Bistro Menil | Welcomed Addition to Menil Collection
The Bistro Menil is a welcome addition to the 30 acre Houston art campus which includes the Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, Byzantine Fresco Chapel, the Cy Twombly Pavilion and the Dan Flavin Installation. The planned opening in 2018 of the Menil Drawing Institute will be the latest addition to this beautifully conceived campus. All of these buildings are open to the public and admission is free.
This modern bistro is situated in a bungalow house adjacent to the Menil Collection and is opened to match the days when the museum is open to the public. From Wednesdays to Sundays one can take advantage of lunch, afternoon tea, happy hours, and dinner. Brunch is also offered during Friday to Sunday from 10AM to 3PM. Check the Bistro Menil website for hours, special events, wine tastings and the like.
Large windows along with modern lighting make this restaurant a bright light-filled space. Fresh flowers adorn each table. The wood ceiling offsets the table tops while the molded white chairs counter balance the white walls.
The stark white of the walls allows the three-dimensional art to really pop! Some people have described this modeled art as resembling clouds. The way it emerges from the walls it reminds me more of the growth of mushrooms or even a clustering of flowers. Suffice it to say, it is eye catching!
On the left side of the entrance and bar is a smaller dining space with access to the patio area. It is quite lovely! It is also less noisy according to reports that I have read when this bistro is packed with patrons.
The first time my husband and I dined at Bistro Menil was during 2017 Houston Restaurants Weeks. $3 of our $20 lunch price was donated to the Houston Food Bank. That is a wonderful time to get out there and try new restaurants or even return to tried and true ones of which one is already familiar. Other ones we tried and liked this year were Lucille’s, Bistecca Italian Steakhouse and Ciao Bello Restaurant.
The Houston Food Bank helps to feed 800,000 people according to their site. It covers individuals and families living in Harris, Galveston and Montgomery counties. Distribution is through some 600 food pantries and charities serving others. Next year we will certainly plan to visit more of these restaurants of which 289 participated this year.
My husband chose as his entrée the 6 ounce portion of the 12-hour beef short rib with sides of Yukon mashed potatoes and house salad. He raved about the tender, delicious and mouth watering short rib with port wine and shallot reduction sauce.
As my entrée I chose the 8 ounce lemon thyme chicken served with pan juices and a grilled lemon. My sides were the quinoa salad and cold zucchini with Parmesan and pancetta. It was all tasty! I have a vegetable spiralizer at home and have since attempted to replicate the zucchini salad with success. Thanks for the idea Chef Greg Martin! This talented and widely traveled chef at one time worked with Julia Child.
My husband chose the Le Brownie A La Mode and I chose the Lemon Tart from the dessert list. Both were good.
We each topped off our meal that day with a steaming cup of espresso.
Recently I took a good friend to Bistro Menil to celebrate her birthday. We started off sharing a cold roasted beet salad with walnuts & chives. We also had the crumbled goat cheese added to the top. It is a delicious dish and my friend got to take some home to enjoy another day.
The birthday girl choose to eat that very same zucchini salad that I had earlier tasted as a side dish. It was topped off with salmon as her entrée. The dressing on the salad is a refreshing lemon vinaigrette which paired well with the salmon.
Since it was a Friday the lunch as well as brunch menus were offered. My choice came from the brunch menu that day.
Oh my! It was delicious! The house-cured salmon is mounded over a mixed green salad. Deviled eggs topped off with caviar sit atop the thin latkes. Paired with a side salad this is a dish that I would enjoy again and again.
We both had a cup of coffee Americana to finish our meal. My friend was presented with a birthday cupcake topped off with a lit candle. The service there is leisurely. Since they are open from 10AM until closing, it is the perfect place to relax and chat particularly if one happens to go there at an off peak hour.
This is a great addition to what is located in the Montrose neighborhood. Nearby is the University of Saint Thomas. A large lot with free parking also makes visiting Bistro Menil nice. The next time we decide to visit the Menil Collection we will also plan to drop in to this modern bistro for a drink or a meal. Just look for the large toy inspired red jack sculpture in front. You will know that you have arrived at the correct place!