Restaurant Review of a seaside escape
A drive down our spacious Nassau Bay area right outside of Houston to the east leads you to an open-mind seeing our innovative NASA grounds. You will find a watery coast just on the other side of the road until you see a quaint little space in the corner with three red umbrella tables and a sign above this café feel that states La Poz Café French Bistro Café. The decorative iron surrounds the outside patio to encompass you in the rich atmosphere as if you’re in a real café in Paris. When you walk in, you will see everything French cultural from art to publications then you notice the beautiful couple looking to be having expressos dining through the window as a white shadowy silhouette. The mural/aura of the sweet couple sets the mood for you to join them. After enjoying the view peering in from out and out from in of this French spot to relax, you see the bright red menu ready to take you on a journey through the delicacies of one of my family’s heritages in (some still reside in France).
We began with the first course presented on a milky white hexagonal platter divided into five ramekins filled with Burgundy snails called Escargots in a green Sauce made of butter, garlic, and parsley that looked like an Aioli liquid. The grey and black snails tasted not rubbery as I would have imagined but instead tender and just like the texture one would have when enjoying somewhat demi soft ravioli filled with cheese. The presentation was quite enchanting to me so the thought that this may be a garden snail never once crossed my mind! It is truly a delicacy in France like a sweet bread may be to some.
Next up was the La Salad Nicoise consisting of mixed greens, tomato, green beans, boiled sliced potatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs, salt and pepper, brown olives, salmon, white tuna, anchovies.
The French bread was then brought out to be served as it typically does with lunch and dinner. The wine was then served. Wine was called Le Plan Des Moines, Vin Artisanal Du Rhone Cotes Du Rhone. Appellation d’Origine Protégée re’colte 2014 Red Rhone Wine. Located in the Southern Rhone Valley rich and spicy cultured by the monks ~ rich burgundy notes and smooth.
The Pate’ was a country pate’ served with pickles, tomatoes and olives on the wooden display. You can see the pieces of fragmented meats (a combination of pork and rabbit mix. To prepare this dish was or it to be slowly cooked in oven. Bacon gives flavor roasted with garlic then add the wine ~ takes all of the flavor Rabbit and other meats as well as the Providence seasoning. Country Pate is nice for a dinner party. Pate reminded me of ham because it was thick and rich yet the French Meatloaf is what the French call it.
That finishes up the first course and we are onto a bite of each of the second course which consists of three popular entrees. The Boeuf Bourguignon is essentially a beef stew served with boiled potatoes. The main huge pieces of meat and potatoes are sitting in a brown sauce that has a splash of tangy country wine to it. The potatoes are warm and filling, tender meat, carrots. Sauce elevates a blend of wines not utilized in restaurant so are poured into this dish, garnished with green parsley. Classic staple is Burgundian (meaning smothered in Burgundy wine for a hearty taste) stew comparable to an Irish Stew.
Le Roti is marinated Pork Loin served with bacon mashed potatoes, spinach and a Figues sauce. Figues sauce is a puree of shallots, garlic, and white wine butter. Figues sauce is like Figue jam, classic French sweet taste that is best with items you normally wouldn’t consider to pair it with.
The Frenchman Prize was indeed my favorite as I am a Seafood risotto lover. This beautifully presented and named dish was moist and of those things you want on your palate ~ butter and thyme to fulfill a sauce blanche. Sauce blanche can appear as a white gravy to some. Served over a creamy veggie risotto. On each side were fairly large shrimp and scallops that were so very fresh as we are close to the ocean so all seafood will most definitely be.
Duck Confit ~ wild mushrooms served with Flageolet beans and lardons in a black currant sauce and a sizable duck leg. Lardons are pieces of bacon. Lima beans shaped beans are comparable to the Flageolet ones.
Which brings us to the finale! French desserts! Tarte A La Pomme was impeccably done with that classic apple tart look on the crust and all over slightly golden glazed brown with many good-sized pieces of apple inside the baked warmth. French style tarts is a liking to apple strudel yet is thicker, more of apple pie thick. Lots of apple and cream were accompanied by Hagen daz (top shelf brand will only use) vanilla ice cream, whipping cream. The sugar dough crust is made from scratch with sugar, flour, butter, no eggs.
Crème Brulee’ is one you can get excited about tasting because it is made so special with a torch yet the cute little cup makes it adorable and dainty … making it feel much more special and personalized just for you! Traditional Caramelized Vanilla Custard is inside this sugary crisp shell that makes your taste buds dance in complex ways.
Here we now have a new favorite after dinner dish delivered in the Crepe Suzette. Orange Grand Marnier overflows gloriously over crepe flambeed. The French do not take their crepes lightly, although usually made light weight. Crème plates (a creamy dish) with small meats and sour cream are commonly done in France then the crepe is utilized as a tool on the side to scoop the cream on- a thin pancake roll dish is smothered with cream and lots of cheese on it in Normandy (perhaps creamy Brie cheese) Flambeed flaming is then required, lightened with alcohol, set on fire … a fancy presentation similar to Mexican Queso Flameado. Taste is delivered yet not the hangover since flaming burns off the alcohol. Orange taste is present, gets rid of alcohol. A crepe made from a true French person, better yet a chef is a dream come true!
The chef came out to say hello carrying porcelain 1919 Bistot Café Expresso cups and she gave a sense of why she does what she does. She grew up in Leon with a chef and one day they did not have one to which she then wondered why that is and took on the art of cooking herself she says. She did attend Art school formerly and then began cooking to merge her styles together. ‘Cooking is like an art ~ artist’s life, culinary every day, you learn.’ I can now see why the room has Contemporary modern art all around onto the walls clearly supporting local artist’s talents exhibited.
Local suppliers, European products, farmers, deliveries, and topic of small to bigger company choices for food came up. I always ask where the products came from and what was made from the restaurant right there on hand. They make all their own as they do not have anything processed. The owners used to own a bakery on Westheimer called L’Apostrophe. At times, former customers come to see their new concept and I hope some will venture to learn what they are doing now … possibly taking that relaxing drive right next to our water and why we are called Space City to visit another culinary world sure to delight and ease all of your cares as did my photographer and I. Heidi, iF Magazine’s photographer, has some art on display out here and she enjoyed taking some bites in between shoots. She really enjoyed the tart and stew most.
The chef’s husband, Yan, is an artist in his own right. He is from Toulouse and his art comes in the form of materials so the construction company hubby owns shows itself in the materials the mirror and tables are made of. He decided to build the top of them and counters yet kept table legs of former bakery. Bar accents are pieces Yan made in his own art form, namely anything with wine bottles and he is also a carpenter so the bathroom floor was redone with exceptional quality of work as a bathroom goes. You can find his structural art in pieces throughout outside the café and inside. Lighting hits all of the right spots including where it needs to highlight art or framed French magazines that say Je Suis Charlie Hebo and plaque of DE’cloration Des Droits De L’OHomme & Du Citoyen 26 Aout 1789 Fraincaise Republique coin 10 Francs 1965. Black tile on walls and brick not only do soft sounds out of a movie come out of the speakers around you, you also get to have the option of live piano bi-weekly on the weekends in an old fashioned tuned piano. Average age of diner is late 30s-early 50s for the laid-back atmosphere love décor. The waitress, Annie, tells me scenarios of some regular customers: A daughter and mother sit here for the similar feeling to Paris, they slowly take their time savoring everything by ordering one thing singly at a time to remind them of their recent trip to France. It takes them back in time to keep reliving a cherished memory. A French Canadian comes in often for ice cream with his son. One lady with her friend drops by telling stories of how her husband was around when space program started and how much she loves the visit each time they go to Johnson Space Center. A pilot comes in wearing his Space flight uniform (the nostalgic patches on their blue jumpsuit and all).
By this time, we’ve enjoyed the classical notes playing piano tunes you can get lost in. Songs like “Dream a little Dream of Me” in French and My Girl “Smile”, and “Blue Moon” melodies took you on an experience floating away in the ocean tide filled with pleasure. I can certainly see why one would like to plan a scenic drive to fill your senses and coast away to another country here.
Mon-Thu: 08:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
They do take reservations and cater onsite and offsite. lapozcafe.com