October 5th, 2011

Sorrel Urban Bistro: Brisk Service Brings the Unmistakably Fresh

In 5 Words: Varying, Crisp, Sweet, Tender, Green

Saturday brought the first cool front, meaning the official start of the Houston fall. Like most, I couldn’t wait to get back outdoors, so with the hopes of finding outside seating I set off. As I blindly followed my outdated Garmin to Ziggy’s, I stumbled onto one of their old locations which now holds the unassuming Sorrel Urban Bistro. After taking a seat, I was pretty happy with my mistake. The patio was inviting, as was the staff.

As I sat sipping my water, I desperately tried to figure out what I was going to get. Sometimes decisions don’t come easily. On this day, it was pushing a sled uphill through mud. No matter. A fella carrying bread came to our table and delivered a piece to each of us. Between our plates, he placed a compartmented container with two dipping pastes and olive oil. The bread had the texture of cornbread, but the color and taste of a sweet bread. I’d easily have a few pieces more. Our waiter took our order, lending his allegiance to my pick.

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I ended up going for the Seared Elk Slider on House Bread with Dana Blue and Blue Berry Jam and Sweet Potato Chips. The elk was juicy. The bread was sweet. The blue cheese and jam a perfect contrast. It would seem like a lot of flavors at once, but somehow they were each given their due time in tasting.

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Another eager patron at my table went with the Seared Tuna on Local Greens and Fresh Corn Salad. Fortunately, I was related to everyone within reach, tasting each others’ food was expected. The tuna was perfectly cooked on the outside with its pure flavor left intact in the center. The greens and corn salad were about what I would have expected. A sweet taste that I would come back for on another day.

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The House Cured Salmon with Grilled Endive Salad also found a taker (and a handful of testers, of course). The salmon was prepared to perfection—the natural flavor effortlessly prominent. The endives, completely foreign to me until that lunch, were reminiscent of bok choy. Maybe not something I’d hope for in my Christmas stocking, but in no way offensive.

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But the envy of most everyone at the table was he who ordered the Roasted Brisket with Grilled Eggplant, Crisp Leeks and Natural Jus. The meat could’ve been cut with a fork and juicy enough to require more than few pieces of that bread in sopping up the excess. Somehow it was handily toppled by the leeks. That unique taste in conjunction with all the other delectable flavors on the plate—delightful!

With all parties pleasantly satisfied and an afternoon along Buffalo Bayou patiently waiting, it was time for the check. It came quickly, but I don’t know that I’d have minded a slow turnaround. With the open patio, flamenco music just audible, and the dessert menu tempting, I could’ve easily stayed longer.

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Where2202 West Alabama, Houston, TX 77098
What – It’s fresh. It’s a bistro. It’s healthier food. Can we call it American?
Wear – Shower and dress as if you’re eating lunch with either your parents or your significant other’s parents
How much – $5 to $14 for lunch, expect more at dinner
Hours – Restaurant Hours: Closed Mondays | Tue.-Sat. Lunch: 11am-3pm | Tue.-Thurs. Dinner: 5pm-10pm | Fri. & Sat. Dinner: 5pm-10:30pm | Sunday Brunch: 10am-3pm
WebWebsite; Facebook; Twitter

— Richard

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