Sunday, September 14, 2014

Laurenzo's


I recently received an invitation to a media dinner at Laurenzo’s on Washington. I've always known it as Lauenzo's Prime Rib as depicted on the cover of the menu, but I believe they are rebranding and eliminating the "prime rib" from their name because the logo on the website is different. 

Before I attend an event like this, I enjoy learning the story of the restaurant and the people behind it. As consumers, I think it’s easy to forget about the hard work that goes into starting and maintaining a business.  Although I was familiar with the Laurenzo family and their connection to Houston, I did learn a little more. I also stumbled upon this Houston Press article from February that gives a great history of many of the influential restaurateurs in the Bayou City. Give it a read. It’s long, but very interesting (http://www.houstonpress.com/2014-02-27/restaurants/houston-food-families/full/ ).

Laurenzo’s is known for its prime rib which if I were to find myself there again, I would order. It looked wonderfully juicy and made my mouth water. 

I was also enticed by the meats on the grill as I walked in the door.

 

Not only can you see the prime rib, but you can also check out the other action in the kitchen as you wait to be seated. 

 

However, that evening we weren’t there for the prime rib, but to sample some of the new menu offerings.  First off, we were served with beef Carpaccio. Now, keep in mind, I’m a country girl who is just venturing into the raw world, so I thought it was very good, but I have no basis of comparison.

 

Next up were the prawns. Oh, the prawns. I could taste the Old Bay, and these babies were just beautiful. They had excellent flavor and a nice, firm texture.

I can’t say the grilled artichokes were my favorite. They had a nice smoky flavor, but eating them was a bit awkward. Perhaps it was because I was with many people whom I’ve never met before, and I found it difficult to be classy and scrape the meat of the artichoke off with my teeth at the same time.

 

All in all, the apps were great low-carb choices.

As for the main dishes, we were served double-cut lamb chops, veal parmesan, and a veggie burger. I’m usually willing to take one for the team but I couldn’t bring myself to try the lamb chop. I just can’t do it. Lamb is something I will try once every six months or so, and I just tried it recently at Red Brick Tavern and still didn’t like it. Judging by appearance, it sure looked good. It’s served with mint jelly as well.

 

My favorite of the main courses was the veggie burger, oddly enough. I think this is a great option if you dine here with a vegetarian. This is a very meat-centric place, but I thought the burger was executed well. The presentation wasn’t all that great, but the taste was excellent. It had hints of barbecue, and kind of reminded me of a “sloppy joe.” I would order it again if I weren’t a lover of prime rib and other proteins.

The veal parmesan was also very good. I could have used a little more sauce, but the overall flavor was nicely balanced. I’m also not a lover of veal, but honestly, I couldn’t tell this was veal. That would be a good thing. The pasta was flavored nicely, not very heavy, and I appreciate it wasn’t a huge serving sitting there just to fill the plate.

They served the appetizers and main courses with their house wines, and personally, I would upgrade my selection and pair my meal with an appropriate wine.  They serve great food, and it should be paired with a great wine. Trust me. Skip the house wines. 

I’ve been having some major sweet cravings lately, so I was pretty pumped about the dessert course which consisted of strawberry pie and pumpkin bread pudding. I got pretty burned out on strawberry pie as a teenager working at Shoney’s (geez that pie was gross), so I’ve stayed away from that dessert. This sample renewed my love for strawberry pie.  The crust was so light, flaky, and appeared to be scratch-made. It wasn’t overly sweet either. I really enjoyed it.

The pumpkin bread pudding was also another winner. It tasted like a traditional bread pudding with a hint of “fall” spices.  It would be a great way to end your meal.

Also, as I was dining, I took note of the immense amount of sports memorabilia on the walls. I learned it’s all for sale, and if purchased, the proceeds are donated charity. This struck me as a very nice gesture and a unique way to give back to the community. 

I’m excited to return to Laurenzo’s soon to try the prime rib and get another slice of the strawberry pie!

For more information on Laurenzo’s, including their hours, visit http://www.laurenzos.net/


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