August 19, 2011

Restaurant Review: Brasserie 19

It's that famous time of year in Houston where eating is plenty, drinking is plenty and good conversations are had. Houston Restaurant Week has been so popular that now, it's Houston Restaurant Weeks and spans the entire month of August.  Can't get better than $35 for a three course menu. Why, wait, yes it can. Donations are made to the Houston Food Bank!

A key factor in what I look for in a HRW menu is that their options should be a menu item that is on their regular menu. I want to try a restaurant that maybe I normally wouldn't go to regularly (price is typically a factor =) ) and this is an opportunity to try their famous menu items for a good price and good cause. 

Our first HRW was Brasserie 19, which is fairly new restaurant on West Gray. They are in the same shopping complex as Sur La Table and walking distance to one of my favorites, Swirll.  It's atmosphere is reminisce of cottage-y french cafe and the diners are varied. Some are dressed up for the town and others are more casual in jeans.  
Frustrating point of the night. At the bar wanting to see their wine menu. They hand me a iPad to look through their wine selection - the idiot in myself could not  get the thing to work. Several folks tried and after flagging down the bartender, he touches the screen and voila, wine menu. WHAT? So 15 minutes later, I finally have a glass.  

First course: A diver scallop with peas, basil and fennel puree. Yes, A diver scallop - one. Regardless, that one diver scallop was pretty darn delicious. Perfectly cooked and seared on both sides and tasted better without any of the puree, which while it was good on its own, it simply didn't add to the flavor of the scallop. I know I'm enjoying my scallop when I find myself cutting it into smaller pieces to have more "bites."
Second Course: Rainbow trout almondine with potatoes. Picture at the top. Can you see how big it was? See! The trout filled my entire plate it was so large. It was good, not too salty and most likely cooked in several tbspns of butter but didn't mask the taste of the fish. . The NY strip steak that Ross had was okay. I tend to like mine medium rare (more on the rare side - I need to see the red and juices!) and him medium, and the steak turned to be more on the medium side. It was a tad chewy and tough but the flavoring was good. I'd easily recommend the trout over the steak.
Dessert Course: Raspberry, peach and cucumber sorbet trio. Yes, I said cucumber sorbert and when the water gave me the options, I was a little skeptical. I'm glad he talked me into getting it because it was so refreshing (did I mention we were sitting outside?), light and tasted even better with a small piece of cantaloupe. The creme brulee was a creme brulee. Can't really go wrong, and of course, the crispy topping was the best part.
Overall, good place to try for Restaurant Week. Definitely have one person in your party order the sorbet and I promise you'll be just as surprised as me by how much you'll enjoy the cucumber sorbet. They were great and brought out frites and bread prior to dinner and refilled our water consistently.  Book your reservations early and don't sit outside - it's just too hot with this Texas heat. 

Brasserie 19
1962 West Gray
Houston, TX 77019
713. 524.1919

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