Chronicle critic Alison Cook's three star spree (her fifth since November) continues with Etoile, the French restaurant in Uptown Park from San Diego transplant Philippe Verpiand. Cook praises the way Verpiand updates French classics and the way his wife Monica Bui manages the restaurant's service. "My more adventurous friends, who follow the country's most progressive chefs avidly, might find Étoile's menu boring .... But there's a certain satisfaction in ordering a classic in confidence that it will do honor to the genre, even if it does not re-create it in textbook fashion." [Houston Chronicle]
Katharine Shilcutt calls LA Bar "the classy man cave of seafood joints" in this week's Houston Press review. The upscale neighbor to Rajin' Cajun serves familiar Louisiana seafood dishes with friendly service to a mostly male audience. "LA Bar is comfortable without being too divey; it's neat and clean without being too uppity; and even if some of its dishes are total misses, the rest are very solid to above-average seafood entries in a coastal market that usually (and happily) will find more room for fried oysters and boiled crawfish in its dining rooms." [Houston Press]
The Blogs: Hank on Food provides a timely service with this week's comparison of king cakes from three local bakeries; the Spring location of Beaumont institution Rao's takes the crown. Urban Swank follows up a recent Press review of the Chili Shak with their own enthusiastic take. Ashli Michelle may have moved to Dallas, but she's fairly astonished by a recent meal at The Pass. Catherine Martin uses a visit to Italian restaurant D'Amico's in Rice Village to muse about the ways she failed to misbehave in high school (seriously, just click it). Finally, Daniel the Gluttonous Chinaman can't decide whether the hot dog he ate at an Aeros hockey game is good or terrible.