Red Lion proudly sits across Shepherd from the similarly adept and long time favorite, Kenneally’s Irish Pub. The Red Lion is not only a convivial, well-run British-style pub with an expansive array of good draft beers, spirits, and even a fair number of well-chosen wines, it also offers excellent pub fare. Most of this is British but some is local, all several notches above you would expect in the UK, and in this country, too. This proficiency in the kitchen alone makes Red Lion is worth a visit. And, it draws patrons that visit solely for their excellent British-inflected pub fare that is properly tuned to the local palates.
The dishes are made to order and with fresh ingredients; there are supposedly no freezers or even canned items. Though the most expensive of the local pubs, the cooking is consistently very good, and the portions are very large. The Red Lion is well known and deservedly praised for its rendition of moist and crisp fish and chips, their Mini Burgers that are really a hearty meal, and their amazingly hot Beef Vindaloo.
British dishes include a Scotch Egg Dinner, Banger and Mash, and Shepherds Pie. There are a handful of entree-sized salads and plenty of enticing small plates, well-crafted for sharing and complementary to imbibing. The mini burgers ramp up nicely to a full-size Cheeseburger that is cooked to order. Other sandwiches include the Portobello Sandwich, a BLT with Irish black bacon, and an interesting take on the roast beef sandwich with a hoagie roll, mozzarella, sauteed onions and a horseradish and caper aïoli.
There is some fusion with local favorites, spring and Imperial (or egg) rolls and quesadillas imbued with Indian components and flavors. There is even a Seared Duck Breast, and the very popular 8-ounce Free Range Filet Mignon. The latter plate is served for several dollars cheaper on Thursday nights, and its quality puts other local bar’s steak nights to shame. There are specials other nights of the week so check the board at the restaurant or the website.
The pub itself is quite attractive, roomy and filled with dark wood, enough bar seating and upholstered octagonal booths. Not incidentally, service is friendly and very efficient, though you might have to watch out for the cantankerous owner late at night.
Red Lion is located at 2316 5. Shepherd (between San Felipe and Westheimer), Houston, Texas 77019, (713) 78230 www.redlionhouston.com
Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.
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