Growing up in Houston, Bennigan's was one of those restaurants that I felt was always going to be around. They were a better version of Chili's or TGI Friday's, with all the expected casual dining standards, plus a few signature items. The bar was also a hoppin' happy hour scene, with groups of coworkers unwinding after a hard day at the office.
|The Bennigan's dining room|
|Monte Cristo at Bennigan's|
We're happy to report that the Monte Cristo may be even better than we remembered. Layers of thinly-sliced ham and turkey and American cheese are batter-dipped and deep fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with a side of raspberry preserves. The coating was golden brown, delightfully crisp on the outside and tender within, without a hint of greasiness. We approve, although our doctor might not.
But man does not live (long) by Monte Cristo alone, so we sampled some of the other items on the menu. We couldn't resist the Guiness Glazed Bacon burger, a half-pound patty cooked to order (although medium rare was more like medium well, a common problem) and glazed with a Guiness Stout-based sauce, topped with cheddar, thick-cut bacon, and fried onion strings.
|Guiness-Glazed Bacon Burger at Bennigan's|
Biting into the burger we were first hit by the tangy-sweet flavor of the Guiness glaze; the mild cheddar flavor and the smokiness of the bacon were good counterpoints. The onions added more texture than flavor, but the large patty's juicy beefy flavor came through the melange of toppings. This is a solid burger, and one we'd order again.
A dining companion chose the Irish pot roast, which turned out to be a credible though not memorable version of the classic comfort food. Along with the pot-roasted beef were potatoes, carrots, onions, and a bit of garlic.
|Irish Pot Roast at Bennigan's|
Bennigan's | 18450 I-45 South | Shenandoah, TX 77384 | bennigans.com