Wednesday, July 8, 2009


5555 Washington Ave
Houston TX
Tuesday - Friday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Small Plates $9 to $18
Saturday - Sunday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
In new construction this magnificent restaurant evokes an Old World European style with a modern sensibility. The hot thing these day are small plates i.e. tapas like portions meant to be shared. Houston has a number of fine restaurants that do this. This establishment is one of the best. I basically ran through a number of them and never made it to the big plates.
First off a marvelous breadbasket hit the table. Fantastic artisanal bread with whipped butter. I ordered some “Hand cut Serrano ham with oil cured Manchego”. This is a Spanish ham along the lines of proscuitto and a sheep’s milk white cheddar like cheese. Excellent match as the pigs are feed on acorns so the ham reflects that and the cheese contains certain nuttiness. Next out was the sole reason I was here, “Roasted bone marrow with Maldon salt”. Accompanying the four marrowbones was toasted crostini and marinated red onions. I scooped the still warm marrow out of the bone and spread it on the crostini. Then I topped with some onion and salt. The salt is an English sea salt with large crystals that give a salty crunch to the operation. This bite contained crispy, buttery, unctuous, salty, vinegary and sweet, my favorite flavors. As they say, to die for. Next up “foie gras bon bons served with house made seasonal jelly”. It consisted of a piece of foie gras coasted in breadcrumbs and fried. To eat roll the ball in the jelly (satsuma at that time) and pop in your mouth. First up a nice citrus flavor, then crisp texture, then melted flavorful fat with a solid core of duck liver, a wondrous bite for fat lovers. This is growing on me.
“Roasted Berkshire pork belly with Steen's pure cane syrup” hit the table next. Squares of belly with crisp skin, tender meat, and melting fat all covered with the slightly sulphur partly molasses taste and sweetness of the syrup. This constitutes a “pork fat rules” delight. They use sharpen bones as toothpicks, simple scrumptious. Now a clunker, “Crisp lamb sweetbread tossed with tomato, onion and mint. The flavor was there but it was chewy and sinewy. I suspect they had not been cleaned properly. The “House cured gavalax (salmon) with a salad of pickled red onion, parsley, cilantro, and capers” proved rich and silky with strong fish flavors. I suspect this was because the gray fat had not been trimmed. I however like fish with strong flavors so this was not a deterrent to me. Lastly “Roasted lamb stuffed piquillo peppers“. A small red pepper somewhat spicy stuffed with shredded meat. The rich lamb played well against the piquancy of the pepper. I got three however in one the lamb seemed very dry and just inedible.
I ended up with “Sticky Toffee pudding with St Arnold’s Spring Bock ice cream. This basically is a date nut cake soaked in caramel sauce accompanied by a beer-based ice cream. The sweet sticky caramel infused cake matched well with the malty and slightly hoppy ice cream.
I highly recommend this establishment if this stuff turns you on. A magnificent feast except for a few glitches

No comments: