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2307 Ella Blvd.
Houston, TX 77008
The Background: My friend Heather recommended giving Heights West a try. Several of us were out for beers at Petrol Station the other night and only about a mile away from the restaurant. I figured it was a perfect time to see what this neighborhood joint had to offer. Heights West is comfort food by day and French cuisine by night. I was intrigued. The best part…this place was casual.
The Scene: As you head down Ella, you better keep an eye out for the restaurant. It’s right across the street from Tony’s and if you aren’t careful you’ll zoom right past it. We parked, walked through the door, and I immediately got that “good place” vibe. The guy behind the bar greets you, and a glance to the right offers up a nice view of the food preparation. We had eight in our party,and we were hungry. Never in a million years did I see this crew kicking it at a French place after the bar. But here we were...in a converted mechanic's shop, about to eat duck.
The Food: The food was exceptional. Everyone ordered something different and I was fortunate enough to sample a variety of dishes. I ordered the duck. It came as thinly sliced breast meat in a mango sauce. The duck leg was served on another plate with a side salad. The entire dish was perfection. I’ve had duck about ten times in my life…this was the best. So moist, so tender, and cooked to perfection. I had a bite of the tuna and rabbit as well. The tuna was damn near raw, but that’s the way it should be. I’m guessing it was seared about twenty seconds on each side…perfect! The rabbit was in a cream sauce and may have been the best thing I had that night.
The Dessert: I ordered the strawberry mousse. Wrong choice. Go with the apple pie a la mode. It’s small, but oh so good. Apple compote is surrounded by a fortress of sweetened croutons , then topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The apple pie got an “A” for effort, creativity, and taste…the report card trifecta!
The Verdict: I love Heights West! It does my heart good to see a restaurant of this quality in my area of town. I went back for lunch on a Friday afternoon to have the fish n’ chips with cole slaw. They nailed that dish as well. I gotta admit, I’m rooting for Heights West to make it. The owner sat down with us that night and I could see the passion she had for this place. The service was top-notch on both experiences. Took the kids with me for lunch…in part, to see how they dealt with young ones. Both kids were treated like royalty. In short…great food, casual atmosphere, and friendly service. As a side note…I went to Mark’s the next evening. Although their presentation was more extravagant, Heights West’s taste was right there.
Note: The lunch prices are reasonable, but expect to pay higher prices for dinner. This honestly wasn’t a problem for me, given the high level of food prep and quality ingredients. Also...unless you're an anorexic supermodel, expect the bathroom to be a tight fit.