February 6th, 2008

On the road: Glass Wall

Goat cheese, arugula, endive salad

My family and celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday in Houston last weekend. Aiming at dining somewhere “different,” I chose Glass Wall restaurant in the Heights, an artsy neighorhood in Houston. I imagined an intimate setting where chef Lance Fegen, previously of well-know Houston establishments Zula and Trevisio, cooked up his creations for a few diners. Intimate the restaurant’s not. It’s not huge, but it’s not tiny. When you first enter, you see a glass wall etched with the restaurant’s name and logo dividing the bar from the rest of the restaurant. You’ll also notice how loud it is inside. The noise level is easy to forgive, however, at a place when you can eat good seasonal food at reasonable prices.

The one-page menu at Glass Wall changes regularly. It’s simple but offers a nice variety of appetizers and entrees, each followed by a wine by-the-glass pairing recommendation, a touch I loved and I’m sure many non-wine connoisseurs would appreciate. We opted for a bottle (a Robert Sinskey Four Vineyards 2004 Pinot Noir), however, from their extensive wine list — this was a special occasion.

A crispy goat cheese, endive and arugula salad starter with an orange-balsamic-sherry vinaigrette wasn’t all that inventive but was well done and tasty. More impressive were my brother’s roasted chicken wings. The tabasco-molasses glaze gave them a nice kick but enough sweetness to counter the spice. This was the only dish that the chef suggested one pair with a beer: a Belgian blanche de bruxelles, to be exact. A shrimp broth with vegetables and bacon was rich and flavorful.

My entree, trout with a smoked shrimp and red potato hash and a “tomato-parsley fondue,” was delicious. It had been a very long time since I had trout and I remembered how good it is. The fish was perfectly cooked. The mild smoky flavor of shrimp and red potato hash enhanced the flavor of the trout. The butternut-cranberry bread pudding served with the pork tenderloin that my mom and brother ordered was another highlight for me. It was sweet yet not too sweet and just a homey, nice complement to the pork. A flatiron steak with a coffee and brown sugar rub was served with a potato, arugula and gorgonzola cheese which made for an interesting and satisfying combination.

carrotcupcakes.jpg

To end our meal and celebrate, we ordered the carrot cupcakes with white chocolate from the “happy endings” menu (as they call it). Good, but not as delicious as the apple tart we also ordered, which was served with home-made vanilla ice cream and apple cider. By that time, the noise level at Glass Wall had significantly died down as the restaurant had emptied a bit. It didn’t matter, we had had a wonderful family birthday dinner, noise nothwithstanding.

[tags] houston, dining, Glass Wall [/tags]

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