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Some First Impressions of Heights Eatery Coltivare

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Coltivare [Max Burkhalter]

Revival Market owners Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber faced some challenges when they decided to open a Heights-area 3,000-square-foot along with their new establishment. As a result, the opening of their highly anticipated Italian eatery Coltivare was delayed for almost a year. In that time, they generated much curiosity, with locals waiting to sample some of the fresh, locally sourced fare that made Revival so successful. After opening late last month, the team has already garnered much praise with just a handful of complaints. Also, a heads up, they now have their liquor license and have concluded their BYOB policy. Weber will now be debuting his cocktail program with drinks like the "Averted Gaze" (made with Amaro Abano, Cynar, lemon and Angostura). Here now, a compilation of reviews from critics to Yelpers and everyone in between.

On the pasta: "Of the pastas I tried, my favorite was an elemental spaghetti with parmesan cheese, black pepper and olive oil, all melded into a voluptuous whole by a spoonful or two of starchy pasta cooking water. It's the quality of the ingredients that made this dish shine: the fragrance of the peppercorns; the bloom of the serious parmigiano; the roundness and fruit of the olive oil. Utterly simple and perfect." [Houston Chronicle]

On the desserts: "You really can't go wrong whether you choose the pear crostata with its rustic envelope of flaky pastry or the assorted cookie plate that is served with a tiny jar of chocolate hazelnut milk for dipping and sipping. The olive oil polenta cake is mighty fine, too. It's topped with locally made vanilla ice cream, grapefruit and orange slices (because it's citrus season … in a few months, those might be replaced with Texas blueberries and peaches)." [My Table's SideDish]

On the wood-burning goodness: "Among the dishes that night, the highlights were the wood grilled chicken with pickled grapes and the pizza produced in the wood burning oven. The chicken had a crispy exterior and juicy interior with a slightly smoky flavor thanks to being cooked in a wood burning broilers. The pizza utilizes a crust that Pera and Huynh spent months developing." [CultureMap]

On the pizza: "Of the three pizzas we tried, the stinging nettles with fennel, chili, and feta was the winner for me; a perfect combination of heat and sweet. Even though the Meyer lemon and goat cheese pizza pairs two of my most favorite and least favorite ingredients (respectively), I was able to appreciate the combination--especially with the addition of salty green olives." [Houston Press]

On the no-cheese pie: "The menu made no mention of cheese on the shrimp and pancetta pizza, but typically you can expect some basic mozzarella or maybe provolone if it's not specified. When the pizza showed up without cheese I was surprised and a little dismayed (perhaps revealing my lack of knowledge about real Italian cuisine here) but willing to keep an open mind. It pains me to say this, but I actively disliked it. Not only was there no cheese but no real sauce either." [Yelp]

On the pizza toppings: "The duck was salty, savoury and chewy, as expected. The winter squash was a little sweet, reminded me a bit of sweet potatoes almost. The pesto fresh and herbal and the onions, pleasantly pungent." [Hank on Food]

On the wait times, angry Yelp edition: "Unless you are in for a very long wait...don't go! We arrived at 6:30 [and] left at 8:30 because they kept seating people that just showed up. Unfortunately they didn't tell us about their 'special app' where you can reserve a table." [Yelp]

On the wait times: "For friends who showed up at the no-reservations Coltivare on Saturday night for dinner, a quoted three-and-a-half hour wait time wasn't just excessive, it was outrageous." Weber offered some tips for avoiding the wait: "Try eating early on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, when the wait isn't so long. The restaurant opens daily except Tuesday at 5. Come in later. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; until 11 on Friday and Saturday and until 9 on Sunday. If you come an hour before closing time your wait time won't be long." [Houston Chronicle]

About the cauliflower: Try it. According to several fans, it's a "party in your mouth." [Foursquare]

· All Other Good News/Bad News Reports [-EHOU-]


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