HRW weekend reviews

le mistral
verdict: n/a

the houston chowhounds decided to end houston restaurant week on a high note saving le mistral for sunday night. le mistral is personally my favorite french restaurant in town and i looked forward to checking out the new space they moved into recently. we arrived and were seated very quickly. we received the regular menu and the HRW menu supplement xeroxed on white letter sized paper. the waiter came over to take our food orders after we had time to sit, talk, get our drinks, and make some decisions after talking it over with others at the table.

when she eats ordered the double pork chop (the one cynthiamonster wrote such a glowing review about on wednesday) the waiter informed us that they were out. they actually ran out of pork chops last night and the kitchen was replacing that item with the roasted chicken on the HRW menu tonight. WHA??? no mention of the menu change by the hostess and we were just now hearing about it from our waiter a good 20 minutes after we had sat down. this did not make for happy hounds. the choices were now salmon or chicken.

well, none of us ended up ordering the HRW menu. we settled on items off the regular menu, we get our appetizers and who shows up to join us? cleverley stone! ms. HRW herself! the waitstaff pulled up a chair for her to join us and we had to explain to her that NONE of us ordered from the HRW menu. how terrible right?

so my gripes. the HRW experience at le mistral left me feeling like we were tricked into coming in. i spoke to someone over the phone earlier in the day and no mention of it was made. okay, maybe i'm pushing it to think they would tell everyone who calls them that they are out of this one menu item, but what's even worse is that the restaurant could have reprinted the HRW menu between dinner last night and tonight. and if they ran out of an item, they should replace it with something more exciting, not less exciting. yeah. we were set on pork chops so it sucked. anyway, i'll save my le mistral review to post later in the week.

other chowhounds went to...

the remington @ the st. regis hotel (review by heritoth)
verdict: good value, good food & service

"Peg, I and my two friends just returned from Remington's at the Hotel St. Regis. I liked the mixture of red anthuriums and green bells of Ireland in the large floral arrangement that greeted me upon entry and carried through the restaurant table arrangements. I wandered before dinner through the bar which is large enough to be a restaurant on its own. I was surprised to find the wicker chairs in the dining room to be surprisingly comfortable.

I found the butter served with the sourdough bread to be surprisingly piquant. Likewise, Peg found her tasting glass of Brut champagne to be unexpectedly sweet for some reason. I got a tasting glass of Napanook which would have been a better pair to the braised short ribs than the Acacia, but I enjoyed the pinot and its more affordable price. Peg and I weren't charged for our tasting glasses which were quite generous and could have been glasses on their own.

I liked the tortilla soup with its chunks of avocado although slightly smaller torillas would have been less messy to eat. I thought it was a nice touch for the waiter to serve the tortillas and then pour from a pitcher of soup at the table to keep the tortillas crunchy. My short ribs were actually one large rib, but it succulently shlumped off the bone bleached by roasting. Peg felt it had a tad too much five spice, but I'm not afraid of flavor so I enjoyed it. The mushrooms and edamame were nice but the truffle oil was understated in contrast to the truffle toasts at Dolce Vita. The tempura batter on the white asparagus was light and crisp. The plate that it was served upon was worth remarking that it was a very irregular shape.

For dessert most had the churros which were fluffy and a very good showing although lighter on cinnamon than I usually have had. We all enjoyed the mini martini glass of chocolate ganache. I preferred to eat it separately to better appreciate the taste of the churros. The lavender was not really detectable in the whipped cream, but I enjoyed the dish despite this.

Overall, everyone was satisfied with the portions and the service. I thought it was a good value (not a Chinatown value mind you but good for its category). This restaurant was not even on my radar before tonight, but perhaps now I would recommend the hotel to out-of-town guests or staycationers."

gravitas and pesce reviews here by foodprincess

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