The Houston Press' Kaitlin Steinberg heads to Midtown French restaurant Artisans: She finds that chef Jacques Fox opts to find the best ingredients, whether they're local or not. She also writes that the $79-Chef's Menu offers "classic French food with the occasional continental nod and presentations reminiscent of what might be taught in a fine-dining class for burgeoning chefs." Overall, Steinberg concludes: "At Artisans, I'm liable to adopt the same bon vivant attitude as the former queen of France herself. Let them eat cake (and imported sea bass and expensive cuts of beef)? Don't mind if I do."
The Chron's Alison Cook awards Bada Bing! Pizzeria on star: She admits that "with a corny name like that and an eccentric mishmash of outdoor tables and chairs set up on the sidewalk, I had never once thought to venture in." Cook was pleasantly surprised with the calzone, which "torn apart and dipped into a side dish of bright marinara" was "splendid stuff." She concludes that if she "lived nearby, I'd be there a couple of times a week."
More reviews: Urban Swank's Joanna O'Leary heads to Dua, which used to be Mo Mong: "The food is more focused, with a menu that specializes in 'traditional Vietnamese family recipes.' So, as you might expect, there's no shortage of pho, banh mi, and vermicelli bowls on hand for those craving straight-forward Vietnamese fare." [Urban Swank] Katharine Shilcutt offers her first impressions of Kevin Naderi's new Heights-area restaurant Lillo & Ella: "The entire menu at Lillo & Ella follows the 'pan Asian street food' bent that incorporates influences from all over East Asia—and from Houston itself." [Gastronaut] Kaitlin Steinberg shares her thoughts on her first Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, which she tried at Geno's: "Each sandwich is about a foot long and is overflowing with chopped steak and melted cheese. In the case of my friend's sandwich, the melted cheese was actually cheese whiz." [EOW]