Yesterday, we were just about to announce Cleburne Cafeteria's May 12 return to its original, 1941 prices when we learned that the Houston institution had burned to the ground for the second time. And though we'll continue to hang our heads in more than a moment of silence, life goes on and so do anniversary deals. On May 10, Ouisie's Table will debut a doozy to celebrate 43 years since Elouise Adams Jones turned her catering company, The Traveling Brown Bag Lunch Co., into the original, Sunset Boulevard iteration of her famous restaurant.
Located at 3939 San Felipe for 21 years, the homey cuisine hasn't ventured too far from its roots, but prices are no longer the same as in 1973. Except for every Tuesday and Wednesday between May 10 (the actual anniversary is May 12) and June 8, that is, when original dishes will be served at their original cost alongside the current menu.
The bills of fare will vary, but options will include lemon-garlic soup for $3.50 and $5.95 horseradish-crusted salmon with vodka-orange sauce. Curry lamb chops, served with "Damn Eggplant," will be $8.95. Why is the aubergine hellbound?
Though Jones was out of town and unavailable at press time, publicist Mark Hanna told Houstonia that the name came from her father's dissatisfaction with her mother's take on his family's recipe. When eggplant season arrived each year, Jones' mother was known to remark, "Pretty soon I'm going to have to make that damn eggplant that's never good enough," Hanna recounts. The name stuck, but diners are unlikely to be disappointed. Especially at that price.