New and Noteworthy
Cava, Dallas and Benjy’s on Washington, Houston
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Dallas Taking its name from the Spanish sparkling wine, Cava has moved into Le Rendezvous’ old space, bringing with it a varied multinational menu. Amid an atmosphere of understated elegance, diners can enjoy a number of Mediterranean-oriented dishes, like French onion soup, margherita pizza, paella, or tortilla española (the typical Spanish potato-and-egg cake). We dropped in for Sunday brunch, our absolute favorite meal of the week, and were impressed with the creative eggs Benedict served in a piping-hot popover instead of on a boring old English muffin; alongside were potatoes roasted with tomato, green pepper, and onion. BYOB (liquor license pending). Preston Royal shopping center, 5934 Royal Ln (214-361-2277). Lunch 7 days 11–2. Dinner Sun–Thur 5–9:30, Fri & Sat 5–10. Brunch Sat & Sun 10–3. $–$$ W+
Benjy’s on Washington
Houston This stylish place is one of the newest additions to Washington Avenue, which is fast becoming Houston’s “eat street.” If you don’t find something you fancy at one end of the road, just keep driving. Although we’ve heard the menu here described as “lyrical,” that may be going a bit far. Nevertheless, there’s something for everyone on the interesting list of small and large plates, like wood-oven pizzas, seared scallops, and buffalo hanger steak. Even vegetarians will be pleased to find a number of thoughtful green selections, like crispy tofu steak with tomato curry and sweet-potato risotto (are you listening, you visiting Austinites?). Like the original, in Rice Village, this Benjy’s features an upstairs bar overlooking the dining room, the better for people-watching. And, yes, we know the restaurant styles its name “benjy’s,” but lessons learned in English class have not left us. And never will. Bar. 5922 Washington Ave (713-868-1131). Lunch Mon–Fri 11–3. Dinner Sun & Mon 5–9, Tue–Thur 5–10, Fri & Sat 5–11. Reservations recommended. $$–$$$ W+