Sunday, September 18, 2011

Table 7 Bistro

Attached to the Club Quarters Hotel, Table 7 Bistro (720 Fannin at Rusk, (713) 227-4800) is the elegant member of the District 7 family, standing out thanks to its sleek, arty setting and slightly higher prices compared to the more casual EaDo and Midtown restaurants.

Brunch, thankfully, is not too pricey an affair, with mimosas clocking in at only $4 and the most-expensive item on the menu, understandably, the pork chop, at $17.

If you adhere to the Fannin Street address, you find yourself at the entrance to Club Quarters, which is a bit off-putting if you're not expecting a dark, empty hotel lobby (because, frankly, who does?). At 11:30 am on a Sunday, the restaurant was equally empty, and Stephen, his friend Ben, and I had our pick of the place. We opted for the window seats, because the pillows looked cozy, and the nearly floor-to-ceiling-length windows provided the most light in the dimly lit space. The consistent, bordello red decor of the bistro probably sets the mood at night, when there are candles on the table and you're sipping a cocktail before heading upstairs to your room, but before noon on a Sunday, not so much.

I ordered my usual coffee, hot this time, Stephen his diet Coke, and waters all around, which, on close inspection, were served with dry, dirty-looking lemons that did nothing to flavor the water. How could lemons even get dirty? They're picked from trees!

Even though it was before noon, we were given the lunch menu, which had nary an egg dish in sight, and so we had to ask for the brunch menu, which had a healthy choice of specialty items, eggs, meat, and bread dishes.

The migas breakfast ($10) looked promising — a tortas-based meal that was served with mozzarella, pico de gallo, country potatoes, and bacon and sausage. Oh boy!

When I got it, served on a clean white plate that I'd actually love to have a few of at home, everything was cold. The eggs, the potatoes, the meat. All of it. Granted, I delayed my first bite by a minute to take the requisite photo, but still. It would need to have been placed in front of a mighty fan to cool off so quickly.

It's a physiological fact that hot food simply tastes better than cold, so I wasn't surprised to also find the eggs, the potatoes, even the bacon and sausage flavorless, but this was just blah. No amount of salt was going to make those potatoes tasty. Not even the addition of the pico de gallo — served, along with ketchup, in its own plastic container, which I couldn't decide was tacky or thoughtful — could dress up the eggs. I even forgot there was mozzarella in the migas until reading the brunch description. And the bacon, advertised as crispy on the menu, was more on the chewy side.

Stephen had a similar disappointing experience with his French toast (found under the rather adorably named "Add syrup" section of the brunch menu, along with the Belgian waffle and stack of pancakes).

At only $11, the platter seems rather generous — you get four pieces of French toast, two eggs any style, and country potatoes, though only bacon or sausage this time. For no extra charge, you can get fruit and whipped cream, which is nice, but seems cheap since you have to ask for it. Also cheap? Four pieces of French toast turned out to be two slices, cut in half. Stephen also had asked for the whipped cream, which never came. He found his "crispy" bacon to be more on the fatty side, as well. And, yeah, all of it was cold (the fruit, of course, only naturally).

Ben ordered the fried egg sandwich ($9), which comes with two eggs over easy, tomato, onion, and pepper between a white bun, country potatoes, and a choice of bacon or sausage. To be honest, Ben had to run before I could discuss at length his experience with the sandwich, though he said he enjoyed it. And the toast did look mouthwateringly buttery, even if the rest of the presentation was truly messy (that lettuce looks literally thrown on the plate, extra points if it actually lands on the sandwich?).
Throughout our meal, the place picked up only a bit, and just as we were settling our bill, music came over the speakers (some throwback Lauryn Hill). That would have been a nice addition during our meal, to at least add some atmosphere.
Verdict: As the in-house restaurant for the Club Quarters Hotel, Table 7 Bistro isn't a horrible option, the brunch is just too safely bland for us to pay it a second visit.

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