CeeBee Posted January 2, 2017 Share Posted January 2, 2017 Normally, I wouldn't review a restaurant based solely on their brunch menu and I try not to try out new places with brunch being my first foray. It's a much maligned meal, often an afterthought by chefs. But, being that we are pretty new to Houston and have a long list of places to try, and this is a pretty new forum, here we are. It's New Years Day and people needed brunch (and brunch drinks) The deets: part of Delicious Concepts restaurants, opened in Summer 2016, executive chef Jordan Asher launched the restaurant and left in August, replaced by Albert Vasquez: Aug 1, 2016 - "Surprising Chef Swap: Jordan Asher is Out and Albert Vasquez is In at Ritual Restaurant in Houston" by Phaedra Cook on houstonpress.com The setting: industrial farmhouse vibe, wood tables, exposed brick, wood beamed ceiling, accentuated with lime green chairs (very comfortable). Waitstaff in jeans and striped suspenders. Sizeable bar looks like a welcoming place to spend happy hour or late evening hours and I think they had a pretty good NYE turnout last night judging by the beers that were not available today. Cool points for the cursive neon sign of Pixies lyrics "drive my car into the ocean" and as someone who left their heart in NYC, the huge, Grand Central Station-style arrivals board with beers on offer instead of trains pulling in, is a clever touch. The Meal: we started off with Sourdough hush puppies with jalapeño jelly. Light and airy, these bore more resemblance in consistency to fancy donut holes you find on dessert menus than a traditional hush puppy, (and that's not a criticism). Glazed with the jalapeño jelly that was more sweet than hot, these were delicious and a nice accompaniment to my Bloody Mary. We had read so much about the seafood gravy that we had to try. It came out in a large bowl and our attentive waiter quickly took it back to the kitchen and divided into small cups for us to share. Rich and creamy and dotted with pimentos, it is definitely not to be missed. It would be a great warming lunch on a cold day. Alas, the high today was 74. Entrees were The Standard for our 4yo (yard eggs, breakfast meat, hash brown, toast), chicken & waffles (cornbread waffle, cayenne pepper rub, seasoned maple, house pickle) for the husband (aka Josh, this forum's host), and Ritual Benedict (biscuit, city ham, 63° egg, green chile hollandaise, hash browns) for me. (I do love Anthony Bourdain but I also love Eggs Benedict against his advice) The 18m old, being an omnivore, got some of everything. The apps came out pretty quick, but the entrees lagged a bit long. Our waiter apologized and thankfully kept us updated. Side note-high chairs and kids cups at the ready, despite having no kids menu, we found it pretty kid friendly. Benedict was overall tasty. These next thoughts are very mild criticisms. The biscuit, while good was a bit much...biscuit. The bread component felt a touch out of proportion to other ingredients. Of course, I'm willing to take some of the blame here, having filled up with the hush puppies and the seafood gravy, I was slowing down halfway into the dish. The Green Chili Hollandaise was mild and not discernibly different from standard. Would like to see it punched up a touch. The egg was decently runny but my guess is it wasn't served right away. Thus is the danger of offering a 63 degree egg. Hash browns are served in a block- brown and crunchy on the outside. I'm more of a "scattered" kind of gal, but these were good and understandly more upscale in presentation. Smoky and salty, layered in pink porky ribbons, the star of the dish is the city ham, and rightfully so. Felix Florez of Black Hill Meats is a co-owner. Ritual is a temple to meat, lest you forget. And if you do, there is a huge glass-walled walk-in in the back of the restaurant displaying hanging sides of pork waiting their eventual plating. You won't be bringing your vegetarian friends here. Josh I imagine will weigh in on the chicken and waffles but the bite I had was delicious-a milder version of Nashville hot chicken on a crisp cornbread waffle-a tasty rendition of a southern classic. Brunch here is a worthwhile endeavor, not a chefs bastard child. A great neighborhood place to celebrate day one of 2017. We will be back. 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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