We went to Brasserie 19 on 5/8/11. I am not sure if this was the first weekend they were open or the second, but I thought I would give you the run down.
First off, they were aiming for the upscale/downscale concept because (according to their website) they wanted people to feel they could come eat there 3-4 times per week instead of just on anniversaries or birthdays, etc.
It was a very eclectic mix of patrons. You clearly had the old-money River Oaks crowd, but you also had a lot of younger people there on dates, dining with friends, etc. It was a lot more casual than what I was anticipating.
As for the service....it was TERRIBLE. The entrees were plated one at a time, each one coming about 5 minutes after the previous one. Seriously, the kitchen has some kinks to work out. Which, depending upon when they opened up, this may be an easy fix. Although, this is the 3rd installment from these guys (Ibiza, Catalan..) so you would think the recipe for a successful opening month would be second nature by now. Not the case here.
After the entrees FINALLY got there for ALL of us, we had yet another issue, which may just be a product of a waiter in the weeds? My friend's wife ordered a glass of wine that was a suggestion of the waiter. It never came, so she inquired about it. His reply: "Yes, ma'am, what did you order?" She said, "well I don't know, I took your recommendation, so you tell me." --- clearly he had no clue so I am sure she got whatever glass of Pinot Noir they could pour fastest.
AS FOR THE FOOD: The appetizers we ordered: (gnocchi & steak tartare) were good. HOWEVER --- they were TINY. I know this is a French themed restaurant, but when I say tiny, I am referring to 5 small pieces of gnocchi for a table of 4. Literally. We each had one and I snagged the 5th piece. Worth $15? Not in the least bit for the amount of food. The steak tartare yielded about 5 fork fulls as well. They were both very good, but the waitstaff should advise the tables that you need about 3-4 appetizers because they are so small you will get one bite. They never did. So I ordered a cone of french fries, as a table next to me got one and they looked good. Those held us over until the main course came.
My wife got the blue crab cocktail (which was listed as a main entree) and it came out 1/2 full and looked like it could yield about 3-4 spoon fulls, if that. She told them she had no idea it was that small or would be 1/2 full, so she got the Halibut instead. The portion was average size and she remarked that it was very good. My buddy got the filet ($38) and he said it tasted EXACTLY like the filet at Ibiza. I had the ribeye ($32) which came with mushrooms and marrow. It was an 18oz (I was told) ribeye
and it was good. It was good for the price point. It was cooked the way I asked (med rare) and had good flavor. Our other friend got a salad and the 1/2 lobster. It arrived LAST after we were almost done and it was prepared shelled, on ice. She was never told it was served chilled. She ate it but was not happy that the waiter did not inform her of this (and there was no mention in the menu).
The re-fills on cocktails and other drinks were very very slow. Again, this could be one waiter slammed in the weeds and not a reflection of the restaurant in general.
When we got the dessert menu it looked "okay" but we did not want the fiasco of waiting one by one to receive our dessert. So we left and went to Tony's for their souffle.
The total bill (including drinks) was about $185 or so. Overall, it has the capacity to be a pretty good place IMO, but time will tell. We had a good time, but I will be back for lunch a few times before I try them out for dinner again.
Just my .02