Bistro Alex Restaurant Weeks Experience
It’s that time of year again that all foodies crave for… it’s Houston Restaurant Weeks! A great opportunity for area eateries to show off their latest menus and for customers to sample the best of what Houston dining has to offer. Lights Camera Action was recently invited to Bistro Alex, part of Hotel Sorella at City Center, where we were treated to an amazing mix of hearty cooking and Southern hospitality.
Though the decor is progressive and modern, Bistro Alex is firmly rooted in Houston tradition, being part of the well known Brennan family of restaurants. The establishment owes its name to Alex Brennan who trained at the prestigious La Varrene Culinary Arts School in Paris. He’s brought all of the virtues of superior French culinary standards and combined them with the welcoming homestyle hospitality of the South to produce a wonderful experience for his guests.
As with most Restaurant Week menus, Bistro Alex offered a 3-course meal with 3-4 selections for each course, all for $35 with a portion of the proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank.
Appetizers consisted of a choice of a Soup of the Day, Calamari, and a Strawberry Salad. The Calamari was served with charred lemons and a spicy marinara sauce, but the highlight of the dish was that it came to the table served in a whimsical upright parchment cone. The salad was light and refreshing, topped with pecan crusted goat cheese, and of course local Texas strawberries. The Soup of the Day was a classic gumbo, which reflected the Brennan’s family Louisiana traditions. Absolutely delicious.
The entree choices were Shrimp and Grits, Fillet of Beef, Day Boat Fish, and Roasted Airline Chicken. Sticking to our desire for Southern heartiness, we chose the grits and the chicken, and were not disappointed. The grits were the best I’ve ever had, and believe me when I tell you I’ve had my fair share of grits. Buttery and smooth, they offered the perfect base for the delectable shrimp in velouté sauce and andouilli sausage. The Airline Chicken was no less spectacular. If you want hearty, this dish will do it for you. Served with pancetta, pine nuts, spinach, swiss chard, over a bed of garlic yukon mashed potatoes and lemon-thyme butter, the intenseness of the ingredients is dwarfed only by its sheer size. I had to push myself to finish this dish, but managed to make it though!
Finding room for desert was no easy task, especially given our options of Crème Brûlée, Almond and Orange Scented Tea Cake, and Dark Chocolate Cake. We knew better than to attempt a cake made from white and dark chocolate ganache after such a heavy meal. The crème brûlée was pretty standard but the peach compote was to die for. I’m not sure I can eat it without compote ever again! The tea cake was as light and fruity as we had hoped. An absolute perfect way to end the perfect meal.
The delicious evening came to an end with a visit by Chef Rolando, who explained the inspiration behind the dishes and the restaurant. A great meal with rich French influence, Bistro Alex can be an excellent pick for Houston Restaurant Weeks!