Remembering the great dinner I had at another location, I was delighted to discover a Houston's during a recent visit to Bethesda. Other than the dark wood shutters, this location bears little resemblance to that other one. We reserved for 7, arrived on time, only to be told we'd have to wait for 15 minutes! We were told this was their custom. So we hung around the jazz trio...the bar was too crowded, only to be called for our table immediately! What's that about? We were taken far away from the music, past numerous empty tables for two, to the farthest side, where several families with small, very active children and a crying baby were ensconced. I have nothing against family dining and think its a smart move for a large establishment to set aside an area for it, but then why would you deliberately seat an older, well-dressed couple amidst the chaos when there are more suitable alternatives?
The food came fast and furious...we shared a Caesar salad and dinner of ribs. Neither were split for us but, instead, an empty plate was plunked down in front of my husband each time and we had to divvy it up without any serving pieces. At several other places in the area, our shared food was plated for us and we were offered extra veggies for a small charge.
All hell was breaking loose in the booth next to us where two young mothers tried, in vain, to cope with five yelling kiddies while their husbands sat in a booth behind us, enjoying themselves. Occasionally, the youngsters ran over to their dads in the way of the servers. Very exciting floor show.
Very noisy. Couldn't hear the jazz band at all!
As for the food....salad was drenched in dressing, lettuce limp and warm, croutons soggy. The ribs were just ok, not as good as the other location, and kind of skimpy. The fries were cold and thrown over part of the coleslaw. Not great.
We were very disappointed, to say the least. We skipped dessert and coffee just to get out of there.
When I mentioned the seating issue, the hostess apologized in an indignant tone and clearly insinuated that it was my own fault for not insisting on a change. I told her we had already ordered by the time I realized the problem and our waiter was conscientious, I didn't want to make a fuss. "I apologized!" she announced. Real amateurish.
It's interesting that they were keeping so many people waiting in line, outside in the heat, even though they had free tables. Strange policy.