Culture / Foodie Events

Houston’s Most Underrated Restaurant?

Oft-Overlooked French Spot Brings Back Truly Refined Service

BY Laurann Claridge // 02.05.16
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

Ever so discreetly this past fall, the restaurant formerly known as Table, poised in a prime spot at the edge of BLVD Place on Post Oak Boulevard where Philippe Schmit’s French eatery once reigned, took a sojourn once again to France and unveiled a stunning retourné to the Gallic land called La Table. Chef Manuel Pucha manned the range at Philippe Restaurant; astonished us at Table with his inventive, meticulously executed dishes; and remains firmly entrenched as he takes on cuisine Française again, not to mention a larger staff to contend with continuous service for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

On the first level of the civilized two-story boîte, the aroma of warm kouglofs wafts from the new petite polished bakery dubbed Macarons, which offers goodies ranging from baguettes ($3) to chocolate-studded brioche ($2.50) and pastry such as the classic gateau opera and tiny jar desserts of pot de crème and ile flottante ($5 each) to enjoy here or take away.

Further in is Marché, a bar and cozy corner banquette with piles of gingham pillows evoking the casual ease of the Provence countryside. Here, breakfast is served: decadent French toast enrobed in an almond crust ($9), quiche du jour ($7) or egg-white frittata ($11).

Chateau dining room at La Table

For lunch or a mid-afternoon wine break, partake in a Dairymaids cheese plate ($12), roasted beet salad with goat milk yogurt ($11), caramelized cheese soufflé with parmesan foam ($16) and entrées of spiced tuna niçoise ($26) and chicken paillard ($26).

Up the grand center staircase are dozens of glossy books from luxe French publisher Assouline, which has sanctioned the soaring dual space as its first Houston bookshop. While the weighty tomes gathered en masse add to the warm residential sensibility, you’ll feel cosseted in the cool blue-hued dining room dubbed Chateau, its interior (like the entire space) an elegant reinvention created by the New York firm Dekar Design and led by management firm Invest Hospitality and CEO Alex Gaudelet.

Here you can dine on a two-course luncheon prix-fixe menu ($24), three courses at dinner ($36) or à la carte under the soft light of artist Matthew Shively’s porcelain orb lighting installation. The approachable wine list offers worldly options with precious prices but entices many more with $30, $40 and $50 selections.

Tableside service, a relic of the distant past, is revived here as a sparkling silver guéridon is wheeled about the room — ditto for the petit fours, which are served after the meal from a Christofle porte mignardises trolley.

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