Avocado kale salad
It’s been years in the making. We’ve watched as H-E-B erected its latest Houston store, a whopping 91,000-square-foot industrial-warehouse-style structure at the corner of Fountainview and San Felipe. It’s designed with one of the largest vertical gardens in the city (courtesy of McDugald-Steele), a 14-foot living wall with 22,000 indigenous plants. But behind this gracious green entrance, past 1,600 varieties of wine and beer, around the corner from the meat department (where you can tag your own dry-aged beef to custom-age as long as you like) and a stone’s throw from 300 bins of bulk food items stands one of H-E-B’s most adventurous endeavors yet: Table 57. Named for its 77057 zip code, Table 57 is a quick-casual eatery with seating for 50 inside, 80 on the patio and another 40 in an adjoining private room — and an entire supermarket chain’s buying power to fill its mighty larder.
This is the third restaurant concept in the Texas grocer’s history. It’s the first one in Houston and boasts the talent of consulting chef Randy Evans (whose résumé highlights include Haven and Brennan’s), who signed on to develop this sophisticated, approachable American menu with Southern charms. Evans wows customers with prime-grade beef burgers (a perfect 80/20 ratio) that start at $8.50; rich, complex gumbos and soups ($3 to $7); lobster rolls made with fresh meat from an entire lobster’s tail cradled in a brioche bun (market price); and Korean fried chicken and waffles. Pair your selection with a glass of beer or wine, if you so choose. Lighter entrees (most run $10 to 15) include a delectable arugula and walnut salad, Tuscan-style tuna salad with seared tuna slices and an earthy quinoa and faro grain mix with pomegranate seeds. Order up cheese and charcuterie plates as happy hour descends, or quell your appetite with small bites before a big shop. Dine in or order ahead and fetch barbecue to go. A pit master tends the burning embers of post oak chips 24 hours a day, so indulge in St. Louis-style pork ribs or fork-tender brisket made with the point (the flavorsome fatty cut), paired with a side of Texas-style barbecue sauce. Table 57 also rolls out easy-to-wake-up-to brunch items on the weekend, including jarred eggs (coddled), cinnamon roll-bacon bananas Foster and much more.