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Houston Restaurant Week Dining Experiences


apronless
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We were a party of four at VOICE last night. They couldn't find our reservation (after confirming it the day before??), but seated us promptly anyways. The place was quiet which surprised me because I thought it would be more crowded for restaurant week. Our server didn't seem to know much about the wine pairings at all, but found out the answers to all of our questions after disappearing for 10 minutes after each. This got to be a little much as we had several questions about the wine and he would run off before we could grab him to tell him we had more questions. The manager ended up talking to us for a while about wines and doing the first pour for us when 3/4ths of us settled on buying a bottle instead of the wine pairing (we went with a bottle of what was being paired with the short ribs, the name escapes me at the moment).

We were provided with bread (first round tasted like hockey pucks! I don't know how long those had been sitting around. The second round was fresh and much better.) with a garlic paste, butter, and sun-dried tomato/olive spread. It took a while for the bread to come out and the water didn't arrive at the table for quite some time.

I had the Summer Risotto which was pretty disappointing. It tasted like regular long grain rice was used and it was not creamy at all. The teeny tomatoes in the dish were fantastic, but the corn was pretty unremarkable. I tried a bite of the bleu cheese salad and wished I had gotten that instead. The greens were very fresh and crisp. My husband reported that the bleu cheese was steller. One of us got the mushroom soup and ended up having to fight off his wife and my husband (I'm not very big on mushrooms) to be able to finish his own dish. He said the truffle cream really put it over the top.

For entrees, it was three plates of the braised short ribs and one plate of the pork loin sous vide. The entrees were delicious. The potatoes were beyond creamy and the beef had a beautiful crust and tender insides. Our friend said he didn't care of the apples on top, but I thought they complimented the celery and tangy flavors of the au jus. The pork loin was on the sweeter side and received high marks, especially the pancetta and beans served along with.

Dessert was a bit of a let down after the high of the entrees. We ended up sampling all the available choices on the HRW menu. The chocolate cake was served with a 'crispy' vanilla ice cream quenelle. The cake was ok, a bit dry on the outside and 'molten' on the inside. The ice cream was custard based with a lot of yolks and rolled in what tasted like wafer-thin fortune cookies. I liked it a lot better than the cake. The chocolate pie tasted like it had a shortbread crust that had gone kind of stale and my husband was not impressed with the rest of the pie (I just tasted the crust). He said the topping was a bit flavorless and the chocolate was unremarkable. He did like the ice cream that came with his dish though. The creme brulee was said to be 'good', but that's all I could get as a review for that dish.

The head chef came by and talked with us for a few minutes, which was nice. He was personable and open to all of our questions.

Overall it was a pleasurable dining experience. We were treated very well and left alone but not forgotton. The manager was by a few times to make sure everything was Ok throughout our meal and once our waiter got all of our wine questions figured out he seemed to get a handle on our table. The portions were very generous and the entrees were top notch, but the desserts and risotto could use a little bit of work. Next time I'd go with a salad for the first course and skip dessert entirely for the homemade ice cream I have in my freezer.

Next up, Le Mistral on Thursday. Yum.

edited for formatting.

Edited by apronless (log)
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