Houston Rockets v Portland Trail Blazers

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When NBA TV commentator Ro Parrish watched James Harden‘s warmup routine up before the Houston Rockets’ Monday night game versus the Los Angeles Lakers, and he remarked, “James Harden definitely had a pregame meal,” Parrish may have known something viewers did not. Although “The Beard” would end up saying some unflattering things about his team the next night and packing his bags for Brooklyn soon thereafter, he may have also been putting some finishing touches on his new restaurant, Thirteen. The eatery is named for Harden’s No. 13 jersey, which will continue to be his number with the Nets, and it is located in H-Town’s Midtown.

“Our entire staff and team are looking forward to providing top-notch service and bringing a one-of-a-kind dining experience to Houston,” spokeswoman Sherrie Handrinos shared via email. “We are looking forward to sharing our extensive menu and beautiful restaurant with the city.”

Some of the dishes include fries spiced with Old Bay and drenched in Maryland crab cream sauce, deep-fried red snapper with a “brown stew” broth; and a decadent offering called the “Sun Devil,” which is creamed collard greens-topped roasted oysters topped with candy bacon, and so named in homage to Harden’s college basketball career at Arizona State University. Executive chef Tobias Dorzon looks forward to the challenge, saying, “There’s always kinks with any restaurant opening, but my staff is ready to impress.”

But although the restaurant has not yet officially opened, Dorzon and the staff of Thirteen certainly have their work cut out. Reviewers have already begun leaving comments on Google, and they are not mincing words. One Houstonian even humorously mocked Harden’s parting words and wrote, “This restaurant can’t be fixed, it’s just not good enough.”

In any event, Harden’s voracious appetite off the court may not continue to translate so well on the court with his move to Brooklyn. By playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets now have three of the top ten active players with the NBA’s highest usage rates.

Let’s see if “The Beard” pays a visit to Thirteen for some comfort food on March 3, when he’s scheduled to return to Houston with his new team.