We went out for dinner last night, it being our anniversary. Houston Press called T’afia the best restaurant in town, so we figured we’d try it. Houston Press was wrong.

That’s not to say that T’afia is not a good restaurant. It simply isn’t the best in town. Frankly, in my opinion, it’s not even close. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three better restaurants. (Tour D’Argent, Mark’s, Aries, Rouge – wait, that’s four). The Press has always had this weird crush on Monica Pope. Back when she had Boulevard Bistrot, they raved about it, too. I just don’t get it. She does good work, but not nearly good enough to rate all the slobbery wet kisses she gets from food critics.

We each had soup and an entrée. I got a barley soup and the Niman Ranch flat iron steak with cheese grits and caramelized onions. J got the salmon and potato soup and the lamb curry with rice. The best out of anything was the lamb. It was falling apart fork-tender and had enough curry flavor to be interesting, but not so much as to completely overpower the lamb. The barley soup had an interesting texture, kind of gelatinous, but not enough flavor to make me pay attention. My entrée was good, but not so good it made me want to come back. For dessert, we split a chocolate bread pudding with sour cherries and crème anglais. Again, it was curiously understated. The sour cherries had more flavor than anything else. Maybe I’m not subtle enough to get the style at T’afia.

After some discussion last night, I tend to agree with J’s assessment. Monica Pope is heavily into the locally-grown, organic produce scene. The idea appeals to the people at the Press, so they tend to think the food is somehow better. I don’t see it.

Of course, the reader’s choice for best restaurant was Brennan’s and I know that’s a lie. For my money, the best food in town still comes from Aries.

Anyhow, it’s off to the Ren Fest tomorrow. A fried food report will be forthcoming on Monday, or when my arteries unclog.


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