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Hey Chef: Pass the Gravy!

There is a roast beef poor boy topped with a fried egg on the brunch menu at Bistro Alex in the Hotel Sorella. It sounds awesome. And it would be–if the kitchen would provide you with a little gravy. I know, know, this fancy pants roast beef sandwich comes with gourmet peppercorn syrup, so it shouldn’t need gravy. But hey, the sandwich was still dry. When I asked for gravy, the kitchen sent out more syrup.

What do Houston chefs have against gravy?

I had the same problem at Lola Restaurant on Yale Street. Why are they turning out bone dry roast beef poor boys when they have a vat of brown gravy on the stove? If you ask nicely, they will bring you some. Why they don’t just serve the sandwich with gravy on the side to begin with is a mystery to me. I am thinking the word “gravy” is too mundane for aspiring culinary geniuses.

They don’t have this problem over in New Orleans. Gravy is respected over there. Ever have Greg Sonnier’s roasted duck and French fries with pan gravy? Now that’s some gravy for you. Maybe we need to call it “reduction sauce” or something so the CIA grads feel better about it.

In my opinion, everybody who serves roast beef sandwiches in Houston needs to drive up to Barker Cypress and eat a quarter of a roast beef poor boy at Mama’s Cajun Cuisine. The roast beef is cooked to death in gravy. The sandwich is sopping with gravy and then it’s served with more gravy on the side. This is what I’m talking about when I say a roast beef sandwich needs gravy.

I am kind of enjoying not being an official restaurant reviewer, I don’t have to be diplomatic–I get to rant and rave about this stuff now like other bloggers.

5 comments to Hey Chef: Pass the Gravy!

  • Tim

    I have had mixed results at Lola. Sometimes they have included extra gravy with their roast beef debris, other times not. Without the gravy, it just isn’t as good.

  • Excellent point, Robb. A dry roast beef po boy, no matter how wonderful the ingredients, is missing something. And I was woefully unimpressed with Lola – cool building, great location, but very pedestrian food.

  • This has me drooling and I’m not even hungry.

  • Lou Parris

    Amen to Mama’s! We live out that way, fortunately. I’ve eaten there several times, and always opt for the poor-boy with all that gravy.

  • Terry Thompson-Anderson

    I’ve had the same problem with roast beef po’boys in Texas. Anyone who wants to serve them should go study in the kitchen at Parasol’s in New Orleans where they cook steamship rounds covered in vegetable scraps until they’re falling apart, then serve the degreased (somewhat) pan drippings on the sandwich. Dressed or not – your choice. They call it “debris” gravy in NO. It’s an art form. But sounds like I need to try Mama’s too!