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[Houston] laidback manor


FoodMan
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Ok everyone, we all followed closely chef Rucker's opening of Laidback Manor! Now it is open! Please post your dining experiences on this thread.

For a look at what the menu looks like and other info about Laidback Manor, visit : www.laidbackmanor.net.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  • 1 month later...

Went there on Saturday, 03/04 and had the “Voyage”, the ten-course sampler:

Pickled tomato, black olive

Miniature monte cristo

Cucumber salad, carrot sorbet

Oyster & potato soup, white truffle foam

Yellowfin tuna “crudo” with fennel and honeydew melon sorbet

Foie gras panna cotta, peppermint & ginger sorbet

Marinated salmon roe, pickled jicama

Veal sweetbreads, sweet onion tortellini, onion consommé

Confit of Atlantic Salmon, shrimp “panzanella”, curry froth

Hill Country Quail, puree of kumqat and sumac berry, petit vegetables

Lightly smoked beef strip loin, puree of mushroom and bacon, shallot confit, cardamom reduction

Mint infused rice pudding, lavender biscotti, mint bubbles

Roquefort blue cheese “rilette”, dried strawberries, honey granules

A fun and interesting evening. Highlights were the quail, the sweetbreads (everyone at our table fretted about these but enjoyed them immensely), the oyster & potato soup with truffle foam, and the assorted canapes at the beginning, most especially the monte cristo.

I’ve never been able to have food like this before but know that it’s all the rage elsewhere, and I’m glad that Houston, in my book an all-too-unsung dining destination, has its own version as well. Definitely one to watch in the coming months.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Walked over a couple weeks ago from my office for lunch - absolutely fantastic. Great service, good atmosphere, pretty quick, too.

I had the steak salad (delicious) and my colleague had a risoto appetizer and the venison burger.

Very reasonable prices for the quality of the food.

Am headed back for dinner soon-

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  • 1 month later...

I had the pleasure of dining at laidback tonight.

Here are some of my stream of consciousness thoughts, which is the only way I can write.

The wife was at a baby shower and my attempt at doing the Cinco de Mayo thing didn't fare well. I tried out the new El Patio near Spec's downtown, but left after only a little while. Although, I did start the day with a terrific plate of Enchiladas Potosinas at a Stafford taqueria for lunch.

I think that, had I just ordered just one entree off the menu I would not have been as pleased as I ended up being, by doing "the voyage".

This is a place where one should eat slowly and savor every little surprise. And I did have some favorites. The duck was great, the substitute of grilled scallops for the egg dish (that I declined) was great, the flatiron steak was great. At one point I decided that I would eat these tapa-sized entrees with my fingers and that was a good decision.

There was this dill puree that melted in my mouth, definitely the winner of the evening, but, I'm afraid only because I did not mix in the goat cheese that it came with. The cheese would have overpowered it.

As I slowly made my way through the dishes I realized that I would be perfectly full. As the Brits say, I would have had an elegant sufficiency.

This isn't a good place to come to if you're super hungry, but if you plan it as a one event evening and take your time with everything you will be rewarded. Kind of like jazz, you let everything just flow over you, intellectualize a little but mainly just go with the flow as each dish follows the last.

Now, hats off to the pastry chef. The desserts were wonderful. Especially loved the semi-freddo caramel gelato with little bitty popcorn pieces and a chocolate ganache that was intense and not too sweet.

I would come back just for the desserts.

Randy's mom was there and we got to chat about chicken enchiladas which was fun. And, she gave me her recipe for jalapeno cheesecake.

The meal, with bottled water, tax and tip came to $100.

Edited by Jay Francis (log)
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  • 1 month later...

I'm headed to Houston this weekend, and my wife is pushing hard for Laidback. We haven't been there before, and I'm curious if it really does live up to the hype. A quick menu browse on their website sounds quite a bit along the lines of Keller, Achatz, et al. Having dined at Alinea (Achatz) twice, I would be very impressed if Laidback does manage to pull it off.

Anyone care to comment?

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I'm headed to Houston this weekend, and my wife is pushing hard for Laidback. We haven't been there before, and I'm curious if it really does live up to the hype. A quick menu browse on their website sounds quite a bit along the lines of Keller, Achatz, et al. Having dined at Alinea (Achatz) twice, I would be very impressed if Laidback does manage to pull it off.

Anyone care to comment?

well take care of you, come on in!

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well take care of you, come on in!

Gotta tell you, Chef, I'm having a really hard time making up my mind on this. Here's the deal: I'll be in town Saturday through Tuesday for the food show. On Saturday it'll be just me and my wife (possible adding a co-worker or two, who knows). We're fans of the gastro-tech style that you seem to be into, but my tastes lately have been veering toward cleaner, Alice Waters-inspired food. That being said, I've already made a reservation for t'afia, where I had a great meal last year that matched the afore-mentioned Waters-style. If it were possible for me to do both yours and Ms. Pope's, that would be the ideal situation, but for just the one meal with my wife, I'm leaning more in her direction. Unless your schedule is changing for the restaurant show, both laidback and t'afia appear that they'll only be available to me on Saturday night...

So there's the dilemma! I was hoping for some feedback from egulleteers, but looks like you and I are the only two posting on this forum at the moment...

:wacko:

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Can you go to t'Afia for lunch tomorrow (Friday)? That 3-course menu is always great and you can get in easily. You could also go the Farmer's Market there on Saturday AM and have the chilaquiles (sp) that the chef prepares for people to eat or her scones, biscuits, or egg sandwich.

I haven't been to LM, but it's next on our list for big dining night (after Chez Nous tomorrow!) but I have had the tasting menu at t'Afia 2X and I am always not totally happy with the wine pairings (they are all from Texas, keeping in the theme). Some are fairly good but a couple are always not that good. The food has always been dynamite, though.

Beans, are reservations hard to get at LM?

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Can you go to t'Afia for lunch tomorrow (Friday)?  That 3-course menu is always great and you can get in easily.  You could also go the Farmer's Market there on Saturday AM and have the chilaquiles (sp) that the chef prepares for people to eat or her scones, biscuits, or egg sandwich.

I haven't been to LM, but it's next on our list for big dining night (after Chez Nous tomorrow!) but I have had the tasting menu at t'Afia 2X and I am always not totally happy with the wine pairings (they are all from Texas, keeping in the theme).  Some are fairly good but a couple are always not that good.  The food has always been dynamite, though.

Beans, are reservations hard to get at LM?

Not hard to get, but the weekends can fill up quickly. We always have chef's tables on the weekends and I tend to leave a few spots open in case in gets real busy. We are a small restaurant with a small staff and I dont ever want to extend ourselves. Tuesady through Thursday we always have available tables, plus its a bit slower so I can interact with the guests more. Hope to see you all very soon!

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Can you go to t'Afia for lunch tomorrow (Friday)?  That 3-course menu is always great and you can get in easily.  You could also go the Farmer's Market there on Saturday AM and have the chilaquiles (sp) that the chef prepares for people to eat or her scones, biscuits, or egg sandwich.

I haven't been to LM, but it's next on our list for big dining night (after Chez Nous tomorrow!) but I have had the tasting menu at t'Afia 2X and I am always not totally happy with the wine pairings (they are all from Texas, keeping in the theme).  Some are fairly good but a couple are always not that good.  The food has always been dynamite, though.

Beans, are reservations hard to get at LM?

we have been working very hard on the wine list and now have a very nice selection of American, Spanish, and French wines... come check it out - PLEASE

when any of you call for reservations, please let the person you speak to know that your a member of egullet. Its always nice to know

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Can you go to t'Afia for lunch tomorrow (Friday)?  That 3-course menu is always great and you can get in easily.  You could also go the Farmer's Market there on Saturday AM and have the chilaquiles (sp) that the chef prepares for people to eat or her scones, biscuits, or egg sandwich.

I haven't been to LM, but it's next on our list for big dining night (after Chez Nous tomorrow!) but I have had the tasting menu at t'Afia 2X and I am always not totally happy with the wine pairings (they are all from Texas, keeping in the theme).  Some are fairly good but a couple are always not that good.  The food has always been dynamite, though.

Beans, are reservations hard to get at LM?

That's a pretty great recommendation. I need to check on times, but I'll get into Houston some time before noon on Saturday, so the farmer's market might be great to check out (nice spelling, by the way!). FYI: I did NOT do the wine pairings--I created my own by splitting glasses--they were very cool about letting me do that. (As much as I try not to be a wine snob, pretty much every Texas wine I have tried so far has just not hit the mark on multiple levels.) When presented with a great by the glass list, I usually take care of pairings myself. Wonder how the laidback wine list is...not posted on the snazzy website.

Still weighing my options, though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm from San Antonio, but my family and I will be in Houston next weekend and they put me in charge of finding a "nice place to eat". With very limited research, it looks like Laidback Manor and t'afia are the top two contenders so far.

First of all, I'd ask how these two restaurants compare directly to one another, although I imagine this is the kind of question that is asked on these boards quite often, and perhaps a little more research can help me out with that.

I was also curious how much "The Treatment" menu is at LM? The 10-course menu seems reasonably priced to me (someone who cut his fine dining teeth in NYC, so thankfully there is not much sticker shock here in TX :raz: ), and "The Treatment" really sounds like an amazing experience. Has anyone had the opportunity to try that menu yet? How was it? How long did it take?

Also, has anyone sat at the chef's table? As an avid home cook (yes, an eG member who loves to cook...shocking, I know :wink: ), I definitely look for any and every opportunity to watch the kitchen in action.

Chef Rucker, perhaps you might even have a different suggestion as to how one might best experience what your restaurant has to offer. There are so many variables that are going into choosing this restaurant (3 big eaters versus one small appetite....3 that enjoy "fine dining" versus one that has yet to be introduced to it, etc) that I just want to be sure I am making the right choice.

P.S. Any other advice to help me plan out a wonderful meal for my family and I would be greatly appreciated. I know San Antonio and NYC extremely well, but the Houston dining scene is totally foreign to me. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

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I'm from San Antonio, but my family and I will be in Houston next weekend and they put me in charge of finding a "nice place to eat".  With very limited research, it looks like Laidback Manor and t'afia are the top two contenders so far. 

First of all, I'd ask how these two restaurants compare directly to one another, although I imagine this is the kind of question that is asked on these boards quite often, and perhaps a little more research can help me out with that. 

I was also curious how much "The Treatment" menu is at LM?  The 10-course menu seems reasonably priced to me (someone who cut his fine dining teeth in NYC, so thankfully there is not much sticker shock here in TX :raz: ), and "The Treatment" really sounds like an amazing experience.  Has anyone had the opportunity to try that menu yet?  How was it?  How long did it take? 

Also, has anyone sat at the chef's table?  As an avid home cook (yes, an eG member who loves to cook...shocking, I know  :wink: ), I definitely look for any and every opportunity to watch the kitchen in action.

Chef Rucker, perhaps you might even have a different suggestion as to how one might best experience what your restaurant has to offer.  There are so many variables that are going into choosing this restaurant (3 big eaters versus one small appetite....3 that enjoy "fine dining" versus one that has yet to be introduced to it, etc) that I just want to be sure I am making the right choice.

P.S.  Any other advice to help me plan out a wonderful meal for my family and I would be greatly appreciated.  I know San Antonio and NYC extremely well, but the Houston dining scene is totally foreign to me.  Thanks in advance for any and all help.

Monica and I have two different restaurants. Tafia is known for their un-tampered with cuisine and me on the other hand, I love to tamper! The menu selection here is simple. For dinner there are 4 options, a la carte, 5 course menu $45, 10 course $70, and my chef's table is $135. I like to think the best way to enjoy my place is to do the tastings. The chefs table is a great way to dine. Its fun and private and the kitchen serves you. I hope to see you this weekend! Cheers!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It looks like my wife misplaced my notes from my recent meal here. That being said we had a wonderful time. The food was very good and the waitresss who happened to be a sommelier as well and took great care of us. I think in all we got 15 courses and wine progression for $120-130 per person. I thought it was an excellent value. I enjoyed the dinner as much or more than my recent experince at Noe. The highlights of the meal were the textures tomatoes with a way better than I thought it would be olive ice cream, mushroom "fois gras" on a bed of sauteed leeks, banana "smoothie with beet caramel and salmon roe, coq au vaugn ravioli, beef dish that escapes me becuse I think I might have been on my 8th glass of wine and contrary to the chron's review an excellent "fried" fish item.

I really like that Randy took the criticism from Cook well, it shows that he is tough and willing to learn even if she were wrong about anything. The food here is good, and the value is better then anything else in Houston IMO. I wish I had better notes or better memory, but please take a que from me and hit lm as soon as you can.

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  • 1 month later...

this morning, i spoke to someone at laidback manor who said that the restaurant is closed as of yesterday, 9/12/06. he said that it may be relocated to uptown Houston in 3 months.

having just had my first food of this sort at wd-50 a couple of weeks ago, i was excited to come back and try this restaurant, but i missed my window.

are there any other restaurants in texas that are working with molecular cuisine?

viva,

hank

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Randy Rucker, chef/owner of Laidback Manor, announced in late August that he and his partner (his mother, Bootsie) are selling their

downtown restaurant to entrepreneur Sonu Lalvani. They will stay open for business as Laidback Manor through the end of September. Rucker is optimistic about the future and is scouting neighborhood locations.

That was on MyTable's side dish.

Though I agree on the Blackbird comment, (though I personally think an Avec here would be a huge hit), Chef Rucker is really into what he has been doing. I don't see him changing it too awfully much. Startups are awfully hard to maintain, I'm sure he'll take this experience for the better in his next place.

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I was told by the former sous chef that it closed this past Tuesday.

I left Laidback at the beginning of summer to be able to concentrate on school better for the summer. I now just started at another place. Interestingly enough, I think most if not all of us Laidback alums except for Randy have ended up at the same place.

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