Finally Discovering Down House

Categories: Local Spotlight

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Minh T. Truong
Kimchi Burger
My first time at Down House was on a blind date. He lived in the Heights and I had never been so it seemed perfect. Sometimes there's just a connection, an instant attraction, a chemistry you can't deny. And that's how I felt...about Down House. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the date but Down House where have you been all my life?

I've more than made up for the lost time. I've had brunch there three weekends in a row since that fateful date and each time I found I enjoyed it even more than the last.They open early and close late so you could stay all day. Linger over a cup of coffee, stick around for lunch and finish the night with cocktails. It's all in the little details, the periodic table of elements on the wall, your receipt stuck inside a book -- usually something along the lines of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The service is friendly, I've had a different server each time and each one of them made me feel as if I were just a welcome guest in their home. But what would any of that matter if the food weren't solid. And Down House delivers there as well.

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Minh T. Truong
Chicken and Waffles
The taco plate is perfect for brunch ($10). Two tacos of your choice served with home fries or black beans. The applewood smoked bacon and egg taco with Cabot cheddar is my favorite, a straightforward classic made excellent by the thick cuts of bacon and sharp, slightly pungent cheddar.

The kim chi burger ($15 at dinner) available all day is worth a trip on its own. A perfectly-cooked-to-your-preference, in my case medium rare, patty is served on a Slow Dough Challah bun and comes with house kim chi, that same Cabot cheddar, a sunny-side up egg, house mayo and bulgogi sauce. If you think it sounds messy, you'd be right but as you bite into it and the juice from the patty mixes with the yolk and sauce and the mayo and it oozes onto your hands, you won't even reach for a napkin, opting instead to lick up whatever you can.

For another Asian-inspired dish try the shrimp and grits ($15), wild caught Gulf shrimp, applewood smoked bacon, Anson Mills grits, cilantro and scallions all come served in a shallow bowl topped with the pho broth. It's rich and flavorful but not so much as to weigh down any one ingredient.

The true sign of a good restaurant to me is if I recommend it to friends. If I think they should try a particular place when there are so many great joints in our city, then you know I think it's something special. On one occasion I took some friends that had never been. They immediately liked the decor, they enjoyed the fresh squeezed orange juice ($3) and the spicy bloody mary ($5); things seems to be going well. When our food took far too long and my friends were starting to wonder what I saw in the place, I thought maybe my love affair with Down House was going to be a quick one, but the manager came by, apologized genuinely and offered a complementary dessert. Now even my friends approve. This could be love.

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Down House

1801 Yale, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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38 comments
Steven Perry
Steven Perry

In local news: individuals find out they do, in fact, prefer different things for different reasons and that no consensus will be established. ever.

Jorge Hurtado
Jorge Hurtado

Been there twice for brunch, good menu and had no trouble with the waitstaff, cool place haha

Adrienne Byard
Adrienne Byard

Are smudgy, poorly-lit cell phone photos necessary?

T.j. Dubz
T.j. Dubz

I think it's hilarious how contradictory all of the comments are. Some say the staff is fantastic - others say terrible. Some say the food is amazing - others say it's nothing special. Some say it is reasonably priced - others say it's expensive. Some saying it's a hipster spot - others calling it a family restaurant. I'm just waiting for somebody to claim it's a steak house while somebody else claims it's a vegan restaurant.

Greg Barker
Greg Barker

No idea about the negative review below. The rye old fashioned and all the cocktails, the burgers, the best fries, the only wings I've had that I love, the atmosphere, the service... If MTI was across the street, I would live in the middle of the street.

Zaid Ghassan Talhouni
Zaid Ghassan Talhouni

Good food, good drinks, can't say the same about the attitude of the bar staff.

Nicole Bean
Nicole Bean

Over rated! I don't care about heirloom tomatoes or even know what's so great about anson mills grits? Been twice.. That was enough! And the hostess was less than both times:/

bttrflyty68
bttrflyty68

I have gone twice - brunch and dinner both times I experienced poor service and food that I wouldn't call better than decent. During one of my visits I asked for ranch dressing (I like it with fries) and the server said, "we don't have that here, ever." I was also kind of baffled by the chicken leg that garnished my bloody mary. 

HRMS3M
HRMS3M

Downhouse was amazing when it first opened.  Then the chef left unexpectedly and the owners had to scramble to keep the kitchen running.  For several months, Downhouse was pretty bad.  And then there was the twitter-gate incident.  But more recently the sous chef from Feast took over the kitchen.  Now, it is an absolute treat.  The food is outstanding and the drinks are excellent.

And if you think that it is a hipster place, go back to the burbs and enjoy TGI Fridays.  Downhouse is full of families, young and very unhipster couples and plenty of folks who have grandchildren.  The whole Heights=hipster thing is so tired and old. 

CamByars
CamByars

I checked out Downhouse right when it opened and did not like it at all. I had a bimbo hostess and waitress that didn't know squat about the menu, as well as sub par mussels. However, I've been 3 times in the last 2 months and have LOVED it. The food is excellent and I feel that all staff is passionate about the food and cocktails. I am a huge fan now.

SG123456
SG123456

I live down the street, seems like a nice place, just not my kinda crowd or food... If you aren't a hipster or training to be one, it seems tough to fit in. I do like the decor of the place, always has people in it, so to each his own.

Schitt.Rumpney
Schitt.Rumpney

Pic at the top looks like a  huge skoop of vanilla and pineapple ice-cream smothering Cinnamon crisp sticks!! hmmmm I'm on my way!

gdddddrr
gdddddrr

"... It's all in the little details, the periodic table of elements on the wall, your receipt stuck inside a book -- usually something along the lines of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species..."

translation:  if you're a hipster who doesn't actually live in the Heights, but invades our neighborhood on the weekends, you'll love this place. If you do happen to live nearby, you know this place is a bunch of overrated, overwrought nonsense. "Competition grade" coffee? Give me a fucking break.

Rebecca Beckwith
Rebecca Beckwith

That's just too funny, I've just recently noticed Down House as I passed by and asked a friend about it just yesterday. Your review is timely and I'll be checking it out.

Luis Amora
Luis Amora

I enjoyed it, didn't find it expensive I mean as compared to where? One thing though I hate places that say they use fresh squeezed oj and give me carton stuff.. not good.. but I liked everything else..

louamora93
louamora93

I liked the place, been there twice. The hostess was a little wierd, by that mean I had asked for a table that sat 4 but got one that only 2 should fit. When asked for another table got the "I guess" attitude. Second time no problems. Oh the orange juice is fresh squeezed unless its squeezed into plastic containers then sealed up for later. . But will be back just dont know when..

Leslie Krafka
Leslie Krafka

I must concur. I was underwhelmed by the poor service and so-so food that left only a memorable dent in my wallet. You can skip it.

Ana Cordova
Ana Cordova

Ugh, sooooo over down house. Overpriced, overhyped, and not very good

weslinder
weslinder

Easily the worst restaurant in the Heights. Overpriced food that's a complete crapshoot for quality, terrible service, and bad drinks that seem interesting but are put together without any artistry. Down House is kind of pretentious but bad place that identifies its patrons as tasteless.

chris.higham
chris.higham

Waited over 2 hours for our table,which we had booked.When the food finally arrived,it was tepid at best.Manager explained it was "a perfect storm ",whatever that means.Sent the Scotch egg back,to get one that was hot,and was told it was the last one.Not the greatest experience of my life....sad because the food LOOKED good !

Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson

The most solid and consistent eatery and drinkers in the heights. Hands down.

JP03
JP03

Food and service here redefine inconsistency. Lauren nails the service aspect on the head. My wife and I are overly nice to restaurant staff being as I was in the industry for a many years and still get the IDGAF attitude. Unless you catch a good server in a good mood, then things will be OK. The food is always just average with the occasional spot of brilliance. I do love the atmosphere, and the drinks are usually very good. Unfortunately after our 20th or so visit we have completely divorced from DH and won't be returning.

lauren.m.covington
lauren.m.covington

I've been there three times and have had bad service. It wasn't even the we're so busy, bear with us while we get everything in order" kind of thing. It was more like, "you may be one of the few people in here but it's totally part of our hipster persona to pretend you're not there, and we'll casually check on you but not make eye contact or give you an update on your food and drinks that are taking forever to come out."

Melissa Gonzales Williford
Melissa Gonzales Williford

I must have been there on a bad day because my experience was not good and I felt the food was mediocre (at best) compared to Houston cuisine.

Jeff Eckhardt
Jeff Eckhardt

Everyone must try this place. You will not be disappointed.

mt623
mt623

I also heard the same about when it first opened -- so maybe it was a good thing I didn't discover until now.

carriebwc
carriebwc

I had such horrendous service and average food when the place first opened, I haven't been able to bring myself to go back.  It was that bad.  Maybe it is time to give the place a second chance.

CamByars
CamByars

@HRMS3M SO sick of the hipster comments as well! I don't feel that way at all about this place.

CamByars
CamByars

@SG123456 My engineer boyfriend lives nearby and loves the place... and he is no hipster. I'd check it out if I were you!

Schitt.Rumpney
Schitt.Rumpney

@louamora93 TELL me you left a tip.... TELL me!   how hard is it to know the difference between a table for two and a table for four... she sounds too lazy to work.

mt623
mt623

i just realized I had a photo of the chicken and waffles instead of the shrimp and grits. The chicken and waffles are pretty awesome too. the chicken is perfectly crisp with a sweet honey glaze -- the waffle was not too sweet helping to balance the dish. it's no breakfast klub but definitely good.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

I love counter balance comments. It sounds good to me too, though.

louamora93
louamora93

I always tip.. been in the service industry for years. Our waitress was very pleasant. Im not a needy person when I go out but I do require the basics and she was on top of everything.. but yea the first table was one of those 1 foot by 2 foot tables. . Geez

chris.higham
chris.higham

@rachel.durfor @chris.higham Good point.They originally told us 30 minutes,then another 30 mins etc.It was a Friday night,so we were screwed if we wanted to go elsewhere,so just kept on being put back,30 minutes at a time.

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