Date Visited: November 9, 2012
We decided we needed a good date night, so we decided to try a new spot. Hawthorne opened its doors early this year. It is a small, unassuming place in the back of a normally busy strip center. Once inside, it has the feel of a nice dinner club with a great piano player in the corner and a friendly hostess to greet you.
The first thing I noticed on entering was the large wine cellar, which I was told can hold over 10,000 bottles. Once seated, we were greeted by our waiter who handed me the wine list. This is where it gets cool…the wine list is on an iPad. You can browse the selection of wines by the glass and bottle. It encorporates a picture of the label along with a review from Wine Spectator. You can send yourself or a friend an email with the wine you are having, or if you really want to boast, post it straight to Facebook from the wine list. It is all integrated into their point-of-sale system, so no more ordering something that just sold out.
We chose the Nicholas Feuillatte “Blue Label” Brut to start our evening. It’s a delicate sparkling with notes of nut and spice on a backbone ripe or dried fruit.
With the bubbles, we ordered Beef Tartare. It was served beautifully deconstructed with the hand cut beef tenderloin topped with a quail egg in the center, surrounded by sea salt, cracked pepper, red onion, cornichon and capers. The beef was delicious and tender, and when mixed with the other items on the plate, had just the right flavor.
Moving on toward dinner, we ordered a nice Pinot noir from the selection. It was a 2010 from Penner Ash. The wine had tones of raspberry and plum that dominated the nose. The flavors of berries and anise linger on the palate.
Pam ordered the Pappardelle which is in-house prepared egg pasta with a ragù of braised beef short ribs. This dish was quite savory, and the pasta had just the right consistency which balanced the heft of the short ribs. Needless to say Pam cleared her plate.
Since it is deer season, Jeff ordered the Venison Saltimbocca which consisted of thinly sliced venison, fresh sage and prosciutto San Daniele. This was a nice dish and had good flavors but was the least inspired of the evening…a bit plain for our taste and at times chewy. Not bad, but Jeff would not order it again.
All in all this is a great place. They change the menu frequently and look to incorporate the best ingredients. The wine cellar is nice and adds to the feel of the space. Get a reservation or sit at the bar ~ either way you can’t miss.
Menu Link: http://hawthornrestaurant.com/the-menu/
3200 Kirby Drive, Suite 1600 (corner of Lake and West Main)
Houston, TX 77098