Few things are as satisfying as a good meal or the thrum of a crossbow as it sends a bolt into a ham. Hit the spot with this Groupon.
$10 for $20 Worth of Modern American Lunch
The lunch menu—served Tuesday–Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.—highlights rustic, regional American dishes such as mustard-coated rabbit tenderloin with salsa verde and red-onion marmalade ($14), persian chicken salad with grilled pizza bread ($10), and a customizable longhorn burger that 29-95 food critic Alison Cook summed up in one word: "wow" ($15, served with fries or slaw).
For every Groupon purchased, Chef Monica Pope will donate $1 to Making It Better, an organization dedicated to improving literacy and life skills in under-served elementary-school students.
Sparrow Bar + Cookshop
After 20 years in Houston's culinary scene, Monica Pope was in need of a change. In 2012, she reinvented her signature restaurant t'afia to create Sparrow Bar + Cookshop. The name makes a statement not only because it highlights the lineup of spirited beverages (think quirky, organic-gin cocktails and a wine list that includes Texas sakes), but also because it revives the medieval concept of a cookshop: a communal food stop where travelers and the locals who lacked their own kitchens once gathered. For Monica, the term conjured a rustic, uncaged mentality that she reflects each day in her restaurant’s industrial-yet-cozy environs and on the daily changing, localvore menus that have been profiled by publications such as Eater.
When she's not leading in-house cooking classes, Monica is busy innovating in the kitchen. Her seasonal dishes include apps such as watermelon-radish salad and chili-peanut and black bean soup (which the menu invites you to share…or not) and entrees such as a lamb cutlet with saffron-sherry aioli or a date-covered Gulf red snapper that celebrate American, Mediterranean, and Asian flavors. The menu’s one constant, a portobello or longhorn burger, welcomes customization with ingredients such as beet chutney and crushed avocado or the chef's signature written in red-curry catsup.
Servers dressed in blue-suede boots and handmade-leather welding aprons ferry these dishes through an environment that Alison Cook characterized as exuding a "raw industrial warmth" in her Houston Chronicle review. Pope's attention to "keen visual detail” has produced an exposed-brick space in which metal ceiling girders and oxidized pizza-pan lanterns hang over custom laminated-wood chairs at black metal tables. Antique columns hold up a communal table made from a thick slab of salvaged wood around which private dining parties gather.