Community Bar Food
Just above the bar at newish Midtown watering hole called Community Bar is a chalkboard with various drink specials, as well as the words "Food served." I was intrigued yet doubtful. Bar food in Houston is definitely a hit-or-miss affair (mainly misses in the form of Velveeta nachos or frozen pizza).
Photos by J.C. Reid
But I had heard good things about this place, so I asked the bartender for a menu. "That may be a problem," he replied. I expected to hear one of the usual excuses -- city had turned the water off due to construction so kitchen closed -- but his reply was definitely one I had not heard before: "We don't have a menu, I just cook whatever I want."
The bartender/chef is Bob Covington, a long-time veteran of Houston's food and nightlife scene. "Chef Bob" got his start working with the likes of Robert Del Grande and moved on to many of Houston's best known bars and restaurants -- Etro Lounge, Farrago, Sierra Grill, Tasca, to name a few.
On a recent Wednesday night, a friend and I told Chef Bob to set us up with a three-course dinner of whatever he wanted. Over the next two hours and in between many cocktails, we sampled some of the best bar food being served in Houston (description and pictures below).
At the end of the dinner, stuffed and satisfied, we thanked Chef Bob and paid a very reasonable bill. He insisted we come back in the next few weeks, when he promised to have a traditional printed menu. We said we'd definitely be back but would probably skip the printed menu and have him whip up whatever he feels like.
Crispy spring rolls with grilled pork, goat cheese, cream cheese, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and roasted red pepper with a honey-based dipping sauce. Grilled and sliced New York strip with a Port wine reduction and garlic pepper mashed potatoes. "Thai Ravioli" with a chicken, ginger, leek, and shallot filling in a green curry and coconut reduction.