Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mockingbird Bistro

She: We had dinner at the Mockingbird Bistro (1985 Welsh, Houston) on Friday night. It was an agreeable dinner, but it didn't knock my socks off. For the price, I'd much rather go to Mark's.

I thought the prices on the menu were quite high, so I tried to balance what I ordered and got one of the cheaper first courses available (a Caesar salad for $10) in order to get their off-the-menu fish special, which sounded good. The salad, which came out as a modest heap of large leaves of lettuce lightly coated in dressing, plus two crostini on the side, was very nice. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed in the special fish, which was a filet of cobia on top of wilted spinach, potatoes, and . . . something else, I don't know . . . surrounded by a lobster bisque and garnished with julienned zucchini and squash and a bit of crawfish. (Perhaps the chef thought crawfish served as mini lobster?) The greens and potatoes were actually quite tasty, but the fish was not a good pairing. I'd never had cobia before, and it's a perfectly acceptable fish, but I think something flakier and less meaty would have had a better mouthfeel and taste for the dish. The filet itself was fine, but not particularly flavorful, so I was somewhat disappointed with what I ordered.

For dessert, I ordered the sorbet, which was nothing to write home about.

The dinner was fine, the service good, and the ambience of the restaurant quite nice--not too loud, and not too dark--but the experience wasn't so memorable that I'd want to go there again if I had the choice. At the same time, the Mockingbird might come to mind if someone asked me for a restaurant recommendation off the beaten path for some special dinner date or event.

He: My memory of the food at Mockingbird is already fading, which tells you right there that it wasn't worth the $175 we paid for the two of us. I started with a French Onion Soup, which was good, but unremarkable, continued with a Salmon, and finished with the Apple Bread Pudding. Each course was good and satisfying, but I didn't think anything was special enough to justify the steep prices. The main dish was somewhat flavorless and the dessert was a little too sweet.

The service was a little slow after we sat down, but perfectly acceptable for the rest of the evening. The venue is very nice. Not too loud and despite being seated in front of the wine rack, we the wait staff did not disturb us much. My verdict is that the Mockingbird is a good place to go on somebody else's expense account, but there are better places to spend my own money.

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