Redefining the Restaurant CINQ at La Colombe d'Or

Categories: On the Menu

EOW July Food 002.JPG
Photos: Christina Uticone & Joshua Payne
Caprese Salad at CINQ
Since my husband and I moved to Houston, every time we've driven by La Colombe d'Or Hotel, I've said, "We really have to check that place out sometime." When I ask a Houston native about the restaurant, they always say, "Oh yeah! I went there for my"...and then name some special occasion: 16th birthday, graduation, rehearsal dinner, anniversary party, etc. As most of our dining out consists of the last-minute, come-as-you-are variety, we never made it to CINQ--the restaurant at La Colombe d'Or.

A media tasting provided the opportunity to put on a pretty dress and heels and head over to CINQ. We enjoyed a glass of wine in the library, wandered upstairs to see the unoccupied rooms, and then moved on to the art gallery before dinner. After we were seated, a slightly tipsy woman from the next table came over, sat down, and proceeded to tell us what an amazing meal she'd just had, and how good the service was. Annette said, "I have eaten amazing food all over the world, and I can't understand why this place" -- she waved her hand around, indicating the empty dining room -- "isn't packed right now."

CINQ isn't quite what I expected, and from what I can tell they are in the process of figuring out what they want to be. But if the food is any indication, the staff at CINQ is up for the challenge.

EOW July Food 001.JPG
Watermelon Salad
Before dinner we chatted with Chef Jeremie Robison, and I relayed my story about Houstonians who know CINQ and La Colombe d'Or as a special-occasion restaurant. Robison nodded knowingly -- it clearly wasn't the first time he'd heard that. "CINQ is not just for special occasions," he said, offering to cook us a selection of dishes from their "Classics" and "New Ideas" menus. Manager Rich Arnold paired each course with wine, and chatting with him is worth the price of admission itself, especially if you love wine.

Among the highlights were the salads: the Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese from the Classics menu, and a Watermelon Salad with tomato and Pure Luck goat cheese feta from the New Ideas menu.

Being slightly obsessed with watermelon and feta salads at the moment, I was pleasantly surprised that the goat cheese didn't overtake the flavors of the watermelon and tomatoes. I'm not the biggest goat cheese fan in the world, but the Pure Luck cheese was mild and slightly sweet.

cinq scallop.jpg
Scallops
Another favorite came from the New Ideas menu: a scallop atop a fried green tomato, cucumber, tomato, crispy parsnip with whole grain mustard vinaigrette. The cast-iron sear on one side of the scallop created a fun textural experience from the top, down: velvety scallop, crunchy parsnip, and cool, tender vegetables. Rich served us a Pierre Jouet champagne along with the scallop to create what was certainly my favorite food/wine pairing of the evening.

cinq sea bass.jpg
Sea Bass
Among the other dishes sampled were Braised Octopus, Scallop on Fried Green Tomato, Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass, and the King of the Menu: Braised Short Rib with a sunchoke puree, ratatouille, crispy shallots and fried parsley. Delicate seasoning and luscious, marbled fat combined with the herbaceous kick of the fried parsley had me battling my husband for the last bite. Each dish proved to be interesting and delicious.

short rib.jpg
Short Rib
After the meal my husband turned to me and said, "People just need to eat this." I'm not sure if he or Tipsy Annette put it best, but will say this -- if CINQ is an "old-fashioned" favorite from your past, I think it's worth another look.



Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Location Info

Venue

Map

La Colombe D'Or Hotel, Restaurant and Gallery

3410 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
33 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Shawn Dahl
Shawn Dahl

They’ll look at any platform that will support that dishes we’re trying to make, but that’s the key thing.

alabama movers
alabama movers

CINQ isn't quite what I expected, and from what I can tell they are in the process of figuring out.

Vanroach
Vanroach

Interesting how a comment pointing out that the "reviewer" had a free meal (code word: Media Tasting) turned into a slam about envy, class warfare, and  condescension.

MY original post was all about the "reviewer" getting free food. I posit that you cannot, repeat CAN NOT impartially review a restaurant when you get free food.

Honesty is the best policy. Sadly, the HP has no interest in honesty on these blogs.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

If I weren't interested in honesty, I wouldn't have included the term "media tasting." And, as Katharine points out, we're blogging not "reviewing". When I'm invited to a media tasting I fully understand that the restaurant is putting their best foot forward--as you all clearly do, as well--but I can only write about my experience, just as I do when I write about a place I pop into without an invite.

Sad to see so much skepticism and mean spiritedness. But it is the interweb!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I just feel that I should very quickly point out that the only, the only review the Press publishes each week is the cafe review that runs in print. It also runs online; you can access it from the main page. This week's review is of Down House, for example.

Reviews are written by the food critic and are done so after three or so visits to a restaurant over time, and none of the meals are comped. I pay for all of my own food and drinks. That is our weekly review.

These are blog posts. There is a huge difference, and posts on media tastings - while not always complimentary - are common. But they should be taken as just that: a post on one individual experience where the restaurant was putting its best foot forward.

And no, for the record, I no longer attend media tastings since I took over the job as food critic, but I used to when I was a blogger. They're pretty routine occurrences, just like a press conference with food.

Peggy
Peggy

And I think I should point out that my initial comment was specific to say blog writeup for that very reason (the term review was used later as a general term). :-)

Hugh Ramsey
Hugh Ramsey

I went to there last night.

Restaurant week menu was pretty good.  $125 for two, ttl.

Everything was good to great

Criticism/negativity seems to be the preferred internet collateral for some these days.  Seems tiring.

FoodPrincess
FoodPrincess

For my birthday in April one of the restaurants I headed to for celebrations was Cinq and it was because of what Chef Jeremie Robison is doing with food there.  His style with a basis in the classical, is a refreshing departure without losing the elegance. There is no denying that Robinson loves his seafood and IMHO those dishes sparkle even more.  I did a tasting menu on a Monday night and while this isn't a bargain hunter's restaurant, it was an excellent value for the money.  

 

Robinson is on my short list of young chefs in town that I am keeping tabs on, this fellow has what it takes to be one of America’s top chefs. 

 

Did I mention that they have a wonderful sommelier on site and he will gladly pair your food with an interesting bottle of wine

tastybits
tastybits

For a supposedly open minded, young neighborhood, Montrose seems to be full of a bunch of jaded asshats. Who cares what that restaurant was for the last 20 years or who owns it? There is a new young chef - under 30 - in the kitchen trying to put out great food. Skip a (terminally boring) meal at Mark's and give him a shot. No one will think less of you. I promise. 

ec
ec

For a supposedly open minded, young neighborhood, Montrose seems to be full of a bunch of jaded asshats.------------------------------------------ Montrose hasn't be an open minded, young neighborhood in a long while....

Franz F
Franz F

People who bitch about "media tastings" are merely jealous that they don't get to attend "media tastings."

Peggy
Peggy

Have to disagree. My gripe with the growing number of blog writeups based on media tastings both here and elsewhere is that they aren't representative. The reviewers have no skin (read: cash) in the game, and it's at a planned event where, by definition, the institution is going to put even more effort than normal into the offerings.

I prefer blogs and reviews to be based on circumstances a little closer to what I'd encounter as a regular diner. The vast majority of people dining out aren't eating for free and aren't eating at showcase events. I realize there can be reimbursement for non-media meals, of course, but at least then the writer knows what the items provided cost and can make some assessment of value. I wish reports on meals provided gratis included inofrmation on what the normal cost would be but most of the time they don't.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Media tastings generally serve smaller portions. Since the photos are not representative of a normal portion size, I chose not to include the prices. Prices for dishes are available on CINQ's website.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

1. Disingenuous? Nit picking? I merely replied to your written words: "food provided gratis for a review." I was not asked to review the food--I was not required to review the food. I felt I wanted to make that very, very clear. Call it nitpicking or disingenuous if you must.

2. I've been to other media tastings and NOT written up the food.

3. I wouldn't recommend a restaurant whose food I didn't like, period.

Peggy
Peggy

Christina -The statement was not suggesting you traded free food for a good writeup, it was in a thread entirely about understanding the value of the food. I'm not trying to argue with you but that's a bit picking nits and, albeit unintended, coming across a bit disingenuous. It's a given that a restaurant puts on a "media tasting" in anticipation it will generate media response, even if it is not required or requested for the privilege of attending the tasting.The food is provided gratis for review. Otherwise they'd just hold a public free tasting, right?

I thought my point was clear in previous comments - that the circumstances were not similar to regular diners.  The point is when not paying for the food a person is less able to judge value (you said yourself you couldn't speak to equivalent price) and at such an event the quality/experience is likely to be very best possible and not necessarily typical.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I can't speak to the expectations of others. Invitations to media tastings are not offered in exchange for, or based on an agreement or requirement, to write about the restaurant's food.

I'm sure they do hope we'll write about them on the basis of that, or a future meal. But I take exception to it being described as "food provided gratis for a review" because it is inaccurate.

guy arnault
guy arnault

It would be extremely naive for a restaurant to invite FOOD critics to a tasting and not expect some sort of review.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

The food was not provided gratis FOR a review. I chose to review the food after being invited to a media event to try the food. I was not asked, nor required, to review the food in exchange for the tasting.

Peggy
Peggy

You'd be wrong MT. This isn't about dining budget, it's about being informed. I tend to check prices to at least ballpark spend and expectations. Beyond that, asking the cost/value of food provided gratis for a review is an entirely reasonable question.

MT
MT

If you need to ask about the prices at CINQ then you probably won't be eating there. 

Peggy
Peggy

Thanks Christina, appreciate the feedback. That's exactly the kind of info that should be in the articles to start with, including at least an indication of price range (e.g., the old $/$$/$$$ type scales) because plenty of restaurants don't list their prices online.

j_glover
j_glover

I think people forget about the restaurant inside Colombe D'Or because the restaurant does nothing to promote themselves. In aNeighborhood filled with great restaurants, they aren't bothering to fight for customers.

DRasman
DRasman

Awe...a little hype for the Zimmerman brats...I wonder if they came up with the watermelon salad on their own. I rather swallow razorblades. 

Ford76
Ford76

A modicum of chi chi food on the trose...no thanks.

Elgreco54
Elgreco54

This place still serves up a nice room and decent bed for a sordid evening tryst, but to eat good food, you'd be better off going to Da Marco down the street.

Ken D.
Ken D.

sounds like the same write up as most these days, just change the name of the restaurant and the names of the dishes.  Also always included, some variation of "a media tasting provided the opportunity".....

Mike
Mike

new chef

Vonroach
Vonroach

I suppose that "Media Tasting" means it was free.

It is a great place, but it is quite expensive.

Jenny
Jenny

they should do a groupon or something...otherwise I will never be able to affort to walk in, and see what I'm missing

stwilhelm
stwilhelm

They happen to be on the list for Houston Restaurant Week so here is your opportunity - 3 courses for $35!  I plan on going and trying it out during this month!

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...