Underbelly has charm, it’s a cozy little restaurant and prides itself on locally sourced product directly from farmers. Chris Shepherd is a rock star chef who butchers on-site and uses the whole animal – Bravo! The food is quite fantastic so on the surface it seems like Underbelly has everything for that loving relationship. Only problem, Underbelly doesn’t love you back. It’s like having a super hot girlfriend, but she pays no attention to you.
I’ve been to underbelly a few times now and always end up in this one room where it’s very difficult to hear due to the noise level clattering off the walls and voices are lost as the tall ceiling seems to suck any audible conversations from across the table into a chatter purgatory. So then everyone has to talk extra loud. We always go in a group of around 8 people and its best experienced by ordering the family style large plates. Problem is, usually there are a couple people that aren’t so adventurous and choose an entrée off the menu. This is where everything goes right to hell. As the dishes start coming out one by one for all to share, they fellers that ordered there own item get to watch. And watch. And watch. As an hour passes they still watch. When inquired, you’re told the order is put in. Well, everyones finished, time to get the check – oh wait, still have a few people that haven’t got their food! Oh well, they’re pissed off and just want to leave. The general manager did swing by but instead of offering hugs and reassurance, he just stood there. He stood there like a person that hates his job and preferred to be far away. He seemed sad. And he offered nothing. I was literally shocked how unaccommodating and insincere this dude was. Remember that hot girlfriend that doesn’t pay attention to you? Now she just told you she’s been unfaithful. So you leave Underbelly feeling a little empty and a relationship you desperately wanted has ended.
The bottom line:
- Food is great (pork belly was disappointing, not rendered or crispy enough)
- Management is incompetent
- Service is inconsistent
- That one room (through the entrance on the right) is too noisy
I won’t even go into the frustration that ensued after we tried to fit an extra person on our reservation. That broke the computer.
Honestly, I’d recommend Underbelly and just play the odds on getting decent service. Maybe I will give it another shot soon. Check out Underbelly Houston’s webpage.
BTW, after 5 years of inconsistent unfocused posting, we are relaunching Hungry in Houston and will primarily be doing Houston restaurant reviews.