Name an English pub in Houston that doesn’t serve fish and chips. All of them do. And some do it better than others. Head and shoulders above them all is Red Lion Pub. The pristine batter hints at a light sheen of oil. Otherwise, it’s pretty greaseless. Granted, you need a light shower of salt to get the flavoring just right, but aside from that, this tastes pretty much like the fish ‘n chips we’ve eaten in London. On Fridays, the fish ‘n chips is only $12. But by then, we’re dreaming of Sunday, the only day Red Lion serves roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with peas and mashed potatoes. Topping it all off is a rich, meaty brown gravy. But English (and Irish) specialties aren’t the only thing that draws expatriates here. The pub also ventures into British Indian dishes, including chicken tikka masala, one dish you won’t find in India. That’s because it all started in Britain. The legend goes like this: An Indian chef got tired of his British diners complaining about how dry the tandoori chicken was. They would ask, “Can you put some kind of gravy on this?”
Well, this ingenious chef went back to the kitchen, poured a can of Campbell’s tomato soup in the saucepan along with whipping cream and Indian spices. The chicken dish with tomato gravy caught on quick. Now, it’s the national dish of Britain, not India.
Talk about artful marketing. When Stella Artois, the Belgian lager beer maker, first made a splash in the U.S. four years ago, people clamored for the stuff. Something new, something special, right? Meanwhile, the Dutch and Belgians were having the last laugh. While we thought Stella Artois was something pretty special, the Europeans consider it the Bud Light of Europe. Ouch. Red Lion has a fantastic selection of beer, so don’t settle for less; try a Boddington instead, or an Old Speckled Hen.