Located in the Sam Houston Hotel, a National Register of Historic Places, *17 is an onsite restaurant just minutes away from the Houston’s historic museum district. This establishment honors the true spirit of Texas through its adventurous and innovative take on classic American cuisine. It takes its name from the 17 railroad lines that extended from various parts of the state and Gulf Cost. *17’s modern and elegant design provides guests with an elevated dining experience.
Start with creative appetizers that reflect the region’s specialties like its smoky tomato soup, Texas plantain crab cakes or battered shrimp. For entrees, order its braised short ribs, tomato mascarpone ravioli or seared angus filet. There is an extensive wine list curated to pair well with any dish. Recognized by Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Gourmet and many other publications, *17, is perfect for a quiet or special night out.
Limited breakfast menu
Somewhat surprisingly, there were only two tables filled at noon. You would expect that this place would do a brisk lunch business given its proximity to the courts and many high rise buildings. The room is nice and the food is quite good for a hotel restaurant. The problem is -- and it is a big problem -- is the service. We arrived at noon and all three persons at our table ordered the same thing (simple ravioli). It wasn't until 12:45 that our food arrived. Even for dinner this would have been slow, but for lunch it is completely unacceptable. While there obviously is some talent in the kitchen, this restaurant is poorly managed. No doubt, many others had discovered this long before me given that there was hardly anyone else here.
We had to ask for a wine menu and was informed there is not a wine menu. During the meal I asked for rolls or bread and was informed by the server they were out, but he could check to see if there might be some back in the kitchen. Throughout all of this, there was a max of four customers, one table with two and us. I declined the sevre's offer to go search for bread. We ordered a crab cake and it had a crabby odor. As seafood lovers know, this is not a good thing and makes me question the freshness of the ingredients. The only food highlight was tomato ravioli with cream sauce. I ordered a steak that was chewy and flavorless. I ended up eating no more than half of it and the server did not even ask about the meal. Fortunately, I was offered the last of the ravioli.
We received our check, I placed my card in the receipt tray and signed the receipt with the gratuity. So many minutes passed that I didn't realize the super re never came to get the tickets and ran my card. Not knowing this, I put away my card and we left to head to the theatre. As we nearing the end of the block, I hear someone saying "sir, sir." It's the server who rarely came by the table who said the credk card had not been run through. I give him my card, we walk back to the restaurant for him to run my card.
So I get back and ask if we were checking in for our OpenTable app. He doesn't even know what that is and asks if we use It to pay for meals. I gave the hostess my name and she checked us in.
$90.13 will get you an appetizer, one glass of wine and two entrees at 17. That's it, you get nothing else. No customer service or concern about the quality of food.
Do yourself a favor and pass on this restaurant. Unless of course you can't find an establishment in downtown Houston where you can get quality food, quality service, or even both for this amount or less.
We started at the bar across the hall inside The Sam but they would not come to the table and ask us for our drink order. The bar tender hollered out "if you want something you'll have to come to me." So... We walked over to the bar (because there wasn't another soul in the place) and said "we were looking for a place to relax (party of six) with my clients and I didn't want to be jumping up and down for drinks, could he please send someone over?" He said "no, there isn't any one". That wasn't the kind of place we were looking to gang out so we walked.
We walked across the hall inside the hotel, at *17 and sat there instead, we had dinner reservations there in a half hour anyway. We ordered apps and drinks, no one else in the dinning room. Quite place, nice little girl to serve us, food was good we each had a salad (I had the baby wedge, it was excellent - I mean really, really good) the rest of the group had various other soups (cream of mushroom soup was watered down) and salads along with our apps (most of it was good, not great, but good). We decided to eat some dogs and pizza at minute maid ballpark (or see what food was being served in the company suite).
We were on our way to a Stors game and staying at The Sam, and although stark in its appointments, the staff was exceptional and they had a comp shuttle ride to and from the ball park. It's only 8 or 9 blocks but it was very hot that afternoon so we took the shuttle - we tipped the guy $20 each way but to avoid the hassle of getting in and out of the park we would have been happy to pay double or triple - super nice driver and very easy in and put of the game.
By the way.... Have you ever been in Dallas and tried to get out after a Rangers game? Forget about it!
Before my visit, I reviewed yelp and it gave it horrible ratings. Nevertheless, I proceeded because I visited the restaurant in 2007 before it was remodeled and was impressed by the service, food and professionalism. This visit was horrible. It was my wife and I 4 year anniversary; we were the only one in the restaurant, its apparent that the restaurant staff, management and valet could use a course in proper etiquette for services in an upscale hotel environment. The presentation of the food was horrible as well as the taste, this was not a culinary chef. The valet driver didn't provide curbside service; I had to remind him to open the door for my wife. The music selection to set the mood and lighting were terrible. This is the Sam Houston hotel, no hotel guest ate in the restaurant, and were seen leaving or sat in the bar. I know this hotel reopened , surely you didn't have your service expectations considered. I was so embarrassed and disappointed. I hate to be harsh but allow me to provide examples: The waitress has never worked in a fine dining restaurant. The bread and butter plate was empty until I reminded the waitress; I ordered the medium well New York Strip with spinach and potatoes. My steak was well done and the spinach never arrived. I notified the waitress, she brought it as side dish, and the Chef must have wasted the entire salt bottle on it. The triple chocolate cheesecake was actually a New York cheesecake with chocolate icing on it. The cake tasted like it was made from my daughter's easy bake oven. The wedge iceberg lettuce was awful. I elected to taste and keep the food on the plate until the end of the date. I tried to keep the event humorous, as my wife suggested that this was an entertaining 4 year dinner and she sorry that it didn't go well. The valet attendant was rude and nonchalant. Please take this review as constructive criticism and provide your staff training in hotel services.
Good place for breakfast although menu is a little limited
The hotel is awesome, and the 17 restaurant is just as great. Treated very well. Large seelection of drinks from the bar. Prices were surprisingly reasonable also
For being the only ones at the restaurant it took forever to be served. The food was just mediocre. I'm sure its better for for breakfast as most hotels are.
17 is a good quiet place for a meeting when you need to discuss business. The food was decent, but the service left much to be desired. Our service didn't come check on our coffee or juice. We had to chase him down.
Umberto (Chef and relatively new to 17) brought a personal touch to our dinner.
His Braised beef dish was excellent with a his recipe for seasoning that
reminded me of the rubs (his is unique) from historic Memphis.
I would recommend 17 as a good place to converse with the Chef and make sure you get his
braised beef dish.