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Houston-Aries

John Scar | Jul 7, 2005 06:28 PM

In an effort to not be too redundant you should know I posted this on another board as well.
I recently had a chance to dine at a few restaurants on the cheap because my wife was out of town and I could check them out solo and in the case of Aries saving almost $200. I was reserved a little table next to an air duct I had read about on someones post, although I didn't feel any effects from it, problem must have been addressed. I was offered a drink upon sitting down and decided on vodka "martini" with a twist. It was a nice cocktail. I decided on the tasting menu even though I thought it was a little pricey. I was brought a nice little amuse bouche of apple tart with fois gras spread thru ought balanced with a red wine vinegar. It was certainly a nice dish and the obvious small portion was foreshadowing the rest of the night.
The first course was an excellent summer dish of frozen yellow tomato gazpacho (granita). Very simple in taste and my guess is you should be able to freeze the gazpacho also. A tasty little cracker accompanied the dish and was used as a fork/spoon while eating. This course was served with a rose wine and me not being a big wine guy (I love it, just don't know about it) I can say it wasn’t a great intro into Rose for me, it was fairly alcoholy. If what was served is what was on my menu the name is Domaine de l'Espiqouette Vin de Pays de la Principaute d'orange, 2004. For what that’s worth.
The next dish was a very nice pureed Cannellini Bean Soup with Potato confit and truffles. This dish was excellent! And even though again it was tiny it was about as much as I wanted to taste because of the richness. The potato was hollowed out and stuffed with a very nice melting cheese. I nice little Voignier from Santa Barbara called Consilience, a lot of sweet pear.
I was not very excited about the next dish of poached chicken but figured f a chef has the balls to put a poached chicken on an $85 meal then it must be good. Well I was right. This was hands down the best chicken dish I have had even if it was only about 2 oz of chicken. The chicken was poached in milk and served atop some "melted" leeks with a mustard foan sauce. The leeks were buttery heaven and the whole dish melted in my mouth. This was served with a chateau de Viviers, 1st Cru, Chablis, nice a crisp. This or the bean soup was my favorite
Next was a duck dish. I am always a little nervous when either a non-Asian or French does duck. Most people do a very good job of screwing up duck IMO. Aries however has it down. This was a nice little (seriously little) piece of duck breast sliced thin yet was still able to keep a crispy skin. A risotto cake accompanied and might have taken a little away from the duck.
Next was a dish that was said to be peaches and cream with Vanilla financier. I call it 1 small slice of roasted peach with vanilla mascarpone ice cream. Seriously, there was only 1 little slice of peach. It was a tasty bit of peach and the ice cream was very good. Then next a very tasty watermelon soup with a mint tapioca was served as a drink. I loved it. I had another glass of wine, which was supposed to be a chenin blanc, but I was served a sweet dessert wine instead because they "ran" out of the chenin blanc, which really surprises me since the menus are made daily?
All in all I thought the food was great. And although I don't mind the small dishes, in fact I love them; I just don't see a great value in spending $85 bucks for 5-6oz of protein (Maybe that's not out of line, I just saw that charivari had a 6 course tasting menu for 75ish!). And the wine for an additional $55 was a little off especially with them running out of one of the selections. Will I go back? Maybe, I'm just not rushing out the door to get there.

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