A last-minute lunch date gave me the opportunity to visit a neighborhood I don’t get to explore that often. Driving along Durham Drive in the Rice Military area I’m struck by just how many restaurants there are here.
From the outside, the Federal American Grill doesn’t look that impressive. The restaurant is situated on a corner lot with a small parking area in the front. There is an outside patio area that I’m sure looks far better in the evening when the decorative lighting is switched on. The main building reminded me of a storage facility. But inside is another story.
Wood paneling and exposed brick walls give a gentleman’s club kind of feel. The restaurant is deceptively large. The L shaped interior has a large bar to one side and a private dining room at the end of the larger dining space. White tablecloths and plenty of lighting offsets all the dark furnishings. Tables are spaced well and there are booths and banquette seating options. The walls are filled with an eclectic mix of photo frames depicting many previous diners.
“Dress up or dress down. A bourbon or a beer. With a bourbon or a beer, a ribeye or a burger you will begin to have a taste of the Federal experience”. Matt Brice, Founder.
Once seated we began by ordering a bottle of Pinot Gris, although I’m told the Bloody Mary’s are quite excellent. My dining companion is a regular here so asked the waiter for a basket of their house made biscuits. Sadly, on this visit they were not available so Hawaiian rolls had to suffice.
There is a lunch menu, served Monday-Friday from 11am-4pm. From this menu David ordered the croque monsieur (USD 14) and was tempted by a cup of the tortilla soup (USD 7). This turned out to be far more food than he anticipated. The soup was delicious with a thick consistency and peppery kick. The croquet monsieur was filled to overflowing with black forest ham and swimming in melted cheese and mornay sauce.
I chose a classic philly cheesesteak (USD 16). The description said thinly sliced sirloin steak but mine seemed to have large chunks of meat in a mix of Cajun cheddar sauce in a sizeable hoagie bun. A side of fries and bowl of ketchup accompanied the bun.
Our girlfriend ordered the fish and chips. Two large pieces of Shiner Bock beer battered cod, fries, and sauce made for a colorful plate. The fish was deliciously crisp and not at all greasy.
For dessert we decided to share the half-baked chocolate chip cookie (USD 9) and the Bourbon bread pudding (USD 9) plus 3 cups of cappuccino (USD 6 each).
The huge cookie filled a large shallow bowl and came topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream. The smell was divine. The gooey consistency and large chunks of melted chocolate chips were simply yummy. The huge square of bread pudding also came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and on a bed of Jack Daniels sauce. So much food, we needed to be rolled out of the restaurant.
The restaurant was fairly quite with only a couple of other tables occupied during our visit. Everyone we met from the initial greeter to our server were all very friendly and attentive without making us feel at all rushed. The restaurant offers a weekday happy hour with a cocktail companions’ menu that looks very tempting. There is also an excellent brunch option on weekends so I have a few reasons to return to try more.
Address: 510 Shepherd Drive, Houston TX 77007
Phone: 713 863 7777
Hours: Main Dining: Lunch & Dinner Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri 11-11pm. Sat 4pm-11pm, Sun 3pm-9pm Brunch Sat 11am-3pm, Sun 10am-3pm
Other Info: Private Dining Room, Personalized Menus, Corporate Events
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