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Um… lame?

I didn’t really think much of Bistro Toulouse on my first visit when I had a soggy mac and cheese overloaded with stringy cheese and heavy cream, but completely changed my mind several months later when I stopped by again and had the stellar Pear-Y Winkle sandwich. 

Irritating name aside, this thing was absolutely awesome. More of a burger than a sandwich, it was built around a perfect medium-rate lamb patty with a good bit of crust as a centerpiece and finished off with a goat cheese, poached pears and field greens. All the flavors combined in a really nice way, blowing away countless burgers with far more serious names and intentions. 

Within days Bistro Toulouse was closed, to be replaced with yet another Barnaby’s. As if what Houston needs are more restaurants named after deceased dogs that serve badly prepared food.

Meanwhile, Michael Scott Castell, the chef who owned Bistro Toulouse, has taken a job as a head chef at Brenner’s Steakhouse. The same Brenner’s bought out by Tillman Fertita as he continues his push upmarket, assumingly to wash away the sins of Joe’s Crab Shack and Rainforest Cafe.

So I am having trouble deciding. A great independent spot closes, an insipid mini-chain takes it’s place and the chef/owner is now grilling steaks for Tillman Fertitia. Is the world really a better place? And where am I supposed to get my lamb burgers now?

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