Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Paulie's

Tonight I had dinner with a friendly Brit who lives next door. He suggested Paulie's (1834 Westheimer, Houston, TX) . Even though that is walking distance from here, I had never heard of the place. It turned out to be a small Italian diner complete with a noisy group of Italians and all the food one would expect. The interior is rather utilitarian with the exception of the artwork on the walls. The paintings were somewhat like fuzzy Mondrians and I found them surprisingly appealing compared to other paintings in restaurants. Service is practically nonexistent. You order your food at the counter and come back to pick it up when it is ready. Some of the tables had not been wiped down. We had to hunt of a clean one, but the place was empty enough that this wasn't a problem.

The food was plentiful and generally good. I had pasta with marinara sauce and shrimp. The pasta was a little overcooked, but the marinara was pretty good. My only real complaint is the amount of garlic in it. There were as many garlic pieces as there were mushrooms. In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I believe garlic should be used as a spice, not as an ingredient of a dish. Garlic-lovers will probably be quite happy with the sauce. The shrimp were fresh and tasted as if they had been grilled. The pasta dish compares quite favorably to anything Landry's has served me recently.

Dinner included a basket of garlic bread. Again they went overboard with the garlic, but the bread was actually very good. All in all it was a good dinner despite the excessive amount of garlic. We paid $38 for two entrees and two imported bottles of beer. The price was probably a bit steeper than the food justified, but the two beers were responsible for $7 of the tab.

I don't think I will go back, but that is mainly on account of the garlic concentrations.

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