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IceHouse Tavern opens with a few kinks, but the food makes a good first impression

Earlier today, while walking out the door of the Icehouse Tavern (only a mere seven hours old at the time of this writing), Highway to Hell, the 1979 cult ACDC album title and hit of the same name, was blaring over the speakers. And in the kitchen, the crew, headed by chef James Mazzio, must have collectively stopped what they were doing, burried their heads in momentary defeat and agreed, at least for that moment, that two hours into their first day of service, life was Hell.

There were glitches with the printers; the kitchen was losing orders ("Your order was sent; No, it wasn't sent; It was sent twice."); there were no to-go containers for anything liquid, so the guy who wanted his soup to go, got it in a leaky cardboard box; Bobby effin' Flay was annoying audiences everywhere on the flatscreen tuned to the Food Network; and, slightly more important, Mazio's kitchen, confessed a manager, "was crashing and burning." 

But when my food finally came, which it did, in fits and bursts, over a 70-minute period, I perked up. The gumbo, bobbing with crawfish, shredded, smoked chicken and andouille sausage, was deep, dark and delicious, and the herb-roasted rib-eye sandwich, two thick triangles of buttered Texas toast, stacked with caramelized onions and paved with comte cheese and horseradish, tasted a lot better than most everything else I've eaten this week.

And, hell, it's only the first day.

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