houston chowhounds had mixed experiences with houston restaurant week food and service monday, HRW opening night, but tuesday night reviews at the strip house and VOICE were better...
VERDICT: polished service, well-executed food, portions could be a little bigger, highly recommend
chowhound javapeg and i went to the strip house on a last minute whim last night. we had a lovely comfy banquette in the corner of the dining room as we requested chowhound fulmer to be our server. as so, service was amazing.
an amuse of chilled honeydew soup shots arrived at the table. they were little cups of summer. sweet, light, and refreshing.
javapeg started with the smoked potato soup which was served in a coffee cup. it was garnished with crispy crumbled bacon and a slight drizzle of chive oil and served cold like a vichyssoise. it was light yet creamy, smokey, and wonderful. the bacon really made the dish (when does it not though?). kudos to the chef for serving something not on the regular menu. i ordered the caesar salad which was pretty small and arrived with scary bionic orange croutons. i was definitely put off by the look of the whole plate, but after a bite i was content again. the dressing was garlicky with strong hints of anchovy. there was also plenty of shaved parmesan. the croutons were a good texture, crunchy but not hard, but the soup was still the real winner at the table.
for mains, javapeg was intent on ordering the 6 oz filet mignon b/c it was accompanied by black truffle cream spinach. the filet was half as thick as the cuts that are usually served which made me wary that the meat might be overcooked. it was fork tender and cooked to a perfect medium rare. i ignored the pool of bordelaise sauce it was in, but peg seemed to enjoy it. creamed spinach was heaven. charles clark was overheard calling it "crack spinach" the night before.
i ordered the seared atlantic salmon with braised escarole, runner beans and sun-dried tomato caper vinaigrette. the salmon was prepared medium rare and the vinaigrette provided wonderful acidity to counter the fattiness of the fish. the bed of escarole and beans was delicious and had such an intense smokey flavor that i kept looking for pieces of bacon in the dish, but never found any.
we ended up with 3 desserts due to a small mishap which was quickly remedied: molten chocolate cake which we kept waiting to molt. no chocolate gooeyness to be found, but it was moist and rich. not bad, but nothing exciting either. creme brulee had a lot of orange peel flavor in it. the caramelized pineapple chunk on top made it taste better, the anise spiked biscotti was a surprise. i don't like anise but i was impressed by the boldness of the idea. the caramelized apple tart with tahitian in-house made ice cream, cinnamon anglaise, and golden raisins was the winner at the table. nothing fancy, just tasted like it should.
javapeg was happy to find a 1/2 bottle of tattinger champagne on the menu which she treated me to a glass of. we both had a glass of wine to boot. it was a lovely meal that didn't disappoint: polished service, great looking dining room, and just-creative-enough dishes that were well-executed.
review by J.L.
"My bf and I were also [at Strip House] last night. Service was quick and efficient (much better than VOICE the other night). Started off with an amuse bouche-chilled shots of honeydew soup. Light and refreshing-a great way to start off the meal.
For appetizers we ordered the chilled potato soup and the roasted gold beets salad. I had some of my bf's potato soup. Creamy, with a bit of smokiness from the bacon, but nothing spectacular I thought. The gold beet salad, on the other hand, was delicious. The beets were garnished with some micro greens and dressed lightly with a peppery vinaigrette. The Stilton cheese was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the beets. I could've had another plate (or two) of this.
We both ordered the 6 oz. filet mignon with creamed spinach for our entrees. The filet was cooked a perfect medium rare (more so on the rarer side which is how we like it) with a nice black pepper crust. The creamed spinach was as usual, superb. Creamy, rich bites of deliciousness.
For dessert, we had the creme brulee and apple tart. The creme brulee had hints of orange flavor and was served with a rum-scented pineapple chunk and anise biscotti. As good as the creme brulee was, the apple tart was better. The anglaise went perfectly with the apples, which I thought were a tad too mushy for me. My one caveat with the meal is I felt the portions were a little small. My bf and I were about 85% full when we left. However, we were very satisfied with our meal-good ambience, great service, delicious food, and worth the visit."
other chowhounds share their experiences elsewhere...
VOICE @ hotel icon
VERDICT: excellent service, desserts were hit-or-miss, but don't miss it
review by K.L.
"We just got back from VOICE. Wow! Totally impressed on all fronts. Our service was excellent, our waiter was fantastic. We got there early and had a drink at the bar which included bar snacks of olives, candied nuts, and buttered popcorn. After we finished our drinks we were seated and chose our menu items.
We inquired about the amuse bouche listed on the HRW website and were told it was generally the mushroom soup however since we were ordering the mushroom soup we could get the tuna tartare in its place. Unfortunately, we wound up being charged for it separately. The tuna tartare was excellent, our first time having such a dish. Next we had the mushroom soup and the apple and blue cheese salad, both of which were excellent as well. We also ordered an appetizer of scallops which were perfect and delicious. Our waiter sneaked us a great sauvignon blanc pairing to match. For dinner, we both ordered the short ribs and truffle fries, again delicious all around. The fries were heavily scented with truffle oil and very good. The short ribs were the easy menu choice and were satisfying and delicious.
The desserts were good, our waiter brought us all three even though we only ordered the creme brulee and the chocolate cake. The 5 spice ice cream was the most interesting but a little weird. The creme brulee was good and refreshing. The chocolate cake was rich but neither was amazing. The crispy ice cream was a waste. A French grenache was paired with the short rib but we chose another French red instead, de pape, which was dustier and more complex. Overall it was wonderful and although ordering the short rib was a bit like having pot roast and mashed potatoes, all of the other courses made it far worth it.