark’s recommendation and ordered ours “Urban” style, which meant they came with Parmesan and herb seasoning, and topped with garlic aioli. As big of fans as we are of garlic, we did find the aioli to be a bit overwhelming after the first few fries. But that’s just us. We agreed next time we might just ask for it on the side.

Urban Fries with aioli sauce

And that’s another one of the nice things we see BurgerFi doing that’s going to make them a strong contender in the gourmet burger realm here in The Woodlands; not only are they offering a well-made, high-end product, they’re allowing for total customization of your order.

Hot Dogs, Sides & Shakes

Burgerfi Chicago dog

BurgerFi offers two different varieties of been in their hot dogs, an all natural beef dog, and a 100% Wagyu Kobe Beef Dog. They offer dogs in four different styles, and of course you can custom build one to order. I’m considering trying the Chicken Apple Dog next time. Tonight, I ordered up a Chicago 100% Wagyu Kobe Beef Dog, to go. The Chicago Dog is  topped with mustard, neon relish, diced onion, tomato slices, sport peppers, celery salt, and a pickle spear served on a poppy seed bun. Like I said earlier, I ate way too much already so I figured bringing it home might allow me to gain a little room besides, I thought, I won’t eat all of it cause I’m really not a big fan of hot dogs, but this one just might change that opinion. The Kobe beef was delicious and the toppings gave it just the right amount of kick that just forced me to eat the whole thing.

BurgerFi has five different burgers on the menu (10 if you count the other five on the “secret” menu), along with the “build your own” option, where the possibilities are pretty well endless. There are also five different hot dog choices, each made with all-natural meats and a variety of toppings from the simple New York style with only mustard and ‘kraut, to the Chicago style.

Fries are available six or more different ways, as are the well-battered, large onion rings – all fried in 100% peanut oil.

And if you still have room (and a guilt-free conscious), there are shakes, floats, cows, cups, cones, and concretes, all made with old-fashioned custard.

Also appealing is the wide range of beverage options, ranging from the Coca-Cola Freestyle® Machine, letting you mix your own beverage to your heart’s content, to Boylan® sodas, real Coke, Fanta Orange, and Sprite brought in from Mexico and made with cane sugar, and for the grown-ups in your party, local craft beers like Southern Star Brewery from just up the road as well as wines.

Needless to say, our first try of BurgerFi was a good one, and we see plenty of reasons to give them a second shot. Maybe even a third. Or fourth… fifth… We’ll let you know!

Now that they’re open, stop by and let us know what you think.

Burgers @ Honey Bee Ham & Deli
Burgers @ JP’s Grill
Burgers @ JAX Burgers
Burgers @ Taco USA
Becks Prime
Burger Fresh Tomball Review
Burger Fresh Conroe
$1 Burgers @ Bar Louie
Dosey Doe Music Cafe
Jerry Built Burgers
Kirby’s Prime Burgers
Stadia Bar & Grill
TGI Fridays
Burger Restaurants in The Woodlands

BurgerFi Review
1501 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, Texas 77380
713 389-5823

Bar Louie

Nightlife along the Waterway


Bar Louie Waterway Nightlife

It’s always fun to be one of the first among your friends and peers to get to try the new place first, and we were excited to get that chance this time around when Bar Louie sent out the call for test subjects to their soft opening. While on the one hand, you want to sit back and be all judgmental about any apparent flaws, on the other it’s kind of awe-inspiring to look around and in between the swirling energy of servers, bartenders, bussers and diners to realize the 1,001 things that had to go right to get to opening day. All things considered, I’d rather launch a website than open a restaurant.

That being said, we had a mostly-smooth, pleasant experience, having arrived twenty minutes into what was reported to be the last hour of their second day. We were greeted at the door by a threesome, including a hostess and two servers. As this was the test run, we were given a brief explanation about the mystery envelope we were handed and then lead to a roomy, rounded booth along the north western wall by our server, Adrienne. She seemed completely at ease with the environment and the menu, offering us a cocktail and choice of one of the 20 beers on tap. The mystery envelope included three items from the menu from which we could choose to order one, two or all of; our fates included an appetizer, Boneless Wings; an Italian Beef Flatbread; (we substituted for the Verde Chicken Flatbread) and a “Large Plate” of Macaroni & Cheese. Technically we weren’t supposed to change anything that we ordered, but we just didn’t think the boneless wings and mac ‘n cheese would be enough for a dinner that was already several hours beyond our usual suppertime (our fault, not theirs), and honestly the beef flatbread just didn’t sound appealing to us; so we asked if we could please have the verde chicken instead.

Bar Louie Patio Seating

Our server obliged, and we requested all of the above. She also suggested the Sailor’s Mojito for me, which she claimed was awesome and her favorite, then asked what types of beer he liked, ultimately recommending a Shiner Bock. She left to place our orders at the bar and in the kitchen, and we took in the freshly designed interior while we waited. Amanda, the Service Manager we spoke with at the end of the evening, let us know the design of this location was quite a bit different than previous ones; not only did they want to fit in with the neighborhood, but the patio here in The Woodlands is much larger and more lounge-like than what they have generally been able to do in other cities. The result is a clean, modern feel without going too far into either extreme – the type of club Stefon would recommend, or a Denny’s-esque diner.

We tried to not feel just a little (okay, really) disappointed when we heard the server at the table next to us asking one of the guests how they wanted their Louie Burger cooked, and explaining everything that came with their Chop Chop salad, but again, luck of the draw.

The 14 ounce Shiner ($3.75) was on the table within about five minutes, but the mojito would not arrive for some time. Shortly before our food arrived (about 10 minutes later), Adrienne came back and apologized for the delay of the Mojito ($9.50), explaining it was her bad, as she’d had not put the ticket correctly. A runner brought our food to the table right around the 12 minute mark; not a bad turn-around at all.

Boneless Chicken Wings

The Boneless Wings are accompanied by a few fresh celery and carrot sticks ($10) have five sauce options (Buffalo, barbecue, Szechuan, en fuego [she said it was crazy-hot] and un-sauced with a side of ranch) so in the interest of research, we requested un-sauced with sides of each of the sauces. Not unlike Goldilocks and her porridge, we felt the Buffalo was too vinegary, the barbecue was too… just barbecue, but the Szechuan was just right, with some kick to it and a more complex blend of sweetness and peanuts. Bone in or out, however, we’d recommend getting them tossed in the sauce, rather than dry, to give the chicken a better chance to absorb the flavors and moisture, they just aren’t really made for dipping.

verde chicken italian flatbread

The Verde Chicken Italian Flatbread ($11) was easily a large enough appetizer for three or possibly four, coming in around at 12+ inches long and easily four inches wide. The chicken was tender and flavorful, all of the veggies where uniformly chopped and fresh (though not exactly uniformly scattered) and the thin bread or crust evenly cooked and definitely not soggy. The Baked Mac & Cheese ($10), which Adrienne had assured us was “awesome,” left us disappointed after her build-up. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t exactly bland, either. It just didn’t blow us away – or really even wow us. And it certainly didn’t strike us as a $10 entrée; it is available with chicken for $4 more but at $14…? The blend of sharp cheddar, American and cream cheeses with a sprinkling of Parmesan weren’t as rich and creamy as we’d hoped and actually had a more washed out flavor and the pasta wasn’t exactly al dente.

Bar Louie Mac and Cheese

Our opinion is this upscale-casual bar will most likely be a crowd pleaser and will likely give Crush Wine Bar some much needed competition. We see Baker Street Pub and The Goose’s acre as being as being little too similar to each other and welcome the diversity that Bar Louie offers to The Woodlands Nightlife scene. The full menu is diverse enough with salads, seafood, burgers and finger foods that just about anyone will find something they want, and seemingly at a higher quality standard than your typical “bar food.” Our sole complaint regardless of how many days any bar or restaurant has been in business was the absence of prices from the drink menu, despite their presence on the wine list. Why does it have to be a mystery? You’re there, you’re going to drink, just be upfront about it – no need to hide the fact that mixed cocktails are going to be spendy compared to soft drinks as that is expected. Amanda noted that Adrienne should have said most cocktails are about $9 when we ordered, but still, we don’t fault her for this business practice. When we spoke with her, Adrienne said she had 6 years experience at Red Robin so it might have been just a learning curve on her part.

Amanda also informed us a live music calendar will be forthcoming, and pointed out the kitchen will regularly be open all the way until last call each night… both of these being excellent methods to bring in guests after a movie or a show at The Pavilion. Its closest-to-an-entrance proximity to both the Waterway parking garage and its own 24 Waterway garage isn’t going to hurt, either.

Bar Louie isn’t necessarily a new concept – with its generally relaxed atmosphere, simple and straightforward menu and extensive bar, we would liken it to a upscale TGIFriday’s or a Bennigan’s – it does bring a new energy and vibe to the Town Center area of The Woodlands. For those members of the population that fall into the 21 – 36-ish, DINK, Yuppie or single crowd, Bar Louie is that comfortable, easy-going alternative to the area’s wine bars, upscale dining and family-oriented establishments (though they do offer a kids menu for the 10 and under set).

Next week (April 9 – 13) Bar Louie is going for the big opening, offering to pick up your tab for your first martini and appetizer when you place your meal and beverage order (limit one free martini and one free appetizer per person with additional purchases required) and already offer Louie’s Crew which will get you free foods and other discounts throughout the year delivered to your inbox or mobile phone. Look for them to be open their regular hours of 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM, seven days a week beginning Monday, April 9, 2012.

Bar Louie

24 Waterway (next door to Yucatan Taco Stand)

The Woodlands 77380


Bar Louie The Woodlands Waterway Review

Yucatan Taco Stand & Tequila Bar

The Woodlands Waterway

With the early Spring weather we’ve had lately, we thought we’d shake off some cabin fever and enjoy a meal outside. There are several restaurants in The Woodlands with patio seating, and we thought we’d take advantage of this perfect opportunity. If you’ve been around Waterway Avenue, you know that regardless of the weather, it seems that the street between Yucatan Taco Stand and Waterway Square is usually a virtual wind tunnel. But since there was almost no wind on this beautiful afternoon, there was only the slightest of breezes out on the patio of Yucatan Taco Stand.

patio seating at Yucatan Taco Stand

Yucatan patio seating overlooks Waterway Square

She Said

I keep hearing about this enormous pile of nachos that Yucatan serves. I previously lived in the Midwest for a number of years, and every “Mexican” restaurant I’d ever dined at up there served nachos this same way. Imagine my surprise when I moved to Texas and found out that in Tex-Mex restaurants, nachos are almost always a flat serving of 6 – 12, thick corn tortillas, spread with refried beans and topped with carefully placed fresh toppings. So I was really looking forward to trying Yucatan’s Nachos with Tequila Lime Chicken ($8.95) (which incidentally, have no tequila at all).

As you can see in the picture, it really is a huge pile of tortilla chips, which were layered with melted Chihuahua cheese, chili con queso, roasted garlic aioli sauce, queso fresco, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cilantro, purple cabbage, sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos. Okay, I understand now why if it’s not what you’re used to, trying to dive into this big a pile can be overwhelming. But for me, anyway, I love the lighter, crispier chips, which would never stand up to the spreading, smothering, piling and lifting that the chips in most other restaurants are required to perform. This was an impressive presentation, if not maybe slightly overdone (lettuce, purple cabbage and cilantro on nachos? really?). Size and presentation aside – how were they?

tequila lime chicken nachos at yucatan taco stand in the woodlands

Tequila Lime Nachos at Yucatan Taco Stand

Well… here’s the thing: Even taking into account we were outside, everything in the pile was already pretty much cold on arrival. That was extremely disappointing. I expected the melted Chihuahua cheese, chili con queso, tequila lime chicken and possibly even the queso fresco to have been warm, hot even. But the cheeses were only mildly warm (not even body temperature), and the chicken was actually chilled. Not only that, but it was shredded, like pulled chicken for enchiladas or something rather than the more Tex-Mex style of bite size chunks of meat. And the chicken being chilled likely concealed whatever seasoning there should have been that made it “tequila lime;” the chicken was really very bland. Because of the way the plate appears to be assembled – in layers, with the different ingredients evenly scattered among the chips – it was also disappointing to find a couple of chips tucked in under the top layer that had literally caught fire, possibly as they were kept warm. We know that these chips are generally fried in hot oil so any flame there would be unlikely. We brought this to the attention of the manager on duty, and he assured us it should have been caught by the kitchen and not been served. But I think the oddest thing about the nachos was the guacamole. There was a flavor in it I couldn’t put my finger on, but I was pretty sure it tasted like eggs – like there were hard-boiled eggs in the guacamole! Surely there aren’t; I didn’t see any, and who would make it that way, anyway? But there was definitely something off about the guacamole. Bottom line – the nachos just didn’t impress me.

chips and salsa at yucatan taco stand in the woodlands

Chips and salsa Yucatan Taco Stand

He Said

We’d heard murmurings about Yucatan charging for chips and salsa, a pre-meal snack that’s usually free in many Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, and sure enough it was listed on the menu as $2.60. But when I ordered the Brazilian Steak Chimichurri ($14.00), our cashier informed me that chips and salsa are complimentary with meals from the “Yucatan Favorites” menu. Turns out though that we wouldn’t have missed anything had I not ordered from the Favorites menu. The chips were nice and crisp (the same as those used for the Nachos), but the salsa that came with them was not spicy at all. In fact, it was pretty bland; no one flavor stood out, not even the tomatoes. The salsa has a lot of texture and you can see the cilantro, and whatever else they add to to the mixture, but even with all that even there was no flavor to be found. The chips have a light dusting of what is likely paprika but even that does nothing to the flavor of the chips. The salsa seemed to have one good use, adding some moisture to balance to against the (dry) chips. There is a tall bottle of red sauce on every table at Yucatan, and that’s some pretty spicy stuff – we’d put it in the same category as Tabasco Sauce. But it wouldn’t have added anything to the salsa except the heat factor, so we only had a few chips and salsa while awaiting our entrees at Yucatan Taco Stand.

The Brazilian Steak Chimichurri is a marinated Angus skirt steak served with grilled vegetables (mine were zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and asparagus), chipotle mashed potatoes and chimichurri sauce. The steak was good, evenly cooked, juicy and flavorful; tender enough to cut with my butter knife. The sauteed peppers were still slightly crisp, the squash was a bit soft, as was the zucchini but all were pleasantly flavored and added a nice accent to the steak. The asparagus was likely only there for decoration as it really added nothing to the overall taste of the meal. The extra chimichurri sauce wasn’t really needed for my steak as the meat had enough added during the cooking process. The mashed potatoes were by far the spiciest of anything I ate that day at Yucatan or otherwise. I’ve eaten several dishes seasoned with chipotle peppers, however, none of them tasted like this. To me, chipotle-seasoned dishes have a smoky, mild- to medium-heat with a mild but earthy spiciness. When my dining companion sampled the potatoes, she said she couldn’t detect any chipotle pepper, either. In fact, to her the potatoes tasted as though they had been seasoned with something like crab boil, which is usually a blend of mustard seed, coriander seed, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, dill and allspice – but not chipotle (smoked jalapenos). The potatoes themselves did have a good potato flavor but, I could do without the cayenne pepper.

brazilian steak chimichurri at yucatan taco stand in the woodlands

Brazilian Steak Chimichurri at Yucatan Taco Stand

The Wrap Up

Despite what some might think based on the name, Yucatan Taco Stand & Tequila Bar isn’t a Mexican restaurant, strictly speaking. So even though they serve a number of dishes that can typically be found in a Mexican or even a Tex-Mex restaurant, it’s not entirely fair to try to compare them to those establishments. Yucatan also offers a number of dishes prepared in the manner of several Central and South American/Latin countries. And the menu is pretty extensive – nearly 100 items, not counting desserts, kids meals and a few appetizers. Because we only sampled the two dishes, we can’t really give a definitive answer one way or the other as to whether we’d recommend it, but, we will likely return to sample other dishes at this Waterway Patio Restaurant.

In addition to the menu being pretty unique among other restaurants in The Woodlands, the general “flow” of the restaurant may take some getting used to. In the time we sat on the patio, we observed a number of patrons walking right past the entrance as they were focused on the sign that was hung closer to what is actually the exit door. Yucatan is also a restaurant where you order at the inside counter and are given a number for a food runner to bring your meal(s) to the table similar to Berryhill Baja Grill and Whataburger. This means if you want refills on your soft beverages you need to return to the fountain inside the store, near the front counter, or for the adult beverages, to the bar from either inside or out. Since opening last fall, Yucatan has already made some changes to the interior, frosting the glass doors to the refrigerators at the entrance and adding the menu to them, making it easier to make your selections before you reach the counter. We like that they left some glass un-frosted making it easy to see the unique ‘tequila on tap’ system.

We also didn’t have a chance to sample from among the 75+ tequilas or specialty mixed drinks, and Yucatan offers Happy Hour specials Sunday – Thursday and musical entertainment many Friday nights, making it a popular nightlife destination. Suffice it to say we’ll have to give them another try. Have you tried Yucatan yet? Leave your comments below and tell us what you think!

Yucatan Taco Stand & Tequila Bar, 24 Waterway Avenue, The Woodlands 77380 – 281 419-6300

Yucatan Taco Stand and Tequila Bar Review

Brunch @ Luca & Leonardo

Brunch at Luca Leonardo ReviewBeing more night-owls than morning people, we tend to review more lunches and dinners than breakfasts or brunches. But we recognize that some of you (okay, most of you) probably do actually get out before noon. So we set the alarm and headed on over to Luca & Leonardo this Sunday to give their weekend brunch a try – here’s how it went.

First of all, we can dispense with the theory that since fewer restaurants offer the morning meal, everywhere you go will be crowded and you’ll have to be prepared to wait; when we arrived at 11:30, the restaurant was perhaps one third occupied and we were seated right away. We chose a table on the patio, overlooking The Waterway. We were pleased to discover the ambiance of the rustic decor carried out seamlessly onto the patio. Blending into the natural surroundings that are The Woodlands, live flowers and plants surround the patio, and thankfully, the flowers do not seem to attract bees. Our server, Bill, arrived immediately upon our settling in and exchanged pleasantries with us for a moment before taking our beverage order. Though initially caught off guard by our request for “half-caf” coffees ($3 each), he was happy to oblige us – and kept our cups full throughout the meal.

While we waited for our meals to arrive, we noticed another server showing her table an assortment of pastries from a wicker tray she was carrying around. Eavesdropping on her description of the pastries, we thought we heard her state they were free; but when she arrived at our table a few minutes later, we received the unclear explanation that they were “maybe a dollar or so each” – a reasonable amount, it would seem, for the size and spectrum of offerings: chocolate muffins with cream cheese or berry cream cheese topping, danishes, banana nut bread, blueberry bread and more.luca leonarda breakfast pastry tray

Oddly enough, considering the relatively small crowd at the restaurant, we did seem to wait an exceptionally long time for our three dishes – none of which included any special orders or menu variations. Still more troubling was that while none of the dishes were cold per se, nothing was served piping hot either, as though they had been plated and sat for some time before being brought out. But again, this is a leisurely Sunday brunch, not an eat and run breakfast, so with the exception of the cooler temperatures, the timing was such that it was not at all troubling. We waited perhaps a little more than 20 minutes for our late-morning meal.

We ordered three different meals; the WAFFLES BELGIAN STYLE served with maple syrup ($7) (which in actuality is one waffle), the TEXAS FRENCH TOAST, classic French toast served with red berry sauce ($7) (which mysteriously did not come with red berry sauce, but chopped apples with grapes and sweet cream) and the MANZO E PROVOLONE OMELETTE made with Tenderloin strips, “home made” dried tomatoes, carmellized [sic] onions and provolone, served with house made potatoes ($10). The two of us that stuck with the carbs also split a side of bacon ($2).

luca leonardo belgian waffle brunch

The Belgian waffle was perfectly browned and formed, though could have been slightly crispier. We prefer the waffle not get too soggy when butter and syrup are added. The flavor was hearty and warm – a hint of vanilla and not plain or dull. The sweet cream topping was a welcome addition, allowing for less syrup by adding another dimension to the flavor of an otherwise plain tasting waffle. The bacon had a nice, meaty flavor, not salty and was cooked very crisp, though not overdone.

French toast can go really well or really bad, and rarely rides the middle of the road, however, the Texas French toast did exactly that. The bread kept its form and was light and springy, not flattened by too much custard and was not soggy. There was the slightest hint of cinnamon, vanilla and maybe almond flavoring, but nothing overwhelming or remarkable in that regard. We asked about that missing red berry sauce, but when Bill quickly returned from the kitchen he instead provided a blueberry compote; it was good, but we couldn’t help but wonder if we might have missed out on something better.

luca leonardo brunch french toast

The Manzo e Provolone omelette was made with perhaps two eggs, rolled crepe style around the tenderloin strips and provolone. The tenderloin was flavorful and tender, though slightly chewy. Curiously, the tomatoes were not in the omelette at all, they were instead served under the potatoes. But those tomatoes! The tomatoes had a wonderful, sweet without being sugary, tart tomato-y flavor and were soft without being mushy. The potatoes were skillet-style, pan fried and tender with a mild, non-de script seasoning. All of the servings were such that we ultimately passed on the pastry basket.

luca leonardo brunch manzo e provolone omelette

Overall, the meal was favorable, reasonably priced for the portion sizes, presentation and establishment. The menu has a broad enough range of options that anyone could find something to enjoy, from the young child to the older adults. Our unsolicited advice to the restaurant would be to make some clarifications on the menu – no one expects more than one Belgian waffle generally, but the plural could be confusing – as is the inclusion of the tomatoes in the omelette description when they are actually in the potatoes – only because it lead us to wonder, had we passed on the potatoes, would we have missed out on those fabulous tomatoes?

Which leads us to our recommendation to the reader; if you like sun dried tomatoes in general, you’ll love Luca & Leonardo‘s in particular. Also, be sure to ask for Bill, not only is his service and manner excellent (as one would expect from the head waiter with 15 years experience), he is quite the conversationalist and enjoys sharing his love of music.

Luca & Leonardo is located on The Waterway, adjacent to Crush and Grimaldi’s. They are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, with brunch on Sundays only. Oh, and if you have any questions about the menu, feel free to ask.

Think we got it wrong? Or did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don’t have to take our word for it – give them a try for yourself and decide!


Brio Tuscan Grill
Crust Pizza
Luca & Leonardo
Mama Mia Italian
Pallotta’s Italian
Russo’s New York Pizza
Via Emilia

Luca & Leonardo Ristorante on Woodlands Waterway

Coal Burger

Coal Fired Burgeria

20 Waterway Ave, Suite 150

The Woodlands, Texas  77380


Upon first entering the newly opened Coal Burger in The Woodlands, you can’t help but notice at least 2 things – 1, the enticing aroma of the soon to be had, coal  fired goodness and 2, the mass of lime green T-shirt clad worker bees buzzing around and asking if you need any help in deciding what to order.
And that aroma – it instantly reminded of the local “Home Burger” I used to frequent during my high school years. I couldn’t say if “Home Burger” was using coal but I do know were making burgers on a similar type of fiery grill.

The Woodlands Coal Burger Ovens

So why would someone have trouble with the menu? Well, we could read it just fine but, it’s proximity to the front door might be an issue as person A stops to read it while persons B, C, D, etc attempt to enter.

And that would be the only less than positive attribute for the remainder of our visit. The staff was friendly and eager to accept our food request and we were promptly on our way to fill our drinks at the fountain. We ordered one beverage along with a water and were then handed 2 cups of the same size. None of those tiny little Styrofoam cups you might get at other places when you prefer just simple H2O with your meal at Coal Burger! Drink choices are many with flavors of Boylan pure cane sugar sparkling soda.
Stove Coal used at Coal Burger The Woodlands
The dining area (seats between 30 and 60 people) was clean and the chairs were comfy. We were just barely seated when a worker bee came by and asked if we needed anything, napkins, ketchup, etc. which was nice as there are no condiments or other eating apparatus type items at the tables.

We placed our number in the holder (yes, just like Pei Wei) and began to take in the ambience. Coal Burger is located on the street level just behind Grimaldi’s Pizza (same parent company) but only has space on that level. Grimaldi’s is below and Crush Wine Bar is above yet the patio seating area provides an excellent view of the Waterway Fountains which is perfect for the semi-regular live music performances held in the courtyard.coal burger drinks the woodlands



Our quarter pound coal fired burgers arrived in short order and while they initially appeared to be quite small, they were nothing short of fantastic. The bacon on the bacon-cheeseburger was cooked to perfection, nice thick slices with just a hint of salt. The Niman Ranch beef was cooked to perfection and the melted cheese was dripping in delight. The grass fed beef is hormone-free and pasture raised resulting in delicious burgers that go perfectly with Coal Burger’s sweet potato or french fries (cooked in rice-bran oil). The Classic quarter pound burger was quite honestly, even when served without the Coal Burger Sauce, fantastic. The peppery taste of the beef was a perfect compliment to the coal fired flavor. Burger prices start at $3.99.
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bacon cheeseburger woodlands coal burgerBacon Cheeseburger Woodlands Coal Burger

Think we got it wrong? Or did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don’t have to take our word for it – give them a try for yourself and decide!


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Burger Restaurants in The Woodlands

Read the review on H-Town Chow Down

Coal Burger The Woodlands