This week's reviews examine two Montrose restaurants with different approaches to food. CultureMap's Sarah Rufca samples mostly vegetarian fare at newcomer Roots Bistro. Meanwhile, the Houston Press' Katharine Shilcutt discovers a hidden gem in Italian restaurant Lucio's BYOB. On the blogs, H-Town Chow Down's Albert Nurick gets wined and dined at The Tasting Room. For an examination of what everyone liked and what didn't work, read on.
Rufca finds mostly good things at vegetarian-oriented newcomer Roots Bistro, which replaced Cafe Moustache on lower Westheimer. The restaurant's decor "hits just the right tone of casual class without feeling overly proper." As for the food, chef German Mosquera has a way with vegetables. A warm mixed bean salad "was a simple winner" and roasted red potatoes were "both interesting and palatable without the addition of cheese and/or butter." Rufca also praises the thin crust pizzas. Misses included a smoked sweet corn that was "dry and decidedly not juicy" and "a trio of lamb fajita steak bites, which were overwhemed by the porcini mushrooms they were served on and somewhat bland." She concludes by stating that she thinks "any restaurant that can make eating my vegetables this exciting is worth it."
Turning to Luco's BYOB, Shilcutt surprises herself by discovering the restaurant that's hidden in plain sight on Taft St next to the space formerly occupied by Gravitas and soon to be home to the Pass and Provisions. She praises chef Brett Maesch's for displaying "an understated confidence, whether in a perfectly roasted chicken with salty, crispy skin over a plush bed of pureed yams or a simple dinner of roasted vegetables." The chef combines French training with Midwestern roots to create dishes such as "smoked duck breast with roasted beets and an apple-hickory consommé." Although the restaurant can be crowded at dinner, Shilcutt recommends trying the restaurant at lunch when "there's an $18 three-course [menu] I find irresistible." The only fault is a crème brûlée that didn't "live up to the expectations set by Maesch's other dishes."
THE BLOGS: After a persistent campaign by The Tasting Room's social media team, Nurick leaves The Woodlands to see what former Burger Guys chef Steve Marques is up to at the Uptown Park location. Nurick samples broadly from the lunch options, including a club sandwich, potato leek soup and bacon cheeseburger. He concludes by writing "my only regret was that I didn't have the chance to discover more of the delicious flavors that were no doubt hiding somewhere in the room." High praise indeed.
· Roots makes eating your veggies exciting: New restaurant shows great promise — squash "bacon" and all [CultureMap]
· Lucio's Hidden in Plain Sight [Houston Press]
· The Tasting Room: Serious Wines, Serious Food [H-Town Chow Down]
· All The Week In Reviews on Eater Houston [-EHOU-]
Roots Bistro. [Roots Bistro/Tumblr]