E2 = Excellent Eats


by Lorraine Cherry

Redfish and Salmon and Shrimp, Oh My!

An attractive new restaurant that specializes in seafood has popped up on Highway 290 just outside the loop. The name is Pinch, as in “a pinch of seasoning.” We recently visited Pinch for lunch and came back the next week for dinner. I’m happy to report that the food is great, the service is warm and friendly, and the décor is relaxed and inviting.

For lunch, we tried the bacon-wrapped shrimp and the seafood gumbo. The shrimp, which were huge, were grilled perfectly, then served over a split buttermilk biscuit with a dried fig BBQ sauce and a drizzle of jalapeño glaze. Yum! The gumbo was also very good, with andouille sausage and lots of seafood. At $8/bowl, this makes a cheap lunch. Crab and corn bisque is also available.

Pinch is pushing a down-home Southern vibe, so at dinner they started us out with chicharrones (fried pork rinds) which were nicely fried and lightly salted. Great rendition if you like them (I do!). These shared the table with a basket of soda crackers served with hot sauce and water in jelly jars. But these rustic offerings were for show only. The food was serious, sophisticated, and delicious. My husband had shrimp scampi (those huge shrimp again) in a garlic butter sauce over linguini which he ate every last bite of. I went for a plate of very fresh oysters charcoal grilled with Cajun butter , one of the better versions of this dish I’ve had in Houston. We split a surprisingly large dinner salad with a nicely balanced balsamic vinaigrette. (Don’t you just hate it when you bite into a salad and the dressing has so much vinegar that your whole head just puckers up? Well, that didn’t happen here.)

Pinch currently has a nice selection of wines by the glass and beer, including a half dozen local craft beers on tap (only $3 during happy hour M-F from 4:00 to 7:00). Rumor has it that a full liquor license is in the works with house-crafted cocktails to follow.

Pinch, located at 10510 Northwest Freeway, is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The most relaxing way to get there from Timbergrove Manor (assuming that, like me, you’d rather starve to death than actually drive on 290 these days) is to go west on West 18th Street to Magnum, turn right and go under the freeway, then turn left on the feeder road. Pinch will be a couple blocks down on the right.

Pinch Seafood & Bar pinchseafoodrestaurant.com (832) 487-9412