La Table Debuts a Weekly Brunch Buffet
It's not easy to earn a rave from this critic. But my review of La Table in the May issue of Houstonia is just that. The excellent new French restaurant on Post Oak sailed through breakfast, lunch and dinner services to gain my love, but on May 1, it debuted yet another meal.
From now on, La Table will also be serving its Grand Brunch (their words, not mine, though I agree) every Sunday.
The meal begins with breakfast foods, served family-style. Orange and grapefruit juices, hot chocolate, coffee and tea are all included in the $59 price ($29 for kids), and staying hydrated is key to the efforts necessary to buckle down and consume all the irresistible offerings.
My advice: Bring the pancakes and colorful roasted potato for home for the next day and tackle the more ephemeral delights immediately. That means the silken scrambled eggs, the soufflé-like orange brioche French toast and the breakfast meats that include lightly spiced pork links, chicken-apple sausage and wide rashers of crisp bacon. I had a bite of croissant, too, but saved the cinnamon escargot and pain au chocolat for dessert.
Keeping things ever classy, most of the selections on the buffet are served individually sized, so diners can bring their selections to the table as plated with no mess. A beet salad features tiny golden and chioggia roots with goat cheese from Blue Heron Farm. Lemon vinaigrette lightens up a combination of massaged kale, frisée, pepitas and cranberries in another.
The raw bar next to the salads features tiny cups of crab-and-avocado salad and ceviche, but also fun, old-school touches such as shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon with mini bagels and all the Jewish deli fixings, including a French-ified chive cream cheese.
I skipped the cheese and charcuterie boards (both a mix of domestic and imported options) in favor of sinking my teeth into the meats on the carving station. I tried to get a picture of the gentleman carving up the flesh, but he moved too fast. They're all a blur, like trying to capture photographic evidence of a deceased spirit.
Buffet fish is always a risky proposition and while the salmon's skin was a bit more elastic than I might have hoped, the meat itself was rich velvet beneath a dose of acid via a sauce that combined yuzu and mustard. The same Béarnaise I raved about in my La Table review was available to dress the rare, pillowy slices of beef tenderloin.
But let's face it, dessert is the thing. Besides the pastries I reserved from the family-style breakfast offerings, I sampled thumb-sized fruit tarts, both vanilla and chocolate pots de crème, light-as-air chocolate mousse and these:
Teeny, individual crème brûlées, intense with vanilla beans, had to be eaten with doll-sized spoons also on the buffet. And yes, those are the smallest madeleines I've ever seen.
Who knows what Proust would say about that? What I would say is that they taste damn good after a shower in the chocolate fountain. And that will be a remembrance of things past only on the weekends that I don't return for more.