It is a rare chance that the band and I get to hang out when not gigging. Bubble, Kelley and I have never all three reviewed a restaurant due to unruly schedules, but this week the planets aligned. I don’t know how it happened or what circumstances led to all three of us getting together, but I am fairly certain it had something to do with politics, relationships, rattlesnakes and financial planning — all things we normally do not discuss or tamper with. Whatever the case, the night was epic.
It was a beautiful cool evening as the three of us pulled into the parking lot of The House. I told you about this place weeks ago in the Word of Mouth column, but to refresh your memory The House is where the Shamrock, Rose and Thistle used to be. Executive Chef Kevin Brooks is at the helm, and the place is still in its soft opening stages.
We sit at the bar not looking at all conspicuous in three stages of dress and hairstyle. One of us is wearing a tie with a fresh haircut. Another is sporting a Mohawk with tattoos on the side of his head. Another looks like Encino Man donned a nice shirt and flip-flops. The first question we got from our young waiter Francisco was, “What band are you guys in?” Is it really that obvious? I have to get a haircut.
So, even though we sat at the bar there was a small problem. No liquor license. It’s BYOB right now. I’m fine with that, but I wish I’d known. It was Bubble who came to the rescue. He headed over to Rouse’s while we ordered appetizers. Crab claws ($16.99 market) were a great start. We chose sautéed over fried and received great results. It isn’t a dish full of sun-dried tomatoes and Italian dressing with cloves of garlic. You see nothing but claws. You taste nothing but flavor.
Halfway through Bubble returned with a bottle of Malbec and a sixer of Yuengling. He tore down the last 10 or so claws and placed his order for an oyster basket ($13.99) and a side salad ($1). I have to say as far as fried oysters go these were not bad. Borderline spectacular would be a better description.
The special of the night was a humongous New York Strip ($19.99). Kelley’s eyes lit up and I knew the dish had found a home. Served with a mushroom risotto and sautéed green beans this medium rare beast was more than he could handle, lucky for Bubble and me. The beans were crisp and the risotto was silky. I think Kelley, despite his poor decision-making skills, chose wisely this evening.
I didn’t do so badly myself. After what I would call a highly ranked cup of seafood gumbo ($5.49) I couldn’t navigate away from the sautéed redfish ($13.97). This one had creole written all over it. Smothered in crawfish tails and a cream sauce I would be hesitant to call it a healthier option. But healthy ain’t the reason I ordered it. I’d have preferred something other than Malbec or beer with this one, but God love Bubble. He tries.
The fish was amazing, but the sides were just as good. White cheddar grits was one of my two choices. The texture was unique and begs for me to return for shrimp and grits. Spinach Madeline was certainly my favorite, though. I could have eaten a huge bowl of this. All the creaminess of the cheese and the bite of the spinach made for an awesome New Orleans-style dish.
I do like the feel of the place, and the young Francisco was hilarious. He was sharing with us some inside information about a huge table of girls. You could tell they were making this greenhorn nervous. We kindly offered to help him out with the ladies if he needed some advice (side note: take no relationship advice from any of us) but Francisco politely declined.
About that time a nice lady walked in asking whereabouts of the bathroom. We pointed her in the right direction, and as she walked away Francisco put a finger to his lip. “Shhh! Don’t say anything. Keep it down.” Bubble was feeling the Malbec and at the top of his voice said, “Francisco, why are you whispering?” Poor fella was beet red by the time he offered dessert.
We were too full to try any crème brulee or bread pudding. And we had more parts of the city to haunt. With a grand total that was reasonably priced for three tipsy maniacs full as ticks we paid our fine (including the $10 corking fee) and headed out the door.
The general consensus is this place carries a heavy influence from the Big Easy. But Chef Kevin is certainly adding his own touch. We certainly ate like kings. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. We certainly recommend this place. Let’s hope a liquor license appears soon.
We three kings headed out to wreak havoc on the rest of the city, not realizing what was in store for us. Let’s just say it involved rear windows, ninja exits, miles of hoofing it in flip flops, beard measurement, live music and a $6 cab ride on a debit card after Bubble responsibly turned in early. But all of that is another story.
The House Restaurant & Bar
4513 Old Shell Rd.