I love to cook, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes you just have to get out of the house and we usually do this on Thursday nights. As you will come to know we have many rules that govern our nights’ out on the town. One of them has turned out to be; we have to go to a place we’ve never been before. There are so many great restaurants around us so we are branching out and making ourselves get to know our big city a little better. Last week we went to State of Grace, in the newly refurbished Lamar-River Oaks Shopping Center off of Westheimer Rd. It was opened by Chef Ford Fry, who has called Atlanta home lately, but has ties to Houston. We got a late start to our evening, so by the time arrived at the restaurant it was around 7:00 and the parking lot looked, ah well, like a parking lot, the place was packed. It made us a little nervous when the valet held the truck in front of the main door until he was sure we were going to be seated. No sense driving off in the truck, finding a spot, only to have to hustle back to get it when we walk out. We were greeted by a sweet group of people manning the hostess stand the minute we walked in the door. After hearing we didn’t have a reservation, they set about trying to find us a place in the more casual, Oyster Room. We were in luck, there was a table, so the valet was good to go back about the business of parking our truck in a space tucked into the back of the lot.
The restaurant is beautiful on the inside, a little dark at the hostess station when you first walk in but I loved the soft lighting in the main dining room. Our hostess guided us to the “Oyster Room” which felt open and airy even though it was really crowded due to the bank of windows running all along the outskirts of the rounded room. (The picture above is the oyster bar, which is off the main dining room) Our table was a small oval, just enough space for the two of us, but we were glad to have it. The staff in the Oyster Room all work together, so you don’t just have one waiter, you end up having 3 or 4. Which means our glasses were never empty and our food was paced to come out perfectly. Running Man had some medium sized raw oyster’s (I am not a fan of phlegm so I passed on that) and he said they were really good without even a hint of grit. Who knew there were different flavors to be had with phlegm, I mean, raw oysters when they come from different parts of the world. We shared a bottle of white wine from a region in France (believe it or not I completely forgot to get a picture of the label for my collection) and we got a chance to visit a little bit before our dinner was served. I don’t know about you, but being able to spend a little time together, sharing a glass of wine and the tight space on a bench seat helps keep the romance going……Anyway, back to our dinner, for the main course we shared the Scallops and Grits and the charred brussels sprouts, oh my was it good! The sprouts were perfectly charred with pieces of nuts and pork belly! Yummo! Our main dish had a luscious cream based sauce that had been ladled over the scallops and grits, which contained pieces of crawfish meat and shrimp sausage. It was surprisingly light even with the cream sauce. The scallops were good sized, had great flavor and were seared nicely on both sides. Just writing about this makes me want to run over there and pick up some take out. Overall our weekly evening out was lovely! If you’re over in the area you should give State of Grace a try, but give them a call first to get a reservation it will make the experience even better. See you next week, out and about Houston.