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Roost - Chef Kevin Naderi's Eclectic Neighborhood Bistro

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Alison Cook has listed Roost in her Top 100 for a few years now, placing it at 29 in this edition.  From reading about the restaurant, Chef Naderi introduces a new menu monthly, highlighting local and seasonal ingredients with little regard for staying in one particular "lane" of cuisine.  Cristina and I had a quiet and pleasant dinner the other night.  Top-line assessment: Pleasant enough to be a neighborhood fave, but in a sprawling food town like Houston, it would be tough to recommend traveling for a special visit.

We started with 2 appetizers: the much lauded fried cauliflower with bonito, and a miso dressing, and the "bread service" of a Slow Dough giant (GIANT!) pretzel, with 3 spreads (marinara, pimento cheese, and furikake butter).  The cauliflower were indeed tasty, reminiscent of takoyaki in flavor.  The only thing I would say is that after a few bites, they became a little dull (as in, not sharp), and could've used some sort of acidic element to brighten things up (capers maybe? a squeeze of lemon? I don't know).  The pretzel itself was massive, warm, buttery, and delicious. The spreads...eh.  The marinara was totally off-putting in a way neither of us could put our finger on, but it went completely untouched.  The pimento cheese was a totally straightforward take, without any noticeable spice.  The furikake butter won out, mainly because it was butter.  This dish seemed like an afterthought.

I moved on to the "Country Captain" chicken - pan seared, along with deep fried wings, and topped with a vaguely curry-ish sauce with raisins.  All in all a nicely cooked, but standard take on a Lowcountry classic.  Cristina had fried quail served over black eyed peas and greens.  I much preferred this dish, mainly for the delicious peas.  Earthy, and with just enough bite to them.  

We drank a South African Cab blend (2013 John X Merriman Stellenbosch) that played well with everything we ordered - medium bodied, with a good amount of earthiness that I enjoy.  Roost has a small but nicely curated wine list and a number of local beers on tap.  

Given that the menu changes monthly, I think it's probably worth another look down the line, but for now I have it in my good-not-great category.

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