Treehouse quick-lunch

On a Thursday at the end of the month before a long holiday weekend, it was folly to head for favorite Luby’s at noon. In the parking lot that looks impossible to fill, there were practically no spaces, to the great dismay of the lovers of pie. There was an inside line out to the door. At the pickup window a half dozen people stood waiting for their food. So it was on to the Treehouse Italian Grill on College Avenue just off South Congress near Stephen F. Austin’s feet. We chose to be seated indoors. Here, downtown workers may park easily, eat some real food, and leave in time to return to the workplace within the appointed hour, or close to it. The recorded music is not so loud as to be distracting but it does protect those gossipy conversations from the people at the next table. Entrees come with a side of pasta and a vegetable melange. A veal special, a pasta special, and a fish special (swordfish in a caper sauce) today joined the printed Thursday-only items on the lunch menu. Popular entrees were the veal parmesan (very large), the salmon, and the trout (which may be topped with crab meat for a small addition to the price). For the quality and the quantity, this remains a great value for that end-of-the-month lunchtime splurge. I’ve always found service here to be attentive and professional. For the first time, I noticed that many people were picking up multiple to-go packages. The packaged food was always out at the counter just before or immediately upon the arrival of the picker-up, who therefore had no wait at all. The ever-refilling tea is cold, unsweetened, not weak, garnished with a generous lemon wedge, and served in a handsome Gilbraltar glass. It’s not the least of the attractions.

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