Despite what you may think, this is not a website warning you about butter. You know about the fat, calories, and clotted arteries. No, this is the website for La Vista Restaurant. And it's very accurate.
Our dining companions had been raving about the dinner they had at the La Vista at 12665 Memorial, the restaurant's second location. So, when we found ourselves near the original location at 1936 Fountain View, we decided to stop in.
The small restaurant gets very crowded, and we got there early. For those of you who don't eat dinner with the sunset crowd (we made an exception that night), La Vista has the Asphalt Lounge, where you can relax and wait for your table. The Asphalt Lounge is not the newest see-and-be-seen club in Houston. It's actually just a blocked-off section of the parking lot.
Since it was early, we didn't have the pleasure of enjoying an adult beverage at the Asphalt Lounge. Maybe next time. For a long time, La Vista was only BYOB. Not to worry, wine geeks -- you can still bring your favorite bottle. But for those who aren't that prepared, La Vista has a small wine list. We were pleased to see Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice drinkable red, available by the glass.
Our dining companions warned us about over-ordering. But once we saw the menu, we threw caution to the wind. Fatbutter here we come.
The waiter informed us that everything is homemade at La Vista, even the piping-hot bread. The hot, crusty loaf was dense and a bit doughy in the center, perfect for sopping up the herbed olive oil. It took tremendous will power not to eat the entire loaf.
Unfortunately, we were not as blown away by our entrees. The best by far was the Big, Fat Chicken Breast. Normally, chicken breast that big is dry and tough. Not this one. The chicken was juicy, well seasoned and perfectly complemented by roasted veggies and potatoes.
The shrimp and grits were disappointing.
The gnocchi and the shrimp and grits were another story. La Vista adds an Italian twist to this Southern classic by wrapping the shrimp in spicy prosciutto and using Grand Marnier in the cheesy polenta. On paper, the dish sounded delicious. But all we could taste was Grand Marnier. We like our shrimp and grits savory, not super-sweet like this one.
The gnocchi also failed to meet our expectations. We love homemade gnocchi, and La Vista's was fluffy and delicious. But the venison ragout they served it with was more of a soup than a sauce. And we couldn't find much venison, just some small bits in the sauce.
Although we were disappointed in our entrée selections, the meal did end on a high note. La Vista has some of the best homemade desserts in Houston. We ordered the tiramisu and coconut pie. The desserts were light and creamy without being overly sweet. Despite our overstuffed bellies, we couldn't stop eating them. We even took some home for later.
We rolled out of the restaurant that night understanding all too well the true meaning of fatbutter. We will be back, if only for the bread and dessert. Click on to see the desserts.