First taste @VallonesHouston

From the department of “everyone should have my job”…

Posting in a hurry from the road today but just had to share these images from my first meal at Vallone’s, my friend and client Tony’s new restaurant in Houston. It opened on Sunday…

best lobster roll

Lobster rolls… These were off the charts…

onion ring tower

Onion rings… Tony and his partners, chef Grant Gordon and GM Scott Sulma, are having fun with the steakhouse canon… The restaurant — with its 55-day aged steaks, etc. — is definitely for heavy-hitters but the menu is also wonderfully playful and creative…

caesar salad

This was one of the best Caesar salads I’ve ever had (and I’m a huge Caesar fanatic). Tony told me they do it with Pecorino instead of Parmigiano Reggiano. Brilliant!

valdostana veal chop

I’ll be eating a Vallone’s a number of time before year’s end and so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample the steaks. But last night the team wanted me to try the Valdostana, a New York-sized veal chopped stuffed with fontina and Prosciutto di San Daniele and topped with mushroom. This was ridiculously good…

creamless creamed spinach

“Creamless” creamed spinach. I have no idea how Chef Grant got this to be so creamy! Another brilliant interpretation of the steakhouse canon (and great for a leafy-green-starved, middle-aged wine blogger who suffers from Jewish boy stomach).

langlois chateau rose

Langlois Chateau rosé by the glass was superb, very fresh and bright, but with just enough savory character. Great wine. We also drank Arnot-Roberts “north coast” Syrah. GM Scott is always trying to get me to taste “outside of my comfort zone” and he always comes up with a food-friendly California wine that I dig. The tannin in it was aggressive when it was first opened, but as it aerated it sang with the veal chop… notes of ripe red fruit and zinging acidity… fantastic pairing…

all american apple pie

Tony insisted that I taste the apple pie. I can’t reveal the secret of the crust. You’ll just have to come and taste it yourself.

best banana pudding recipe

The banana pudding was ridiculously good. It’s so rare that you get to taste a classic southern dish like this made entirely from scratch and not using any brand name products. I’m not a big sweet eater buy my dinner companion and I found ourselves dipping in at the same time, eliciting cries of “get a room” from the staff…

Super fun evening… Thanks again, Tony!

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