Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sorrell Urban Bistro

The folks who own the well-regarded Ray’s in Fulshear have ventured inside the Loop to the former location of Ziggy’s Healthy Grill.  The restaurant has taken off like a shot, packed from its opening.  Reservations are highly suggested, at least on weekends.  They’ve done a very nice job reconfiguring the space into a warm, contemporary environment, with a large open kitchen.  There’s a bar area that includes seating for dining.

We started in the bar with a couple signature cocktails featuring sorrel — the confetti lemon drop martini and the lemon sorrel manhattan.  We enjoyed both but not sure the addition of sorrel to these classic cocktails improved matters.

Our reservation was honored on time.  Service was a little harried but nothing to complain about.  The house-made foccacia bread, served with olive oil, sundried tomato, and sorrel pesto dipping sauces, was a welcome start to the evening.

Consistent with the farm to table concept and the use of locally sourced ingredients, the menu changes regularly as the starters we tried — the ceviche cocktail, rabbit risotto, and the clams and mussels in ancho chile broth — aren’t currently listed on the website.  The ceviche was the better of the two, light and tasty. The chile broth was rich and flavorful and, to the dish’s credit, it was not overly heavy.  Just not sure it worked all that well with the seafood.  We then shared the tomato salad with local cheese; the basil oil dressing was nicely done, but the tomatoes were lacking in taste.  (It’s tough to find a good tomato, even in restaurants priding themselves in using local ingredients; the exception recently was a tomato salad at Reef.)  For an entree, we shared the pan seared flounder on barley, which was the highlight of the evening.  Piping hot, beautifully cooked, this was a great dish. 

We look forward to returning, particularly given the ever changing menu.

2202 West Alabama

The Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co.

We’d been hearing great things about this now one year old restaurant south of town.  GPS in hand, we headed down 288, landing at a modest location just off the main drag in what appeared to be downtown Alvin.  Befitting its locale, there’s nothing trendy or hip about this restaurant.  Just good food, based on local offerrings, produced by an up and coming young chef, Jason Chaney.

We tried two starters — country fried oysters and stuffed quail.  The fried oysters, which have justifiably received alot of great press, were expertly fried served on top of house cured thick slab bacon, topped with house pickled jalapenos.  Yum. Those jalapenos were so tasty, we had to ask for more.  The sausage stuffed quail was flavorful, well sauced, and very nicely done.  One of the better versions of that dish we’ve had as of late. 

There are a variety of standard menu items, and then the restaurant offers a number of meat and seafood specials, based on what’s available that day.  These items are served simply grilled or sauteed, no sauces and no sides.  The Kobe flat iron steak was absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked.  The sauteed duck breast was also perfectly cooked, but the lack of any sauce put a damper on the dish.  We requested that the chef add anything he thought would work, but nothing appeared on the plate.  The mac-n-cheese was a very good but not great rendition of this uber-popular side.

Immediately next door is an open air hamburger joint owned by the same folks.  It looked a little warm the evening we were there, but the family-friendly atmosphere likely makes this a popular destination in this small community.

We made a reservation for a Saturday night which was advisable.  Parking is right in front of the restaurant (yea, no valet!).  Our waiter was a local kid who managed just fine.  The wine choices were limited but reasonably priced.

We may not make it back soon, but it was certainly worth the trip to check it out.

113 East Sealy Street, Alvin, Texas