Sunday, October 25, 2009

Restaurant: Mango's in Houston

I knew I'd only have one night to go out to eat while I was in Houston and I wanted to take this opportunity to try something new. Little did I know that I'd enjoy the incredible mushroom ravioli at Macaroni Grill or the best vegetarian option at a wedding I'd ever had (besides other all-veg weddings) -- a really good vegetable napoleon dish.

I searched the web for vegetarian restaurants and among the many that came up, Mango's caught my eye immediately because of the name. When I looked at their menu, I knew that we had to go there. The boneless buffalo wings enticed me and the variety of sandwiches cemented my insistence on going there.

These buffalo wings are tofu, naturally boneless, of course. They were fried and doused in buffalo sauce that with just the right amount of heat. The pesto dressing was a good accompaniment. They also offer these wings as a sandwich, or with spicy or mild barbecue sauce instead of the buffalo.

Their Thursday night music act was canceled, which was probably a good thing for my visit as I didn't realize that this was more of a music venue than restaurant, at least at night. We ordered at the bar and sat outside on the front porch. Although it was a chilly night, this was a better option than the inside which had only a few tables and smelled of lingering smoke, even though the place was empty (the other patrons were on the back porch).

Alex and I went along with my parents, which afforded us the luxury of trying a second appetizer and sampling four sandwiches.

Curry fries. The curry was great -- toss these crisp fries with the sauce for a real treat.

Grilled eggplant hoagie. The hoagie rolls were very good, and I also liked to the roasted tomatoes topping this sandwich. It came with the same cilantro garlic pesto dressing as the wings and other sandwiches.

I got the white bean garlic burger, which was also really good with a little kick of spice, but I didn't care for the crusty ciabatta and ended up eating the patty with a fork. I got the avocado for a little extra and swapped my fries for a salad with a tasty white wine vinaigrette and pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Alex got the "City Boy" Po Boy, which is a fleshless veggie pulled pork style sandwich served with lettuce, tomato, and onion, with three jalapeno slices across the top. I'm guessing this was setian, and it was really good with a good barbecue sauce, although it was slightly spicy as well (and I didn't even touch the jalapeno).

Besides the cigarette smell (I forget there are places where they still let you smoke indoors!) the only disappointment we had was that they didn't serve Bud Lite. Now, I can understand that not everybody has that beer, but it was printed on the menu. My father was pretty disappointed. He got his Boca burger (not pictured) and a glass of water and did just fine. I got the Saint Arnold's amber beer and really enjoyed it; we went to the brewery "tour" on Saturday and had a pretty good, if crowded, time.

I wish I could find a place like Mango's here. The only all-vegetarian restaurants I've been to have been fancy-schmancy (Horizons), or Indian or Chinese. So this was really, really, neat for me to find this unexpected gem in Texas. Plus, the people who worked there was so nice and patient with us newbies. I want to go back and try the "Viet-Now" tofu sandwich and I want to go back for brunch.

Mango's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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