Restaurants / Openings

Neiman Marcus’ Beloved Restaurant is Back — and So Is the Underrated Monkey Bread

Mariposa Cafe's Quiet Return Shouldn't Go Under the Radar

BY // 04.15.21

The reopening of the Mariposa cafe in the Galleria’s Neiman Marcus, following an extended COVID-19 shutdown, has been one of Houston’s better kept secrets. Ladies and gents, it’s back! Along with the seductive monkey bread and strawberry butter, the secret recipe chicken broth and many of the other menu items that have made the chic dining arena a fave among lunching ladies, shopping couples and solos, who claim a perch at the bar.

I am clearly late to the party, in large part because, like many, I haven’t done much in-person shopping in the last year. In fact, on a Saturday a few months ago, my husband and I were yearning for that swell clubby feeling, the perfect service and the yummy menu offerings. But no, we said to ourselves, the Mariposa is closed. Wrong.

The haven for civilized, white tablecloth lunching returned several months ago.

So it was with anticipation that we sauntered into Neiman’s for lunch on a recent weekday. The tables were widespread imparting an unfamiliar feeling of emptiness. The bar stools were missing, until further notice we were told. But once seated at our table for two and the restaurant began to fill with fashionable ladies, we welcomed the road back to normalcy.

As might be expected, the menu is somewhat limited but the favorites are there. The tortilla soup, the crab salad and the ionic mandarin orange soufflé. For how many ladies luncheons over the years has this confection of the soufflé served with chicken salad provided sustenance for special event planning sessions?

Perhaps feeling somewhat contrarian on this day, we ordered the NM chicken salad sandwich on croissant with regular fries and the NM burger with chipolte mayonnaise on brioche with a side of truffle fries. While we passed on adult libations, the full bar is open.

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Mariposa Neiman Marcus Houston
Chicken salad on croissant and house fries light up the pandemic-limited menu at Neiman Marcus’ Mariposa cafe in Houston.

The pièce de résistance of the meal was the famed NM chocolate chip cookie, grand enough to give Tiny Boxwood’s a run for its money.

And then there is the takeout option for which we will surely return. That mysteriously delicious chicken broth, chicken tortilla soup, chicken salad, tuna pecan salad and lobster salad are available by the pint. Takeout bonus: the monkey bread and strawberry butter sold by the half dozen and the chocolate chip cookies sold by the half dozen.  Sealed 8-ounce pre-mixed cocktails are also offered for takeout.

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