reach the ‘strata’ sphere – a review

New restaurants constantly appear in the Houston area and I have had the pleasure and displeasure to try many.  The main source of disappointment with a new chef owned restaurant is when they do not bring something unique.  When I am displeased, I typically won’t write a blog.  I am proud to say that after a month and a half of starting this blog, Strata Restaurant & Bar provides a culinary experience I could not wait to write about.  Strata, new to the Houston restaurant circuit, is a real treasure.

From appetizer to dessert, Chef John Ly shows his passion for food with impeccable taste and an exquisite presentation.  When you take the first bite, you realize Chef Ly’s knowledge and talent.  Like I said, I want something unique – Chef Ly has demonstrated originality with each dish served.  Every dish was well executed and the main ingredient was always the hero, supplemented with sides or reductions to please the palette.  The accompaniments were thoughtfully paired completing each dish. The shaved fennel and pear salad to my duck was an absolute delight!

We started with two appetizers, both beautiful and delectable plates:

  • Soy Glazed Beef Skewers with cucumber salad and Sriracha vinaigrette
  • A trio special that included seared diver scallops, duck confit spring rolls and pork belly

Strata appetizer duck confit port belly diver scallop

My son, who turned 11 today, ordered the NY strip with a red wine reduction.  He originally asked for the reduction on the side, but ended up lathering the steak.  Of course I tried a few bites, and it was cooked to a perfect medium-rare (more on the rare side!!!). The side of pancetta grits with garlic spinach was simply a burst of flavor.

12 oz New York Strip Pancetta grits, garlic spinach with red wine reduction

I chose the Cabernet Duck, accompanied with a rich dark sauce that showcased the natural flavors of the duck.  The side of risotto…flawless.

Cabernet Duck Herb risotto, Shiitake mushrooms, shaved fennel & pear salad, with black pepper Cabernet reduction

Dessert took us to the homemade chocolate truffles…quite possibly my favorite dessert in quite some time.  I can’t imagine making chocolate truffle to be an easy feat, due to all the complexities and varieties of chocolate, but I think Chef John Ly perfected it.

strata chocolate truffles

Everything served tonight was divine.  Every dish perfectly cooked and executed.  Thank you Strata for a great experience on my son’s 11th birthday.

Get hungry, Houston.  And go to Strata.   Chef John Ly will not disappoint.

Adam

birthday cake from strata saying happy birthday drew
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~ by hungryinhouston on February 18, 2010.

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