Green Lane Co.
Cuisine: Açaí bowls and other healthy choices
10455 Briar Forest Dr. #170 | 713.497.5551 | www.greenlaneco.com
It should come as no surprise to those who have been reading Open for the past year that I am a devout carnivore. When assigned to review Green Lane Co., a cold-pressed juice bar known for açaí bowls and other healthy choices, I was a bit skeptical. That is, until I found out Joey and Luchi Sigueroa, the owners of Luchi and Joey’s Tacos, were behind the concept. The salads and signature bowls have options to please anyone, even the most devout carnivore. Luchi explained that eating healthy shouldn’t be difficult or expensive. At Green Lane it is easy and extremely affordable.
I took our intern, Abigail Kurtzman, since she knows more about healthy food than the writer [(like how to pronounce açaí (ah-sah-EE)]. She started with a CP juice blend (grapefruit, orange, lemon and spinach). I opted for a fusion lemonade with ginger. I was impressed with both choices. Light, flavorful and refreshing.
For the açaí bowl, I deferred. What I learned was that it’s a smoothie to which other ingredients are added. I also learned that I will eat it again.
The Energy açaí with blueberries and granola was incredible.
Choosing a lunch bowl is difficult, but only because of the number of options. Rice with nine different proteins including tuna, salmon, turkey and chicken, and up to five vegetables. I went with chicken and veggies, Abigail with the tuna poke. Both bowls were fantastic and filling. At $11 for mine, and $8 for hers – an amazing bargain. I didn’t feel guilty that I didn’t feel guilty.
For those in the Westchase area, go to Green Lane. You can avoid the fast food, pay much less and eat better. Your wallet and waistline will thank you.
Toulouse (new menu)
Cuisine: French Bistro
4444 Westheimer Rd., Ste. E 100 | 713. 871.0768 | www.toulousecafeandbar.com
Since opening a little more than a year ago in the fast-expanding River Oaks District, Toulouse Café and Bar has provided an excellent French dining experience. From the inviting café décor, impeccable service and French cuisine it is easy to imagine yourself in Toulouse.
Starting with cocktails might seem decadent. For me, it was a given with the traditional and seasonal offerings. The French 77 (gin, wildflower liqueur, grapefruit, lemon, simple syrup, raspberry, champagne) was perfect to battle the summer heat. My favorite was the Blueberry Mule. The muddled blueberries accentuated the tangy ginger beer. The cold, brass mug kept the drink as cold as it first came out.
The menu provided plenty of starting options. Ultimately, I chose the Moules Marinières (white wine, lemon, shallots). Tender and flavorful with plenty of fresh bread to dip into the sauce, with a portion large enough for two or three. Next time, the nontraditional Green Room with jalapenos, ginger and shitake mushrooms will still be waiting for me.
For entrées, the lunch menu had the tempting classics – beef bourguignon, crispy duck leg confit. I chose the steak frites. The steak (medium rare +) was fork tender. And who doesn’t love frites, especially with béarnaise to dip. After hearing the specials, I sampled the gnocchi — potato gnocchi with shrimp in a roasted tomato/olive sauce. The gnocchi were square and larger than their Italian cousins. Extremely light and well-seasoned. The acidity from the tomato/olive sauce pulled it all together.
No French dining experience is complete without dessert, and Toulouse did not disappoint. Admittedly, I am not a cake lover. The Fondant du Chocolate changed my mind. Molten chocolate cake with Armagnac. Divine. Truly.
Overall, Toulouse was what I had imagined a bit more. Magnifique.
FM Kitchen + Bar
1112 Shepherd Dr.
832.804.6006 | www.www.fmkitchenandbar.com
FM Kitchen + Bar, the new restaurant from Ryan Hildebrand, is clearly a departure from the haute cuisine offered at Triniti, his former concept in the foothills of River Oaks. The new place is an updated ice house like you‘d find in the 1960s. With picnic tables and games, it’s perfect to enjoy a good burger with the kids. Also: live music on the weekends and a full bar with draft beer and wine for the bigger kids.
I loved the craft cocktails available on tap. Based on the recommendations, I had the Watermelon Mule and Farmhouse Tea. The ginger beer worked well with the sweeter melon. The whiskey-based Tea was extremely smooth, maybe too smooth as it went down quickly.
The menu, in line with concept, doesn’t try to be too much. The burgers, chicken, brisket tacos and chicken fried steak are Texas comfort food at its finest. I started with the frito pie and the shrimp and avocado campechana. A flavorful chili supplemented with the house hot sauce was delicious. FM’s take on campechana was exceptional. Rather than a thick ketchup-y base, a lighter tomato/lime with cucumbers and red onion highlighted each ingredient. Highly recommended.
Breaking from the trend of $18 gourmet burgers, the FM burger is well-seasoned patties and crisp veggies with the “shh” sauce (mustard based with homemade pickles). Perfect. Sides of tater tots and hushpuppies with the hot sauce are the way to go.
FM’s CFS is definitely a winner. Great breading and a cream pepper gravy that too many people make too thin or too thick.
The best news I heard? FM added brunch on Father’s Day. Fried chicken and churros, shrimp toast benedict and more cocktails. My weekend plans are easier now.
Overall, FM’s simple and well-executed approach works for the Washington Corridor. Less can often be more.