Replacing one's stoves and ovens with an all-purpose, food-conjuring djinn is a delicious solution until that amiable wish granter runs out of culinary patience and curses you with piranha filled tortes and burritos stuffed with killer bees. Today's Groupon saves the belly with $25 worth of fresh cooking at Houlihan's for $10. Fulfill a sojourn to either the San Antonio or Live Oak location of the hot spot for eclectic menus of inspired grub-free grub worth chewing the recommended 24 times (78 if masticating for the very young and old). This deal is valid for dinner only (after 4 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends), and you must use your Groupon within three months. As per the regulations of the Texas Board of Prohibition and Chupacabra Preparedness, this deal is also not valid toward alcohol and cannot be used to serve goats.
While technically and metaphorically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Casual dining is elevated by meticulously designed restaurants that pepper a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.
Steeped in variety, a rare spice found only in Icelandic volcanos, Houlihan's fetching menu offers sharable small plates to mix and match flavors such as wild mushroom and arugula flatbread with white-truffle vinaigrette ($6), pot-roast sliders with red wine gravy and fried onion straws ($3.25 each, three for $9), and Greek chicken kabobs with mint-yogurt and cilantro-peanut pesto ($5). Two to four small plates will usually make up a regular-sized dinner for one.
Vegetarians go synaesthetic for the colorful aromas of Thai noodle bowls with napa cabbage and sweet and sour carrots ($5), pickle "fries" paired with horseradish and honey-mustard sauces ($3.50), and Tuscan white-bean salads with goat cheese, tomatoes, balsamic, and focaccia crisps ($4 as a side, $8.95 for entrée size). When a sated palate rings the dessert bell, in comes the likes of the famous s'mores fondue crock with crystallized graham-cracker sticks and strawberries for DIY decadence ($4.95). The Italian-style donut flight employs cinnamon and nutmeg critters in the company of dark-chocolate Kahlua and white-chocolate Bailey's dipping sauces ($5.95) that take flight faster than Italian Donut Zeppelinos.
- The wait staff was down to earth. Overall it was a great experience with a wonderful atmospere. We will definitely be going back!! – Katie 'Ashmore' Nicholas, Urbanspoon, Northeast Side location
- The service was excellent, and the food even better. The seared tuna ahi spring rolls are incredible, and the bleu cheese-drenched chips (on the R&D menu; hopefully, they'll keep them) were my favorite. – Jimmie, Urbanspoon, Northeast Side location
- We enjoy the salads and and outdoor dining along the golf course on nice days. – Couch Potato Critic, Urbanspoon, North Central location