Restaurants

Community Restaurants

Chi Japanese Cuisine

Image Source: http://www.chijapanese.com/

Heaven to me would be an all you can eat, fresh made sushi special at a beautiful restaurant near my house.  This heaven exists in Oak Ridge, just on the other side of I-45 from The Woodlands.  Chi Japanese Cuisine has all you can eat, fresh made sushi every week night from 3pm to 10pm for about $26 per person. It includes many items from their menu in addition to sushi and sashimi. It is a great deal.  If you don’t think you want to eat that much, there are fantastic happy hour specials that cover the gamut of sushi, edamame, dumplings, salads, and veggies.  There are also lots of happy hour drink specials that are perfectly paired with sushi.  The lychee martini is exotic and tasty at a $5 happy hour price for a good sized cocktail. Happy Hour wine at $5 makes me very happy.   I love the sushi/sashimi here and it is clearly the star. The fresh salmon just melts in your mouth.  The tuna is amazing, and the rolls are unique and interesting.  I love the Lake Charles roll which is deep fried with crawfish, cream cheese, and jalapeño.  The Conroe roll is another favorite with salmon, tuna, and spicy mayo.  They have everything Japanese here.  The tempura is legit and they have udon and rice specialties as well as hibachi and robota grill items.  Going for lunch?  They have some great lunch sushi and sashimi specials as well as Bento boxes.  This is quickly becoming my favorite place for some excellent sushi and tempura veggies after a long day of golf!  Great fresh sushi is always my idea of heaven.

Community Restaurants

Grotto Ristorante

Image Source: http://www.grottorestaurants.com/

I recently visited Grotto with a friend and was pleasantly surprised at this chain’s quality of food and service. This Italian restaurant has impressed me during all of my recent visits. We’ve had excellent service every time, and each time a manager has checked in to make sure all was excellent. I’ve tried many items on the broad menu and they have all been excellent. I’ve developed a kind of addiction to the meatballs. This is not something I would normally order, but did so on a whim. They are so fresh, tender, and tasty. For that reason, one of my favorites has become the Rigatoni Della Sansoni with meatballs and meat sauce. It has the double whammy of meat sauce and meat balls! The linguini pescatore is another favorite with its abundance of seafood in a tomato sauce. Hands down, my favorite appetizer is the calamari. It is always cooked perfectly and served piping hot. The pear carpaccio salad is a great salad with its pears, spinach, and gorgonzola cheese. The roasted cauliflower salad on the Happy Hour menu is fantastic and healthy! They really do a great job with seafood here – cooking it lightly so that it tastes fresh and full of flavor. The baby salmon ‘Becca” is great with the pinot grigio sauce and Grilled shrimp. The servings here are huge so you always have lunch the next day. It’s a good thing to save room for dessert. They wheel over a massive desert cart (wasn’t this a thing in the 1980s?) with mountainous sized cakes and pies. Each piece will feed a large family. What a fun way to split dessert!

Community Restaurants

Willie’s Grill and Ice House

Image Source: https://williesgrillandicehouse.com/location-page/the-woodlands/

Willie’s is one of my favorite places for large groups where it is easy to do separate checks and everyone can get whatever they want from a variety of options.  It is a relaxing fun place. Willie’s is very family friendly and has a large patio space perfect for sunny days.  Their menu is huge and has everything anyone could want. I’m kind of addicted to their fried pickles.  They are always a crowd pleaser. There are a ton of huge salads on their menu and my favorites are the Asian Chopped Salad and the Mediterranean Salad.  The Asian salad has greens, chicken, cashews, oranges and huge wantons in a tangy ginger dressing.  The Mediterranean salad has greens, bell peppers, cranberries, pears, walnuts, and Gorgonzola cheese.  You can add chicken to that to make it very filling.  During craw-fish season, this is is always a great place for boiled craw-fish and a cold beer.  They have about a half dozen burgers on the menu including a black N Bleu burger, a turkey burger and an awesome hickory cheddar burger.  Willie’s also has a fair number of sandwiches and poboys.  I love the fried shrimp poboy and the fried craw-fish poboy.  The pulled pork sandwich is also a favorite, but only if I’m not getting a pulled pork topped baked potato.  When I’m in the mood for fried or grilled catfish, Willie’s again satisfies.  You want chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, ribs, or tacos?  Willie’s has those items too. It is a great place to kick back and drink a beer, margarita or their famous Frozen Jack and Coke.  Yes, they have frozen Jack and Coke and frozen adult lawn chair lemonade.  The kids can get a regular frozen lemonade to go with their grilled cheese, corn dog, or mac n cheese.  Like I said, they have something for everyone at Willie’s and everyone leaves happy.

Community Restaurants

The Hub

Image Source: http://thehubrestaurantandbar.com/

Creekside Forest is becoming the new hot spot for restaurants, stores, and new building activity.  One of the latest new restaurants is The Hub.  Every time I’ve been recently it has been full of young families and couples on date night.  They attract a crowd on weekends listening to live music in the dining room and enjoying their amazing specials.  You cannot beat the price on their specials anywhere else in The Woodlands. The menu is diverse and eclectic.  Anyone can find something to eat on this menu.  I love the selection of small plates.  The buffalo cauliflower is one of my all-time favorites.  It is amazing!  It is perfectly spiced and very healthy.  I also love the cheeseburger egg rolls.  They are hearty and filling and great for sharing.  The crab cakes offer an excellent traditional starter.  While they have many salads, flat beads, and sandwiches to choose from, I love their burgers.  Their classic is just perfect, and their other burgers are interesting and excellent too.  The Holy Shiitake Burger has shiitake with crispy onions, greens, and cheese.  The Turkey burger has cranberry compote and goat cheese. The Bistro burger has grilled apple, brie, smoked blue cheese, roasted tomatoes, and artisan greens. It is an amazing group of flavors.  The entrees are some of the best priced entrees in The Woodlands. They come with a small side salad.  The Chicken Sabine has boneless chicken breast, basil, capers, tomatoes, lemon-butter sauce, grilled asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes.  It’s a full meal deal.  The steaks are excellent and the house special ravioli will please any pasta lover. I highly recommend heading over for the nice singer on Friday and Saturday nights.  it makes a great atmosphere for a relaxing weekend dinner.

 

Community Restaurants

Amerigo’s Grille

Image Source: http://amerigos.com/

Amerigo’s Grille has been in The Woodlands over 30 years.  A young acquaintance recommended it recently and I was surprised that a young hip person would know about it.  I was more surprised on my first visit that it was full of young people!  It has fast become one of my new ‘old’ favorites.  I love the bar area.  The bartenders are great and give exceptional yet relaxed service. The Happy Hour menu has an amazing charcuterie board — one of the best in the area.  My favorite on the HH menu is a tasty toasted ravioli dish that is hearty and delicious.  I know bread is often overlooked at restaurants, but their olive oil with seasonings is the perfect accompaniment to their warm crusty bread. I can’t stop eating it.  Shrimp panko and ahi tuna round out an impressive meal-worthy list of hearty Happy Hour snacks.  The dinner menu has all the items an Italian or fine dining establishment should have.  Pasta, steaks, veal, seafood, and primo vegetables are well represented. I had lamb as a recent off-the-menu special and it was exquisite.  Cooked perfectly and encrusted with rosemary, it was earthy and fresh and as good as I’ve ever had.  I never met a noodle I didn’t like, so the capellini with crawfish with shrimp and roasted garlic is a favorite.  If I’m feeling more adventurous, I go for the spaghetti nero which has squid ink pasta with rock shrimp.  The salmon is always excellent as is the cioppino.  The veal dishes are tender and rich, evoking old world fine dining. The servings are filling and generous but I recommend saving room for dessert and a lemoncella.  The amaretto cheesecake is amazing!  It is decadent and I am afraid I’m addicted.