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“Great mac and cheese!”

Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
Ranked #1,524 of 8,142 Restaurants in Houston
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: American, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Alabama
Transit: HCC/Ensemble Light Rail Stop
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
46 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great mac and cheese!”
Reviewed October 14, 2013

I went to this restaurant for brunch after buying a Groupon. It's a small restaurant but nicely decorated. When checking into Foursquare, I was given a free drink which was awesome (probably not for everyone as it was made with a jalapeno vodka - but I'd go back just for that drink!). The mac and cheese was probably the best I've ever had, very creamy made with several different kinds of cheeses. Also the Scone is a must try....it's infused with lavendar served blackberry perserves and what I thought was cream cheese but I've read that its Creme Fraiche? We also had the bottomless mimosas, i've had better...maybe a bit too much OJ. Entrees were a bit pricey.
There's not much parking, so we had to valet park, but it's complimentary.
Overall, We had a good experience at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Amy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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104 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    44
    27
    21
    4
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
174 reviews
92 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Bloody aweful”
Reviewed September 28, 2013

In a city like Houston where there are literally dozens of excellent restaurants this one simply does not measure up.

We picked this place, as we did with Tafi'a in the past, because its run/owned by Monica Pope a well known and supposedly top Houston chef. I really have to rethink the top chef part as Sparrow simply does not do anything to warrant that distinction as Tafi'a also did not.

To sum it up its expensive, the food is mediocre and the atmosphere is underwhelming. The expensive part is manageable if you actually get something for what you pay, however, when you get food that is on parity with airline food then this is simply not acceptable.

Three of us came here for lunch and it was probably the blandest meal I have had since I left the military. The highlight of the meal was the scone and the Chick Fries, both of which were very good. My only observation is that the scone was served with Creme Fraiche instead of Clotted Cream - not the way I would serve scones but so be it. The Chick Fries were actually pretty good served with a spicy ketchup, incidentally they were also the only decent thing on the Tafi'a menu.

For the main course we ordered the Burger (not my first choice, but they were out of the Chicken Salad), the Bibb Lettuce and Faro Salad and the Spinach & Ham Quiche.
The burger was horrible, dry, no taste whatsoever served with a miniscule amount mini fried onions. What a brilliant business model to buy a cheap grade of minced meat put no spices on it add a cheap bun and some cheese and charge $15 for it. For that I could have had 3 burgers at SmashBurger and not only would the taste be better so would the quality of all the ingredients.

The Bibb Lettuce Salad was a joke. A tiny amount of old looking Bibb lettuce graced with a quarter of a tomato the size of a postage stamp and 4 1/8" slices of celery - I would be embarrassed to serve crappy salad like this and to then charge $10 for it. It looked like something that would have been served on an airline. Actually come to think of it the salad that I was served on United last month was much better. In an effort to be fair I do have to mention that the Buttermilk dressing was really good. But a good dressing on a very mediocre salad still makes it mediocre - sort of like the pig and the lipstick thing.

Quiche looked great and it probably would have tasted great had it not been served cold. One would think that a restaurant with a celebrity chef would at least know how long a Quiche should be heated so that it arrives at the table warm and ready to eat. But I guess the cook was overworked with the 3 other tables in dining room.

I have now tried both Tafi'a and Sparrow and they were both equally bad.
As George Bush once said "fool me once..." unfortunately I did get fooled again and yes, "shame on me". With so many great chefs in Houston, I will not make the same mistake again of going to a celebrity chef's restaurant that is merely resting on her laurels of past accomplishments.

Unless they get their act together, I doubt that it will be long before Sparrow goes the way of the Dodo Bird

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
161 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Forgettable”
Reviewed August 30, 2013

Other than the quality of service from Justin, this dinner was forgettable. To wit, the food was hit-and-miss: the onion soup lacked taste and substance, the advertised seafood "bisque" was a broth, the grouper was okay, and the pork dish had no discernable Korean sauce/flavor as advertised.

Add in loud music and a noisy atmosphere, and we will not be returning. Too many good restaurants in Houston to waste further time and money on this one.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Bill L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great food as always!”
Reviewed August 17, 2013 via mobile

While the service was a little off today the brunch was awesome! I had a tomato salad w the best tomatoes I've had all season, a fabulous omlette w the most perfectly carmelized onions and mushrooms and a biscuit that was light and fluffy inside with a crispy, browned exterior. My grandmother couldn't even compete with them! It was served with local honey that was to die for! The great thing though is that when they realized there was an issue with the service they comped the meal. A sign of truly great restaurant! Dreaming about the biscuits now!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank mindyltl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
316 reviews
204 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 263 helpful votes
“Good but not great”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

We went to Sparrow last Saturday night with a party of six people. The person who selected the restaurant was excited to let us know that it was a "Monica Pope." We admitted that we were not familiar with Monica Pope and therefore had no particular expectations.

We gave it three stars because of tripadvisor's rating system that goes from 3=average to 4=very good. There is a big jump between average and very good, not just one star in my humble opinion. On that scale, this place would be a 3.5.

First, the good stuff.....bar staff was extremely friendly and let us try a number of the rose wines they had before selecting one. Of course, he kind of "had" to do this since they were out of the one we selected. We were told the space had been redone and our fellow diners really liked the new look and feel. The menu had great selection and many interesting choices. There is easy to use valet parking.

We dine out a lot and are willing to pay for a great meal and excellent service. The entrees pretty much come without any sides. Sparrow calls this "the center of the plate." The sides are $8 a piece or 3 for $18. They are large enough to share among 3-4 people. Even though the pricing isn't that much different/higher than other similar places we have gone, it ends up feeling higher priced. The truth is, it gives you a little more flexibility in creating your own meal which is a good thing. The quality of the food is good and in some cases, very good. It is fairly creative but nothing that really made us say "wow!" Our group sampled the chicken, steak, wild boar, scallops and fish and this "good but not great" was the theme of everyone's review.

The service was just not very good. However, they made an attempt at service recovery by giving us some free desserts (nice touch). Our server wasn't friendly and didn't add much other than being an order taker. What is worse is that they served us our selected wine and did not tell us it was the last bottle. A great server would know a table of six would likely order a second bottle and alert them to this fact. Then, they were out of the second wine we chose. So let's sum that up...out of the rose we chose, one bottle of the first red wine left and none of the second red wine that we chose. They must improve their ability to keep wine inventory in line with the menu or update the menu accordingly. We also suggest some additional training for the wait staff. The person we had didn't seem very enthusiastic about the food and added little value.

For some reason, we really want to like this place. We would probably give it another try if we were in the area. We were in town visiting from Austin and this location is 45 minutes from where we were staying. I would not drive 45 minutes just to go to this restaurant again. I probably would not recommend it to friends unless I went back and had a better overall experience.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank austinjjc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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