Food & Pricing: Great place for GF, Veggie or Vegan! Approx $$$ on pricing.
Parking: Valet, which we actually used this time. + Street parking.
Patio: Ample patio seating, they are dog friendly!
Service and Cleanliness: Great service always, even if you are always the last table like me. – Always clean with nice décor.
Take out: Available, standard non Styrofoam to go packaging.
Now on to the Review:
So Dru and I are yet again walking into a nice restaurant 30 minutes before closing. A couple of non believers out on Easter Sunday, arriving to Backstreet Café at 830pm when they close at 9.
Quite the faux pas for 2 ex servers, on what is for many, a widely celebrated holiday at that. I believe the gentleman whom attended to us that evening was named Sergio, and even though he had the last table in the building and a family to go home to, he was the soul of courtesy and attended to us quite nicely.
I am a big fan of the Ortega Group restaurants, be you Vegetarian or Vegan, they all go out of their way to accommodate you. There is always a full separate vegetarian menu, not just one or two sad sack options, or nothing at all. Service and cleanliness is also always on point.
This late in the evening, though lovely, no one was in the dining room.
The few remaining tables were all outside, enjoying a night of lovely weather in the beautiful patio, as were we.
I typically LOVE the cocktails at the Ortega establishments, in fact Hugo’s and Caracol are the only places that I can think of off hand that I will enjoy a margarita. As most places serve what tastes like and overly sweet flat Sprite to me.
However, this trip at Backstreet, eh. Much too sweet, I found myself not tasting much else but sugar and cloying sweetness.
First up, pictured below, Violet Hour – Prosecco, Pisco, Austrian violet liqueur, dried lavender, grapes, lemon – $11.00. – Real talk, this tasted like grape soda, and as someone who has lots of experience with “open your throat and swallow” (take of that what you will) I had to send it back. – Well I tried, Dru thought his was worse, kept mine, and sent his back.
Next up, this is the one that got returned, below, Blushing Texan – bourbon, apple & ginger Liqueur, lemon, pomegranate syrup, pomegranate – $11.00. – This one tasted like a strawberry soda to me.
The last one was drinkable, but still sweet due to the spiced simple syrup & praline liquor, I would get a normal Manhattan over this next time, though I do appreciate the spin they put on this classic cocktail as well as the name. The Houstonian – bourbon, praline liqueur, Dolin Rouge, orange bitters, Peychaud Bitters, spiced simple syrup. – $11. 00. Below is the photo for your viewing pleasure.
When we were done with these, we moved on to our classic stand by, Hendricks Martini’s, Up & Wet, No Garnish. Yeah baby. (Austin Powers voice) – I know many do not like Gin, but as far as Gin’s go, Hendricks is like spring water to me, and while I am not a fan of the price point, I drink it pretty much at every outing if available.
Moving on to the food 🙂
I started out with the Watermelon Salad arugula, cucumber, feta, mint, basil, honey-lemon dressing . – $10.00. Photo below. – This would be an easy dish mto make vegan, but while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it, and would try and different salad next time. I fancy cucumber in my drinks more so than my food and in this case, it was no exception. The combination of cucumber, watermelon, and mint made it kinda taste like spa water on plate in a way which was refreshing in a sense, but the arugula was a little yucky in places, as arugula tends to be. I also feel like the plate itself was warm for a salad which took away from the dish a little.
Dru had the below Octopus dish, and loved it! Wood-Grilled Octopus Veracruz-style, tomato, garlic, olives, capers, almonds, toasted bread. – $14.00 – His only complaint was there was no where near enough bread for all of the wonderful sauce that was killing with the garlic, capers and olives. Yes there was table bread, but it is not quite the same. He like the dish so much he even took home the extra sauce.
Soooo moving along, at this point, we decided so what was up with the Veggie Plate, shown below, and were not disappointed. We are able to split it as the restaurant and have the left overs the next day to also share it was so much food!! – Vegetarian Platter seasonal vegetable platter. $17.00 – If you are Vegan let them know so they can accommodate you, Im sure at least some of these items featured butter.
Starting from Mid left center, Corn Soufflé or Corn Cake of some kind, this was the most lack luster item on the plate, could have been a bit more denser and have a bit more flavor. Perhaps I am more used to City Kitchens more solid and salty version 😛 Next going clockwise up is Spaghetti Squash, tender, well seasoned and delicious. This was Dru’s favorite item on the plate. – Next, we go to the ramekin below, Mac and Cheese, just the fattening perfection you would expect. – None of these items I imagine are Vegan due to butter (and Cheese for the Mac), but the squash may be possible to do with out. The whole plate should be GF with the exception of the Mac. – I believe the next following items are all Vegan. – Classic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, next to what tasted like Flash Fried Cauliflower, both were delicious, all be it simple. – Next to that was a small pile of pickled items, onion & cucumber slices. I saved those and draped them on toasted ciabatta slathered with butter the next day. – Now we have the mixed grain pilaf, it included crisp vegetables, even potatoes. And lastly, we have wilted Kale salad topped with slivered almonds. Which was very yummy also. Like I said, it was a cornucopia of food!
Because we are the fatties that we are, it was time for dessert. – I wish I could tell you what it was exactly, a panna cotta like concoction, not Veggie (gelatin)! – Topped with a pineapple foam.
It was tasty, but I would be looking forward to trying other options on my next visit, of which there will certainly be.
We of course wanted to imbibe further and split a glass of Dolce, which they did not have and were served the below instead.
So two major things here, the glasses were filthy with both finger prints & smudges not to mention the disgusting lipstick stain on the right glass. (I don’t wear lipstick and as much of a big girl as he can be, neither does Dru. It was after closing at this point, but still come on barkeep.) – He did to his credit, come out and personally bring both glasses out to us, and advised that he did not bring us 1 type of dessert wine, but 2 different types for us to try. – Out of the 2 dessert wine options, we picked the Japanese variety over the moscato variety I believe, but he sent ahead and sent both. – The Japanese option was much better, it had a light port taste to it’s dessert sweetness, whilst the other was more grapey under the sweetness.
I highly recommend dining here anytime you get the chance, avoid the custom cocktails if you do not prefer them overly sweet, and if you like myself aren’t a baller, wait till payday 🙂
Here a couple of menu shots if you are into that kind of thing, other than that, until next time!