Once upon a time in Shady Acres, where 18th and 19th streets fork away, there sat a forlorn, decaying Chinese restaurant. Who knows if the food was any good? Who remembers what it was named? I never tried it and no one I know had either.
After the restaurant sat closed for over a year, someone saw the potential for the space (aka tearing it down) and building bigger. Isn’t that the Houston way? Soon hordes of hungry Heights’ers could enjoy a beer and some comfort food without breaking the bank.
Today we have Preslee’s Southern Good Eatery, an instantly popular home-style bar and grill. Make that bar and fryers. A lot of what’s on the menu is nicely breaded and fried for your crunching pleasure.
Consider the humorous My Girlfriend’s Not Hungry basket. It’s an appetizer trio of waffle fries, onion rings and fried pickles. The fries are cut in the kitchen and fried with a sweetness (pancake batter?) that’s awesome.
Onion rings feature a sand-like breading — again, a good thing. And hamburger dill chips are fried ever so quickly so the pickles retain their crispness.
And hallelujah! Preslee’s believes in the healing power of ketchup and spicy Ranch dressing so they bring you gallons of it.
Accompanying that for me was the Hangover Burger. Was I hung over on this Saturday afternoon visit? I can’t remember. But this burger had everything I wanted. A squishy bun, beefy tasting beef, avocado and bacon. It also comes with a fried egg, but I nixed it. Fried eggs have no place on a burger or anything else except on a plate at breakfast.
It was delicious. Biting down into the supple thickness revealed all the flavors separately and yet together. It took me some time to finish it, and that’s another good thing.
My finicky friend ordered the Mardi Gras Pasta. It was a great presentation, with shrimp, sausage and pasta all coming together in a spicy Alfredo sauce. But my friend does not read menus carefully and does not like spice. True enough, on a scale of 1 to 5, this dish earns a solid four flames.
He ordered the Caesar salad as a replacement. Not much to distinguish it from other Caesar salads in Houston, but it was a big, fresh portion with plenty left to take home. (This was also the first time in memory that a wedge salad was on the menu and I didn’t order it.)
But here’s the thing. Is Presley’s what this neighborhood needs?
After all, Cedar Creek’s still going strong a couple of blocks away. Same concept, similar menu, at the same or a slightly higher price point than Preslee’s. The food is good at Preslee’s, but it’s arguably better at Cedar Creek. Both places are insanely crowded and kid-friendly with enormous patios, and need more parking.
I say give Preslee’s a try. Just look for the pink Cadillac. You can’t miss it.
Preslee’s Southern Good Eatery
1430 W. 19th Street, Houston, TX 77008