For years, I’ve been a major fan of Houston’s, adjacent to Roosevelt Field in East Garden City. To me, the casual-elegant American spot has been in a class apart from most chain restaurants, thanks to carefully prepared food and professional, solicitous service.
On a recent visit, though, I came to eat my words. They were all I had to eat — at least for a hungry half-hour after ordering. A request for bread elicited a ragged looking reheated loaf deposited in the middle of the table; no bread plates. Twenty minutes later, with our food nowhere in sight, I flagged a passing waiter. He smiled somewhat patronizingly, went off, and came back five minutes later to say that he’d just seen our veggie burgers going into their buns. Close to 10 more minutes elapsed before any food hit the table.
Houston’s still serves one amazingly smoky-good veggie burger. I had mine with an exemplary side of crisp-tender Brussels sprouts. But Houston’s used to give me something more for my dining dollar: the priceless feeling of being cared for.
Houston’s is at 630 Old Country Rd., Unit 1047, Garden City, 516-873-1454, houstons.com
My veggie burger with Brussels sprouts at Houston's