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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas in Houston: Just Dinner on Dunlavy

My fiance and I went to Houston last week to spend Christmas with his family. The first night there we went to a restaurant called Just Dinner on Dunlavy. I found it through Yelp searches. It was a restored old home and the reviews were all very positive.

This house was built in 1928. It was transformed into this cozy restaurant and opened in 2007. They source from their organic garden and shop daily for the freshest ingredients.

Just Dinner on Dunlavy
1915 Dunlavy Street
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 807-0077
Price: $$$$

It was a small house. Very cozy when we walked in. They had dim lighting, Christmas decorations up and felt like you were going to a friend's home almost. We were seated in the front room. Our table was covered in magazine clippings. I thought that was a unique way to decorate the table, and minimize clean up, AND use up old magazines. haha. Recycle! :)

We brought a bottle of wine with us since it's BYOB. They do charge a corkage fee of $10 for every 750ml. They immediately asked if we wanted an ice bucket for our wine. We asked them if they could put it in the fridge first and it was no problem at all. The waiter brought us some waters and a little bit of their Pesto Hummus (with multigrain chips). The chips were like the store bought multigrain chips. I laughed a little when I saw it, but I actually really like these chips. The pesto hummus was really tasty. I do wish we had pita bread or something instead.

Soup of the Day: Sweet Potato Soup $7~ My fiance ordered this. I wanted to try it. The soup was silky and yummy. There were chunks of sweet potato in the soup as well but I thought they were undercooked. Slightly crunchy still.

He also wanted to try the Foie Gras Creme Caramel (pickled seasonal fruit, warm house-made brioche) $20~ 
He's never had foie gras. I'm not a huge fan. I mean I'll eat it, but it usually tends to be too heavy. So I was thinking he wouldn't like it. However, this was more of a sweet preparation of foie gras and I've never had it like this before. It was made more like a thick flan and it was more sweet than savory. It was pretty amazing. They served it with thin slices of brioche. Normally I love brioche but this one was basically soaked in butter. Too heavy to eat with the creamy foie gras. I ended up just eating the foie gras on its own. But I did like the pairing with the pickled fruit...although they seemed more like butternut squash or something instead of fruit. The acid from the pickled fruits definitely help cut some of the heaviness of the dish. Not the typical prep of foie gras, but delicious. I guess he'll have to try foie gras again another time to get the savory aspect of it.

Ratatouille (pickled vegetables, Belgium endive spears) $11~ 
My fiance's sister ordered this as her main meal. It's listed as an appetizer. Again, a very different preparation than we expected. It was served as a mound with endives on the side. And it was served cold. We all expected to be a hot dish, since it is stewed vegetables...

Pasta of the Day: Spaghetti (with meatballs and sausage).
His father got the pasta of the day. It was a huge portion! The spaghetti was cooked well. I thought the marinara was a bit more sour than I would've liked but the meatballs were good. They have pine nuts mixed into them!

Braised Boneless Short Ribs (port wine cherry sauce, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables) $30~ My fiance ordered this. It was massive as well and the meat was very tender. He loved it.

Pan Seared Chicken Breast (wild mushroom pan sauce, blue cheese polenta, mixed vegetables) $24~ 
His mom wanted to try the blue cheese polenta so she order the chicken. Again, a sizable portion. She had some leftover chicken to take home. I tried a bite of the polenta. The blue cheese flavor was very mild, which is good. Sometimes blue cheese is quite overwhelming.

Stuffed Collard Rolls (quinoa, black rice, amaranth, roasted red pepper sauce) $20~ 
This sounded totally interesting so I ordered it. I like everything listed here. Two large rolls, it was very filling. I loved all the texture inside the collards. There was also hazelnuts (I'm pretty sure) inside... maybe a little too much. It added a nice crunch but a few bites had so many that's all I could taste. But overall, very good, and healthy! Did you know that amaranth is full of protein, iron, calcium, and triple the fiber of wheat? And it's gluten free. :) I need to find more of this.

At some point, we also got rolls. I don't think I noticed when it was served. haha. Too busy taking pictures of everything else!

Crispy Bacon Lardons Brussels Sprouts $7~ I also ordered the Brussels sprouts. Duh! If it's on the menu, I'm ordering it! It was yummy. Plus bacon, always a classic combination.

Everyone had a great time. His parents said they'd go back for sure. Really quaint setting. The service was warm and friendly and the food was good. Plus everything's seasonal so the menu changes every few months. :)

Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas!!

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