We dined at Coltivare on a recent Friday night. Arriving at 5 pm, opening time, ensured we didn’t have to wait to be seated as this Heights restaurant takes no reservations. Although waiting for your table in the urban garden with a cleverly concocted cocktail in hand is not necessarily a bad thing.
We began our meal with a salad of backyard lettuces and herbs dressed in a fresh lemony vinaigrette. From there we shared two dishes – a charred octopus draped over a smudge of creamy vichyssoise with a wedge of watermelon and corn on the cob drizzled with a pesto-like aioli.
The corn was easily one of the most memorable bites I’ve had in weeks. Still thinking about it. Then because I’d been craving it for months ever since hearing Houston food writer and podcaster Eric Sandler talk about it, we both ordered the Cacio e Pepe (spaghetti with black pepper). It’s stripped-down mac and cheese with minimal components but when done right, it’s delicious.
My meal was paired with a refreshing Domaine Marc Portaz Apremont from Savoie France.
Ryan Pera, the chef/owner and James Beard semifinalist, was on the line making sure the dishes came out consistently and timely. Our server was excellent. The noise level was energetic but we could hear each other easily. Go to Coltivare. Order the corn and the spaghetti with black pepper. Thank me later.