Category: American, Mexican, Cajun
Price Range: 10-15$ per person.
Area: Katy/West Houston
Phone Number: 281-578-8785
Texas Borders, from the outside, looks like just a shack in a parking lot, but inside is similar to any other Sport’s Bar and Grill. That’s to say, the inside is a lot cleaner than the outside looks, so don’t be concerned about the deceiving exterior.
The food is described exactly as the name implies. It encompasses all of the food you’d find in places around Texas: Gumbo and seafood from New Orleans, Tex-Mex favorites from south of the border, and good old fashioned American grill & bar food.
We had Jo’s Spicy Gumbo, the Chicken Fried Chicken, the Chicken-N-Friends Sandwich., and the Mushroom Burger with a side of Onion Rings.
The first reaction after ordering our food was that it took a REALLY long time for our food to arrive. Eventually, the head chef came out personally to apologize, offering the explanation that they had a new kitchen staff that had burned the chicken fried chicken. We definitely appreciated the personal apology, and he brought us some free Gumbo to atone. We’re glad he did, because the Gumbo was outstanding! It was made with Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp. It had a very nice spice to it, unlike many places where it seems like they make the food spicy for the sake of being spicy. It also wasn’t too salty, as Cajun food often is.
About 15 minutes later, our real dinners finally came out, with another apology from the chef. The Onion Rings were delicious and certainly lived up to their billing by the Houston Chronicle as “The Best in Town.” They weren’t slimy where the breading just comes right off, which is nice, so you get breading and onion in each bite. The French Fries were also delicious, with a seasoned batter that put them way above your standard fries.
The Mushroom burger was fairly good, but nothing out of the ordinary for this type of place. Probably overpriced at 9$, with some of their burgers being as high as 10$. The Chicken Fried Chicken was still slightly overdone, but on other trips it has been perfect and delicious, so once the alleged new kitchen staff catches on, we expect it to be better. It was also a huge piece of chicken, and was good for leftovers.
The best entree was definitely the Chicken-N-Friends Sandwich. It’s a giant chicken sandwich covered in Ham, BBQ sauce, Monterrey Jack Cheese, Bacon, and Mustard. It’s a meal and a half even without the side of fries, and is an excellent combination. It was as if they took a barbeque chicken sandwich and combined it with a ham and cheese sandwich, and they went perfectly together. It’s a prime example of the whole being better than the sum-of-the-parts. It’s also something that I might try making at home some time.
The atmosphere was certainly lively. Unfortunately, to get to the restaurant part of the building, you have to walk through the dark, smoky bar at the front, which at all hours seems to be overloaded with drunk middle-aged middle-managers that hoot and holler at everyone that comes in. Once you get to the back, however, it is definitely very open and bright, and has 2 balconies outside for eating. The bar patrons do tend to stay tucked away at the front of the place, and so aren’t usually much of a disturbance. One of the patios has a huge playground area for the kids, so once you get them through the bar area, it’s a kid friendly restaurant.
Texas Border's has live music usually 3 times a week (See schedule here) and they're usually alright for a restaurant band. They have a good time, which is all that counts.
The wait staff was very friendly, however on at least two occasions there, we’ve seen the same bartender come out and ream the waitresses in plain view of the eaters. While it was unclear exactly what he was talking about, our service was great before he did it, and afterwards the waitresses were clearly shaken and our level of service plummeted. I’m not sure what he could’ve possibly been upset about, but whatever it was, he obviously wasn’t helping with his actions. We feel as though this bartender needs to stay in the front and leave the waiters to their jobs.
Overall, we give Texas Borders a 7 out of 10.
Positives: Excellent fries and onion rings, playground for the kids, friendly wait staff, Chicken-N-Friends sandwich is delicious, great gumbo.
Negatives: Overpriced burgers, obnoxious bar patrons at the front of restaurant, issues with cooking of chicken fried chicken.