A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood at Petrol Station

Lamb Burger at Petrol Station.JPG
Is it just me, or is Petrol Station Oak Forest's best kept secret?

A confluence of events revolving around unruly children, the need for beer, and a chance Twitter conversation landed me at the converted service station on a recent Sunday night. Nestled between houses on a quiet residential street, Petrol Station looks more like an utterly unpretentious neighborhood joint than a hangout for beer geeks. Fortunately, it's a bit of both, and has some damn decent food, as well.

My wife retired to the spacious patio, kids in tow, while I arranged for some burgers and brews. The tap wall at Petrol isn't huge, but it is populated by selections that don't show up at many beer joints around town. As Deryck Whibley would say, it's all killer, no filler. I struck up a conversation with one of the friendly and informative gents behind the L-shaped bar, and talked through a few recommendations.

When I noticed Left Hand Milk Stout on tap, I knew that one was a given. My wife and I have fallen in love with this smooth, creamy, full flavored stout. Plus, it was on a nitro tap, rendering it luxurious in texture, almost like a milkshake. Nitro taps occasionally dial beers back a bit too much for my liking, muting the flavor and stretching it out through the glass. The creaming effect simply served to amplify everything that's great about this beer, though, almost forcing you to revel in its many subtleties.

Number two ended up being a bit of a wild-card suggestion, in the form of Flying Dog Brewery's 20th anniversary beer, Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA. I won't go into much detail here, as I've got a sixer of the bitch in my fridge right now, with Brew Blog written all over it.

With the important decisions out of the way, we moved on to the food menu. I went with Mary's Lamb Burger, despite its disconcerting stab at menu cuteness, while my kids selected pint-size Petrol Burgers off the kids menu (that's right, a craft beer bar with a freaking kids menu) and convinced the kitchen to top each with a fried egg. I have smart kids. My wife ordered shepherd's pie.

The kids' burgers were perfectly cooked to a nicely juicy medium, and full of beefy flavor. Their diminutive size made the beef-to-yolk ratio something like 2-1, resulting in an insanely messy but extremely rich burger experience that made me wonder why topping sliders with fried eggs hasn't exploded, yet.

My lamb burger was cooked to the requested medium rare, something I find harder and harder to convince restaurants to actually do (and I'm not alone). The lamb flavor was a bit muted, but added a subtly gamy bite to the burger. Sauced with a tzatziki-like yogurt and topped with tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese, the burger tasted like a pub-grub version of a gyro, and it was delicious. The tang of the yogurt, richness of the meat, and fresh accent of the cucumber played perfectly, and went extremely well with the mix of sweet and bitter offered in my beer selection. My wife's shepherd's pie was serviceable but underwhelming.

Petrol Station impressed with its combination of great beer, good food, and an atmosphere so laid-back and welcoming, it felt a lot like having dinner in an extension of our own backyard. I just wish my backyard had a nitro tap.

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The Petrol Station

985 Wakefield, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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17 comments
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Happier
Happier

I've had the dark fries. I don't know what they do to them but they're not burnt. They taste like the fries my grandma would make in a stockpot because we never had a fryer and I think they're awesome because of it.

No, Petrol is hardly a secret anymore. That's why the regulars can hardly wait for Hay Merchant to open so that all the craft brew bandwagon posers can go away.

Justin Klien
Justin Klien

OMG!!! some one wrote about a restaurant outside the loop! Petrol has great beer, mediocore food, the fries look awfull, I live in the loop and go there for my fri night brewskis, then on my way home i go a little further out the loop to Little Bitty Burger Barn for my friday night fix, I get the 1/2# cowboy Burger w/fresh cut fries and a dozen of the thai chile wings, the best wings I have ever had, then its on home to the inner loop to graze, with a full belly of grat beer and food, thanks Justin

TJ
TJ

Secret? Hardly... who doesn't know about The Petrol Station. Regardless, I'm staying in my neighborhood and leaving this one to those who live in OF/FO.

ec
ec

The burger and fries don't look appeatizing to me. The burger looks soggy and the fries seems to be burned.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I've enjoyed that burger myself and it's wonderful. The fries in that photo, however, do give pause.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

The fries were a bit dark. The burger, however, was very good. Go forthe beer, give the burger a spin, and judge for yourself.

Bruce R
Bruce R

We might disagree on the meaning of the word huge. Petrol added a crap-ton of taps a month or so ago. And IMO the Shepherd's Pie is pretty darn good.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Bruce, would you really consider the tap wall "huge?" There are plenty of taps, but by "not huge," I mean in comparison to beer emporia like Flying Saucer, and other such spots whose selection can legitimately be described as huge. You know, places with 100 taps. As far as the Shepherd's Pie is concerned, it was fine, just nothing to write home about. The burgers were FAR superior.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Maybe my definition of huge is non-standard. Petrol Station now has something like 30 taps? But almost every tap has a good beer in good condition. Compare that to say the G-Man, that has more taps but fewer interesting ones and some beers in subprime condition.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

No disagreement on the quality assessment. Your last statement is more or less the point I was making. All killer, no filler.

Dave Foong
Dave Foong

I knew the Petrol Station was the place to be when I saw a guy from the beer brewing store there on my first visit.

Not a wide beer selection but they're all very good quality brews, which matters more in my book. Add to that the monster sized yet delicious burgers and you have a winner.

Now, if only I can keep this to cool kids.

Merica Rulz
Merica Rulz

Yes it is you. Petrol hasn't been a secret for about 2 years now. Go there on a Thursday thru Saturday night. The place is packed.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Yeah, I'd kind of figured that out, actually. It felt a lot like stumbling onto a secret when we went, though. I'd rather be late to the party than not show up.

Kelli
Kelli

Petrol has long been a favorite of mine. The Petrol Burger is easily the best in the inner loop and next time you should definitely try the wings, best wings I have had so far. The beers are always revolving so even if you find one you like one week, there are several new ones to try the next week. I also know they are building a 20 tap system to increase the amount of delicious beers to try. They are always hosting events and when it's warmer they quite often have bands playing in the back. This used to be a well kept secret but as it goes, when something is this good, the word is bound to get out.

Nord
Nord

Petrol burger is good, but it's not in the inner loop.

Kelli
Kelli

Oh well pardon me, it's inner Belt.

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