Frank's Americana Revival: Classic American Food Has Never Tasted Better
Chef Albert Estrada, who'd been the executive chef at Frank's Chop House, opted to stay on, and they forged ahead. Together with Shine's son, who works as sous chef under Estrada, they tweaked old recipes to make them better. They improved the sourcing of their produce and put an emphasis on local products, and added USDA prime beef. They removed some dishes from the menu, such as a pasta bolognese, and put in their place new dishes, like chunky meat and tomato pasta sugo rosa. Old dishes became better, like the chicken fried steak, a signature of Frank's Chop House.
New dishes slowly emerged, such as grillades and grits, pan-seared creole snapper, grilled yellowfin tuna, and pan-roasted chicken. The restaurant's menu now includes fewer than half the dishes that came from the kitchen of Frank's Chop House, and it is much less steak-heavy.
There is nothing cutting-edge about this menu. The objective was to make everything you order taste great. So that something as traditional and staid as a potatoes Lyonnaise side dish becomes the one thing I can't stop talking about. So that the gumbo, which I normally don't like, becomes my go-to soup. So that a simple avocado and tomato salad with its cumin-lime vinaigrette is so good that I order it again in a follow-up visit. Even the wine list, which was put together by Shine's son and partner, Chris, is extremely well curated, offering a wide variety at very reasonable prices.
"It's our interpretation of all the great menu items that we've eaten across America," says Shine. In a landscape as diverse as Houston's, there's always room for honest-to-goodness old-fashioned American food, and on that, Frank's definitely delivers.