Went to Riel with some friends for dinner...
Somehow, all in the dinner party had some anticipation of American French fusion cuisine, but at first glance at the menu, we were scratching our heads.
If anything it's more Gulf Coast, Japanese fusion, with no trace of French.
They have a full bar, so whatever your poison, they probably have. They also have a very creative mixology menu...
Heard a lot about the carrots, so got one to try. They have obviously carrots, cardamom honey, those powder you see are hazelnuts, there's raisin in there. It was ok... not as great as lot of people spoke of.
Tempura Cauliflower with kimchi hot sauce, pretty good, not too heavy or too much batter. I would get it again.
Gulf Fish Karaage, which was better than it sounded. It was very much fish nuggets...
Got the oyster from Alabama, which was not grainy and pretty smooth with pickled granita in the mix. Not too heavy-handed, pretty nice going down.
This is the Snapper Crudo, which has prosecco, citrus (which makes it that much fresher), citrus of sorts and fennel. I'd get this again.
Duck breast with bok choy, turnip (it was a tad hard), sweet potato pureed. This was pretty good, good enough for us to get another order. It was well done, flavored well and not at all dried... well done dish!
Gulf Shrimp with kale chip, hot sauce, it was amazing fresh and huge. I don't mind getting this one again.
There were only 2 desserts that night, so we got both to share. This is the Nanaimo Cake, which was a flourless brownie, nuts, with coconut ice cream. Sadly, the ice cream was good, the cake was too thick even for a sweet tooth like me. It was harder than it looks... was hoping for something nice and easy to cut and share. The layers in between the cream is hard.
Sticky Toffee Pudding... frankly, I rarely meet any sticky toffee pudding that I do not like. That said, this one was exceptional. It has obviously the pudding with fois gras torchon, and of course the toffee. OMG, the warm toffee with a piece of the pudding was delicious... good for your soul and yummy for your tummy. I'd get this one again.
Overall, our server was green, luckily the manager as close by to educate us and introduce the dishes. Our second order of duck wasn't as good as the first, not sure how to explain that. That said, as you can see the dishes are small, so it really is suitable for tapas style. Order and share, the prices are reasonable for the quality of food. That said, not everyone of the dishes are winners. So, as they change their menu on a regular basis, you can come back and try another dish.
Even though they have plenty of parking, they pretty much forces you to valet. Bring change. If you are lucky to park down the street in the neighborhood, it is a nice and safe neighborhood, no worries if you have to walk a bit. This place was formerly House of Te, years ago, so I'm familiar with the building and the space. They decked it up and modernized it. It does give the seen or be seen feeling, even though that's not what they're aiming for, the audience are turning out to be that way. Either way, if you decided to come, make sure you make a reservation, tables are not easy to come by.
1927 Fairview St
Houston, TX 77019