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Flash in the pan

I wasn’t surprised when Phillipe Schmit departed from the Legacy Group; it was a marriage of convenience from the start.  But I certainly didn’t think the Antone’s Market concept would be given up for dead so soon after opening. The Antone’s sign is gone. No one is wearing the kitchy “Fast Food for Foodies” t-shirts. Windows are covered in butchers paper.

I stopped by Antone’s shortly after it opened and thought it had some promise. The former Greenberry’s space lost none of it’s warmth and seemed more like a neighborhood cafe than a fast food restaurant.

I ordered an oyster po-boy, which was better than most served in Houston. The baguette had an excellent crust that shattered into pieces at first bite. The fixins were great, especially the house made pickles. The oysters seemed a little water logged, but were properly breaded and fried. The only thing that seemed out of place was the red cabbage, which has a bit too much resistance for a po-boy. Still, a major improvement over the mess they serve at Ragin Cajun.

While I was waiting for my po-boy to be made I spotted Schmit run in for a few minutes, review some books at the office and scurry away. A man on a mission building a fast food empire.

I ordered some take out for a pair of starving pharmacists and they found Antone’s attempts at the falafel sandwich a bit over engineered. Apparently the sandwiches and the absurdly priced roasted red peppers ($7?) were studded with a heavy doze of lemon juice and herbs to kick up the flavor.

I wasn’t sure exactly why I never made it back to Antone’s Market after that, until I remembered the pastries, which looked good, but didn’t taste like much. Maybe that summed up Antone’s best – trying to do too much, without doing anything well. You could easily find better, less gentrified versions of food Antone’s offered elsewhere. This is Houston, after all.

I hope Phillipe Schmit lands at a proper restaurant somewhere. He is a good enough chef to not have to be a “corporate” anything.

June 27, 2008   2 Comments