Armadillo Palace combines good food with an attractive and stylized Texas-themed bar that often features regional Texas music acts. Much of the time, it’s actually more of bar, but the food is still worthy of a visit.
As a bar, the small menu offers a focused number of appealing appetizers. This being a Goode operation, you can expect that these will be much better than their descriptions connote. The entirety is Tex-Mex in nature: nachos, chips and guacamole, queso fundido, empanadas and flautas. Goode Co. Seafood’s signature campechana is also served here and tastes as it does there. The wonderful mixture of shrimp, crab, avocado, onion, chile and salsa is a nearly perfect complement for the crisp chips that are served with it, not to mention a cold lager beer.
Unlike most bars, the nachos are actually pretty good here, even if the plentiful and far-better-than-usual toppings overwhelm the chips. One quibble is that you have to pay four bucks for chips and salsa; one of the few places in town that charges for this. But, it’s a drinking establishment during a significant portion of its time open.
The entrees are regionally Texan with those expected robust and on-target Goode Co. touches. Of the roughly ten entrées, there is a very good, juicy grilled half-pound burger served with choice of a variety of toppings, including smoked bacon and avocado slices, and an fresh, airy homemade bun, an attractive and tasty chicken fried steak made with a strip steak, a smoked chicken breast sandwich, a chicken salad sandwich made with toasted pecans and apple slices, venison chili in the properly Texas fashion with cubed meat and an absence of beans and, for those big spenders, a tender 12-ounce USDA choice ribeye steak. Possibly the most interesting item is the Peace Maker, toasted French bread slices slathered with horseradish and topped with strip steak that has been smoked. For dessert, there is the excellent Goode Co. pecan pie.
Though it can get crowded in the evening both for the music and as a singles scene, the service is usually very attentive. Other attractions here are the many feet of bar space, several taps including the hometown Saint Arnold, and many easy-to-view flat-screen televisions. To note, Armadillo Palace is quite kid-friendly until 8PM when those under 18 are not allowed.
5015 Kirby (between Westpark and Bissonnet)
Houston, Texas 77098
Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.
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Image credit: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (photographer: Michael Stencel)