Friday, January 2, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Strip Club: Rainbow Lodge

The Men’s Club had an all-you-can-eat King Crab lunch special every Tuesday for $14.95, so a few friends and I decided to pony up. I mean, ALL YOU CAN EAT CRAB. FOR $14.95!! Only when we called ahead, we learned that the special is over. Curses.

So instead of crabs, poles, and legs, we hit the opposite end of the restaurant spectrum and visited chef Randy Rucker at the Rainbow Lodge. Rucker wins props as one of the best and most creative chefs in Houston, and we were aglow to see what he could do in his new space. He did *not* disappoint.

The amuse bouche was a poached shrimp forked nicely with tangerine leaves and a cocktail sauce gelée. The shrimp was nice and light, and the gelée added an interesting texture to the mix.

The first course was a sliced raw scallop marinated in miso, soy, and sesame oil. The scallop was topped with a creamy miso vinaigrette, thai chilies, dill, and radish. This was -- hands down -- my favorite dish of the day. The softness of the scallop played beautifully with both the spice of the chili and the crunch of the radish, and the marinade was creamy-delicious.

Second was a LaBelle Farms foie gras torchon, cured in armagnac and cooked sous-vide. The foie gras arrived on a crisp toast alongside candied bacon, BLiS maple syrup, and flowers from the Rainbow Lodge’s own garden.

Next came a bowl with a rabbit rillette and romanesco to which chef Rucker added an apple cider cream soup. The rabbit, itself, was melty, tender, and flavorful, and matched perfectly with the richness of the soup.

Our fourth course was berkshire pork belly cooked sous-vide for 48 hours and then flash fried prior to serving. it was accompanied by cauliflower mushrooms, leeks a la plancha, blackeyed peas, and more greens from the garden.

Dessert was a warm liquid pumpkin pie. The pumpkin shined with spice and just a tiny bit of sweetness. It was a light end to a fabulous meal.

I hadn’t been to the Rainbow Lodge before, but Rucker’s presence now seals its spot as a top venue in Houston. According to Jenny Never Full, Rucker’s new menu makes its debut on January 6. Be sure to check it out!

Rainbow Lodge - 2011 Ella Blvd (at TC Jester)

1 comment:

Knavish Kevin said...

Great review... and i will now officially boycott eh men's club for their cancellation for the crab leg special.