Helen Greek Food and Wine - Houston (Rice Village)

YA’LL! Why me? I promise I do not have unreasonable expectations of our many local eateries but it seems like I end up in this situation too often, writing a not stellar description of a meal.

Helen has gotten unbelievable press and accolades from all. At one time, we planned a meet up there for Sunday brunch but it fell through, which is probably not a bad thing.

Anyway, I ended up there for lunch recently. The lunch menu is pretty limited but has a couple of pita “sandwiches,” a couple of salads to which a grilled chicken skewer can be added, a fish of the day (which that day was whole branzino for $58), stuffed blistered banana peppers and a few other tapas sized dishes.

I ordered the “three dip” appetizer while I waited for my friend to arrive. The selections change daily, on this day it was (l-r) smoked eggplant, spicy feta spread and hummus spiked with roe and topped with lemony olive oil.

The dips were pretty good. The eggplant was really smokey, the feta was really spicy and the roe was really fishy.

I ordered the chicken souvlaki with oregano fries while my friend ordered the gyro. The gyro is made with pork only which…why? There is a lamb/beef meatball on the menu so it’s possible. I tasted the meat and it was well seasoned if a bit dry. She did not finish it.

My grilled chicken skewer was served on a pita over a mere dab of thin “house made tzatziki” and sprinkled with a few baby arugula leaves. The oregano fries were underdone and had no oregano flavor. The chicken was bland and unseasoned. I did not finish it either.

We waited quite a while for the food to be delivered and most disappointing of all is that it was all served at room temperature. This is a big deal in my book.

The waiter was very polite, attentive and eager to answer questions. The restaurant itself is very small, much smaller than I expected and in touting itself as a tavern, it is not far off. There is very much a tavern feel to the decor. The bar area where we ate is separate from the main dining room. There’s an extensive wine list which I didn’t look at.

Parking in the Village is difficult to find. All in all, I don’t believe I will fight the traffic and parking woes to return again.

Lunch Menu

How disappointing. Thanks for taking the time to report tho’.

We need to get together soon somewhere.

Suggestions?

Here are some places on my list to try:

Mein Cantonese
Habanera and The Gringo
Foreign Correspondents
Ginger and Fork
Andes Cafe
BCN
Jackson St. BBQ
Southern Goods - Heights

Those are the main ones anyhoo. Anything look attractive?

Did you ever go to the long awaited Havana in Houston on Memorial?

I’ve heard uneven reports on Jackson Street but I know a bunch of bbq snobs.

By which of those are you most intrigued?

I’m not thrilled about Havana’s menu, I was expecting more casual but it’s upscale. Of those, I’ve really wanted to hit Ginger and Fork and BCN but I’m open to suggestions. Are you in contact with other CH folks? This space is pretty lean these days.

Only Jaymes who is out of town now.

Apparently, DownSouth, BruceSW and JCOstiones have all abandoned us.

What did you do!?!?! :wink:

Yes, it’s sad. No idea who took offense to what or what other distractions interfered with this forum. Hope it wasn’t me or mine, but it wouldn’t be the first time! I’ve learned to live with it! I have no eggshell psyche and don’t expect it in other adults either. Children and pets are a different matter however!

I know you’ve been to the BBQ place that is near you so much, but me and mine haven’t and can meet you, OBD and long suffering onion mom there for our first try of it for lunch. Just a suggestion. I’ve never been, but you speak so highly. Is it Roegel’s I think? Or something near San Felipe.

Surely you know I was just kidding! I have no idea why others lost interest, but it would be ridiculous to suggest it was you! Now “Me” on the other hand…

As for Roegel’s, I like it but mom and OBD were there without me last weekend and thought it was only fair and overpriced. I don’t agree but we should probably find another place if we all want to get together. I would be happy to meet y’all sometime though.

1 Like

This is really disappointing to read of your experience. There is so much hype in the foodie media these days about new openings and celebrity chefs, I don’t know who to trust. I wonder if this place was over-hyped to begin with, has taken a nose dive, or you just hit it on an off day.

I still want to go and I want to try the gyros. I understand pork is the meat that is used in Greece. The lamb/beef cones used in American Greek gyros shops is an American invention. I don’t know if they’re unknown outside the US but I don’t think you’d encounter them very often in Greece.

Regarding your other choices - Alison Cook has frequently mentioned she lives on the east side and the lack of good dining options over there. I’ve tried a couple of places she raved about, El Greco Greek Grille on Lawndale and H&tG and found both not as awesome as claimed - not bad, and probably close to awesome for the East end, but I’d suggest you not make the trip all the way across town just for the latter. Maybe stop off on the way to or from Galveston? In any case, don’t get your hopes up too high.

Re: Andes - as I recall you had a very good experience at Sal Y Pimiento which sounded better than my experience at Andes (I haven’t been back, yet). Maybe I just ordered poorly.

By all means Mein.

To each his own, of course.

Mein sounds great to me.

Hey @Jaymes, are you back in Katy yet?

Nope. In Taos. Getting home this weekend. Haven’t been paying much attention here as I suspect you’ve noticed.

OK. We’ll wait.

[picture me drumming my fingers on my desk.] :wink:

Aw… I don’t deserve y’all.

That’s what “I” said, but they insisted, so…

BTW, shouldn’t we also be expecting a trip report for the “Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska” board?

I mean, you have been eating, right?

Yep. And trying to post photos and stuff. But barely figuring out how to do it on FB. Anybody want to “friend” me there? Got photos & updates of my travels. Maybe after I get home I’ll manage to transfer it to HO.

1 Like

Gee, I thought I remembered you loved Andes. I am in search of a tequeno as good as my childhood memory, long shot I know. But they have them on the menu and that’s a start.

Went to Sal Y Pimiento for brunch last weekend, but since we were there last, it has changed to a 50 item buffet (including suckling pig) for $35. Not a bad deal, but I wasn’t that hungry that day so we popped next door to The Tasting Room for menu brunch rather than hike back to the garage in 1,000 degree heat and relocate. TR has pretty amazing food, few patrons, lackluster service and a guy with a great voice singing with a guitar, at least on Sunday afternoon. The eggs benedict on crusty bread and procuitto with champagne hollandaise hit the spot and I tasted the mushroom pizza from the wood fired oven topped with wild mushrooms and house made mozzerella, pretty delicious. I don’t know why their food doesn’t get more attention. I also hit Ginger and Fork and BCN since this post, I’ll discuss on a dedicated post.

Good to hear from you Brucesw!

Well I managed to delete all my prior emails so I don’t have your emails. If you organize an outing I hope you have mine still. The dog days of summer are here. No choice but to dine out if we can make it happen. Mein is a good choice.

Maybe I’m just remembering the disappointing aspects of Andes. I can’t find the report - was that on the other board? I thought it was one of the first ones I did here. I do intend to go back - it wasn’t so bad I wouldn’t return, of that I’m sure. I’ll go to S y P, you go to Andes, then we can compare!

The Tasting Room looks interesting. I had never heard of that. My senior’s lunch group went to Ruggles Green in City Centre. Food was good but every one was put off by the noise level. There are plastic sheets suspended right over each table to reflect the noise back down. I wonder if the other locations are like that.

Mein would be an excellent choice. I’ve been wanting to go back.

I think a separate thread is in order for a HouHOdown.

Shake up at Helen:

Houston Food Finder

No comment from me since I still have never been.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold