I met up with a group of high school friends to celebrate a few things. First, my good friend got engaged in Europe a few weeks ago and this was our first chance to see her in person to congratulate her. Second my other good friend just completed her degree. We are so very proud of her and it deserved a good brunch to celebrate. Then finally, as you can imagine, I surround myself with fellow foodies so we were also celebrating the first Sunday of Houston restaurant weeks This year there are not too many brunch options on the restaurants weeks menu. Some of the most popular brunch places like Backstreet, only offered a dinner menu for Houston Restaurant Weeks. We went with what looked like the best brunch option, Hearsay Gastro Lounge, the original location on Travis Street.
The Setup: I always felt that Hearsay was such a beautiful location. Historic building, exposed brick, two story dining room. Before my Sunday brunch, I had only visited during dinner when it is dark outside. This building is gorgeous and deserves to be observed on a sunny day. It’s an open concept with tables along the main wall, seats at the bar and a small section upstairs that overlooks the restaurant. There is a small outdoor patio where a band was playing. A smaller “exclusive” restaurant seems to drive up demand, because every time I come here a reservation is needed! Even with a reservation we waited about ten to fifteen minutes for an available table.
Drinks: Hearsay has a great drink selection that I have indulged in once or twice before. For brunch goers they offered $12 bottomless mimosas. You can never go wrong with that. I skipped out on the bottomless mimosas this go around, but my friend ordered it and our waiter kept her glass full!
Food: We all ordered off the Houston Restaurants Weeks menu. Let me break it up by course:
First course: My sister keeps telling me to quit getting mac and cheese everywhere I go BUT it’s my favorite ! I’ll eventually make a list of my favorites in town. Anywho we ordered the mac and cheese for our first course. From the description, I did not expect it to be mac and cheese balls. I liked them for the most part. The best part was the sauce at that the balls sat in.
Second Course: I went for the lemon ricotta pancakes, based solely on my experience in Boston with lemon ricotta fritters. The taste was perfect. The lemon was great and came to life with the syrup. Unfortunately, the pancakes were rough and did not have the fluffy consistency that I expected :(. It was almost as if they missed an ingredient. Three of my friends ordered the grits and braised pork butt, which I started to go with. All of them loved their dish and noted that the grits were really good. Another friend ordered the biscuits and gravy and was equally satisfied.
Third Course: My favorite thing from Hearsay is the Domino Chocolate cake. It is only served at the Hearsay on Travis and it is amazing! Unfortunately it was not on the Restaurant Weeks menu. Our waiter, Ryan aka D was SO great. He brought us out a Domino cake for the table on the house for our celebrations. I was content with that, but went ahead and ordered the tres leche since they were out of the chocolate mousse. I hate soggy cakes so I knew the tres leches would not win me over but it came with the meal so I ordered it! Don’t trust my opinion on the tres leches. Others in the group ordered the tres leches and loved it. A few others ordered the cheese cake and loved it as well.
For the most part I was the only person who took some losses on my picks. Everyone else loved everything they ordered. I say go for the mac and cheese as your first course, second course the grillades (braised pork butt) and grits and finally your third course, if you like cheesecake or tres leche then you will like Hearsay’s versions. Next time I come for brunch, I am ordering the chicken and waffles. It was not on the Houston Restaurant Weeks menu but everyone around me seemed to be devouring it.