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Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:00pm
Mon–Fri 5:30pm–10:00pm
Sat 5:30pm–10:00pm
Sun 11:00am–3:00pm
Sun 5:30pm–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


River Oaks
1985 Welch St.
Houston, TX
(713) 533-0200
Mockingbird Bistro
A great deal and some very good meals (better, if you like truffle oil)

Mockingbird Bistro still rocks the “country-French-meets-American-market” ethos that won it acclaim in the early ’00s. Since then, the fickle young crowd has moved on, but the kitchen tries to re-energize, and often produces some of the best deals in the city. Its bar menu has a wealth of these, like a $9 juicy Kobe burger with sharp Stilton and delicious bacon-onion marmalade. Kobe short ribs are also terrific, braised to tender with a tangy tomato polenta and good asparagus. Fish is always strong, like impeccably fresh rainbow trout, or maple-basted salmon that’s so restrained that it surpasses expectations. But lately we’ve detected beleaguered truffle oil smells wafting up from several dishes. Was this the result of a comment card left by someone wearing a “fun” embroidered cat vest? Come on.

The modern interior has moments of Old-World class: large, medieval-looking chandeliers lording over tables of crisp white linens, and sill-to-ceiling windows bring an airiness to the red brick walls and exposed ceiling pipes. The unpretentious and homey feeling is buffeted with terrifically low mark-ups at the bar ($10 for 10-year Ardbeg? Here?). There’s a good showing of local and imported beers, and cocktails are made from small-batch spirits. The broadly appealing wine list is sometimes curious (since when is California Cabernet Franc an “Exciting Alternative”?). But mostly, the bistro sings right on key.

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