New and Noteworthy
Bistro Don Camillo, Houston and August E’s, Fredericksburg
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Bistro Don Camillo
Houston The Guy family has been Houston’s French restaurant connection for years. (The names Chez Georges, alas defunct, and Bistro Provence will resonate with Francophiles.) Now they have ventured further afield and opened Bistro Don Camillo, brimming with food and wine from the French Riviera and Italy. Cheery fabrics and a wood-burning brick oven have done wonders with the setting, in a charm-challenged strip center. And thanks to owners Jean-Philippe and Geneviève Guy (son and daughter-in-law of père Georges and mère Monique), the food measures up. A hearty white bean cassoulet with duck-leg confit, Toulouse sausage, and pork spareribs put us in mind of memorable trips to the French countryside. Baked red snapper came stuffed with a sumptuous salmon mousse. Salmon carpaccio more than adequately represented Italy’s culinary landscape. About the only thing that fell short was rice pudding with candied fruit (it’s hard to get the idea of fruitcake out of your head). Beer & wine. 6510 Del Monte, at Voss (713-782-3011). Lunch Mon–Fri 11–2, Sat noon–2:30. Dinner Mon 5–9, Tue–Thur 5–9:30, Fri & Sat 5–10. Closed Sun. $$–$$$ W+
Fredericksburg What a difference a move makes. When August E’s set up shop in a log building in 2004, the mood of the ambitious restaurant was all about the heritage of old Fredericksburg. But ever since it slipped into modern digs in town three months ago, it couldn’t be more urbane. Large windows afford a glimpse of a chic concrete bar and colorful contemporary art. Step inside and you’re wowed by soaring ceilings and white-linen-clad tables. As before, owners Dawn and Leu Savanh offer an impressive bill of fare. There’s a sushi bar, to begin with (Leu, the executive chef, is Thai, so he has an abiding commitment to fresh seafood, which is flown in from Hawaii every other day). The other menu choices are equally mouthwatering, including dry-aged Angus steaks and a variety of locally sourced meats and produce. Now that the place is right downtown—one block south of Main—there’s no excuse to miss it. Bar. 203 E. San Antonio, at Llano (830-997-1585). Lunch Wed–Sat 11–2. Dinner Tue–Sun 5–9. Closed Mon. $$–$$$ W+