Friday, October 14, 2011

Cypress Station Grill

We were arguing. What should we do for dinner? We both wanted to go to The Shack, but we basically go there weekly and there was a general feeling it was about time we tried something different. So we might have taken a little sabbatical, and we may go right back on it as soon as this review is up, but the time has come for another burger to join the ranks. This time we visited Cypress Station Grill. It's a family style restaurant that is, as you might have guessed, in Cypress. At 26010 Hempstead Road to be precise. Let's get started.

The restaurant carries your most basic American food menu. Burgers, steaks (chicken fried optional), chicken breasts covered in about 6 different sauce options and then they throw a few pastas into the mix. Nothing too special.

While we don't have a whole lot to absolutely gush about, the first thing that went absolutely, 100% right was that we walked in the place, were sat down and were immediately offered $1.50 Shiner Bock or Miller Lite drafts. Sadly, that makes up their entire draft beer selection, but when the Shiner is that cheap, you're still starting out right. They also serve it so cold that it starts to ice up at the table. Fantastic! That price isn't available all of the time, but it is their happy hour special on EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY!! The only other place that I know of in Cypress where you can get a decent beer like that for that price is Ziegenbock at one of my favorite local bars -- and they don't have food.

The burger menu is made up of all of the standards. Then you can tell that with the ingredients they had lying around the kitchen they also threw together a few that were a little different. This included the one that I ordered, the Pesto Burger, which borrowed a sauce from their pastas. The other burger that we decided to have rolled out of the kitchen? You can't go wrong with barbecue sauce and onion rings. Available side dishes? French fries or sweet potato fries for $.99 extra. They have a range of other side dishes available on their menu, I'm willing to bet that you can substitute mashed potatos, fried okra, etc but we have principles. Burgers are meant to be served by themselves or with fried potato products.

We tasted two of their appetizers while we were here. The fried pickles and the fried mushrooms. Both were nothing short of great. The mushrooms are big. Like cut it up with a knife into 4 big bites big. They aren't in your usual batter either, instead they are breaded and then covered in Parmesan cheese and served up with ranch so you can get those mushrooms SCUBA-certified. The pickles aren't the best we've ever had but they're definitely up there. It's a standard batter but they cut them up real thick. Most restaurants put pickle chips in that are so thin that there is barely a pickle left when they come out of the fryer and you're basically eating discs of batter. Not at Cypress Station. Fat, meaty, delicious fried pickles!!

But then there's the burgers. I'm not spending a lot of time in this review writing about them because there isn't that much to write about. Despite having some very tasty sounding options on the menu, they were really nothing special. We don't want to sound too critical, because they are definitely not bad in any way, but there just isn't anything special or unique happening here either. The bun tasted no better than what you get from H-E-B's store brand, the meat was cooked right and had some juice going but it really didn't have any great spice or flavor to it and then all that was left to do was add toppings. I ate it. I'd eat it again. I'd dream of being at Whataburger instead. I'd probably ask that they at least toast the bun a little though with some oil. Anything to inject a little character into this thing. Actually, next time I go, I'll be ordering a chicken fried steak and a $1.50 Shiner.

Back to the fried potato "products" - that's exactly what the fries at Cypress Station are. Even the sweet potato fries, which cost extra, seem like they are just dumped out of a bag they had in the freezer. They could have easily come from Costco. Compliments? They do fry the hell out of them, so they are nice and crispy. Other than that? Not so great. HOWEVER -- the absolute highlight of the entire dining experience involved the sweet potato fries. As lame as they are by themselves, Cypress Station Grill gives you a cup of honey for dipping them in. This is a gamechanger. We'd never even thought about it before, but the second that we realized we had cups of honey and sweet potato fries we knew what was happening. Holy sh*t. You don't even need to bother with the dessert menu. You want sweet potato fries slathered in honey. You want them more than any other food they serve at the restaurant. You want them right now. I'll never be able to eat sweet potato fries again and not be pining for a squeeze bottle of honey. Bravo, Cypress Station, bravo!!

So, this place definitely doesn't make our top three. I can't shake the feeling that I was in a Chili's or a Black Eyed Pea with just a little more class, and we both agree that it doesn't hold up to some of the other amazing burgers that you can find around town, but it's a nice little spot that's worth checking out if you want to try something different, just don't expect the world.

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