While the B&B in the restaurant’s name is for proprietor Benjamin Berg and his great-grandfather, who was a New York butcher, it could stand for big and bodacious. Patrons have a choice of drinks and dining in 5 spaces – the downstairs or upstairs bars and dining rooms or the rooftop patio. The rooftop patio has been engineered to deal with Houston’s heat and humidity with a louvered cover and a soon to be installed AC system. The downstairs butcher shop is also available for events. The almost century-old building has terrific views of Houston’s knock out skyline.
On a Saturday night, we joined some friends and what seemed like most of the city for the Houston Restaurant Week’s menu. All HRW items also appear on the regular menu. We ordered the iceberg wedge, B&B steak house salad and the brisket ravioli.
The steak house salad consists of a layered tower of tomato, sliced filet mignon, onion jam, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The tomato was luscious and the onion beautifully caramelized but the filet resembled a disk of Canadian bacon with about the same texture and the vinaigrette was ho-hum. But hold on, things look up on the next course.
We all ordered the 10 oz filet because we can do the math and at $46 on the regular menu, the filet looks super attractive on the 3 course $45 HRW menu. Plus, who doesn’t like a perfectly prepared steak with a choice of simply grilled, Au Poivre sauce or Roquefort sauce? 3 of our 4 steaks were cooked as ordered and the one which was still mooing was returned to the broiler with apologies and a smile. The steak’s seared peppery crust was a terrific contrast to the tender inside. The nicest surprise was the corn soufflé which tasted like the love child of creamy polenta and a corn muffin topped with honey.
We finished the meal with New York cheesecake, carrot cake and a chocolate mousse cake. The chocolate cake is a chichi cousin to the Hostess hohos from back in the day with its layers of dark chocolate ganache, airy mouse and spongy cake.
The restaurant is participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks with a 3-course dinner menu for $45 and a 2-course brunch menu for $20. Last year, B&B Butchers was the top contributor to the Houston Food Bank at $78,000. This year the restaurant is hoping to top $85,000. Help them help the food challenged in Houston, go for the steak and stay for the corn soufflé.
Spotlight on: The Executive Chef
Are you fascinated by chefs and think of them as creative rock stars of the kitchen? Well, I do. So this week we are adding a feature to the restaurant review and it’s called “Spotlight on: The Executive Chef”. Here we will ask questions of our favorite chefs to learn a little more about them and maybe pick up some useful tips for the home chef.
Meet Berg Hospitality Group’s Chief Executive Chef Tommy Elbashary (formerly the Executive Chef of B&B Butchers). His impressive bio is available on the B&B Butchers website but here we go deeper:
LGG: One ingredient you can’t live without right now?
Chef: It is between olive oil, butter or garlic – the three essentials!
LGG: Favorite kitchen tool?
Chef: A sharp knife
LGG: How do you organize all your recipes?
Chef: I organize them in a database by category (i.e. cold sauces, hot sauces)
LGG: With which celebrity chef would you enjoy cooking?
Chef: Julia Child
LGG: Best advice for the home cook?
Chef: Read the recipe and get the general idea of what to do but put your own spin and flavor on it – it will make you proud.
11am-11pm Monday to Wednesday
11am-1am Thursday to Saturday
1814 Washington Avenue