Have you recently encountered a condiment while dining in a Houston restaurant and thought, “Man, I wish I could put this **** on everything”? You’re not alone. The “house-made” [ketchup/mustard/jelly] craze has definitely hit H-town eating establishments, and while some have begun selling their sauces in response to consumer demand, others have yet to jump on the bandwagon. Here are some of our favorite yet to be “officially” on market shelves (though, we bet if you ask very nicely, proprietors will be more than willing to vend you a bottle).
While we love those chicken and gyro platters at the Halal Guys, what we really relish [get it?] is that generous drizzle of “white sauce,” whose simple name belies its powerful tangy, yogurt flavor. The Guys are definitely keen on the fact that their white sauce is da bomb, as extra packets cost fifty cents each; come on, Guys, can’t we split the difference with a $3 bottle?
Many Houston restaurants boast about making their own ketchup, but Pondicheri takes it to the next level with its kasundi, a tomato-based pickled condiment that presents complex tasting notes thanks to an orchestra of ingredients including but not limited to garlic, turmeric, pepper, chiles and cumin. Kasundi accompanies multiple dishes on Pondicheri’s menu (including the masala chicken burger, saag paneer samosas and kebab chutney wrap), and after trying it once you may find yourself ordering all of them to have as many vehicles as possible for this “Indian ketchup.”
Aioli means “dangerously addictive” in the French dialect of Occitan. Well, not really, but it should when in reference to the smoked paprika version at Urban Eats. This slightly spicy mayonnaise pleasantly tickles the tongue and imparts additional creamy richness to their signature “Not So Standard” fries with parmesan and truffle oil and its “Brasserie” beef cheek sliders.
Ordering the famous chili biscuits at Lucille’s is an absolute must and the perfect companion to these storied baked goods is the restaurant’s fiery chili pepper sauce. The sauce uses peppers sourced from Chef Chris Williams’ own garden behind the Museum District restaurant and is a labor of family love from Williams and his two young sons. Although diners are advised to use this condiment sparingly, those with a heat tooth will appreciate the fact that every table is equipped with a full bottle should you really want to indulge in some spice.
And finally a desperate double plea for the return and public sale of the foie gras gravy at Harold’s. Chef Antoine Ware created this anatine wonder to adorn a duck egg omelet on the special brunch menu, but we think this unctuous sauce is deserving of a permanent place on the menu (mayhaps alongside some fried chicken and waffles?) and should be available in large mason jars via special order.