As a blogger, I am often asked to share the names of my favorite restaurants. I admittedly loathe this question because it’s really hard to answer. Houston is over-saturated with tons of great restaurants that quite frankly are all amazing in their own way. Ambrosia Houston just happens to stand out among them all. Located minutes from the museum district, this hidden gems offers some of the most delicious, Asian inspired bites in the area. Earlier this month Chef Adriana Soto joined the Ambrosia team. During a recent hosted Happy Hour I enjoyed a sampling of some new menu items from Chef Soto. Her Venezuelan inspired dishes masterfully compliment Ambrosia’s signature style.
Ambrosia is a charming hidden gem on the corner of Sheppard and Lexington. It’s the perfect place for a romantic date night or a small gathering of friends for happy hour. At night, there is something alluring about Ambrosia. Maybe it’s the lighting and lion head fountain on the front patio, the heavy, wooden front door or the dimly lit interior space. Whatever it is, I am in love with this place, and have been for years.
The dining room is set mostly with four top tables, but these tables can be pushed together to allow for larger gatherings like happy hour. There are two small private rooms along the back walls. The walls of the private spaces are bordered with red plush sofas, with a gold square table in the center for your food. I hosted a small birthday gathering in this space and it was simply perfect for my little group of six. There are also two, high top rectangle tables in front of the small bar. During one of my visits, my date and I actually sat at the bar. It’s very small but it’s where all the action happens. Possibly my favorite seat the house next to the private, red rooms in the back.
There are some things in this universe that are best left alone – Joseph Derepentigny
This quote describes my personal feelings about Ambrosia and its menu. Everything on the happy hour menu compliments the restaurants over-arching South East Asian theme. From the small shared plates that range from $5 – $8 dollars to the enticing libations that are all $8 during happy hour. During my most recent tasting I was introduced to a few new menu items that highlighted Chef Soto’s South American roots. The menu is broken down into five sections and during the tasting I sampled an item from each of those sections.
From the Sea
Tex Bass & Shrooms (GF): Texas Stripped Bass, Truffled coconut cream, Forest Mushrooms and Basil. This was easily the sexiest dish I’d ever seen. The bass was perfectly cooked and its glistening, crisp skin was scrumptious. The fish rested on a bed of forest mushrooms cooked in truffled coconut cream. In my opinion these mushrooms could stand alone on the menu as their own separate dish. ($20)
Land & Sky
Karaage A L’Orange (GF): Japanese styled fried chicken thighs, over an orange curry sauce. Though I have had chicken Karaage at other places like Uchi, the orange curry sauce is what sets Ambrosia’s apart from the rest. The sauce was smooth and creamy with a little kick of heat at the end from the curry. A wonderful compliment to the crispy, Japanese styled fried chicken thighs. ($12)
Raw & Rare
Gulf Catch Tiraditro Tostada: Local fish ceviche on a rice chip, with yuzu kosho vinaigrette, served alongside an apple and fennel slaw. This was actually the first dish Chef Soto presented Talk about starting the night off with a bang! The fresh of the fish paired with the fresh apples and fennel took the dish to a whole ‘nother level. I really enjoyed the incorporation of the rice chip. It added a very nice texture and crunch to the dish. ($12)
Tom Yum Shishitos (VG) (V) (GF): Grill blistered Shishito peppers with hot and sour sauce. A great snack to pair with a local beer. ($8)
Mixed Mini Mushroom Flatbread (VG): Seasonal mushrooms with an Asian herb chutney and mozzarella baked on a crispy house made naan bread. Hands down my favorite dish on the tasting menu. The naan was seasoned so well and had the perfect “chew” to it. If you’re into flatbread I highly suggest it. Especially for those who think pizza must have meat. Chef Soto proves that to be but a myth!
Although, Ambrosia has much more to offer than just happy hour, adding it to the top of your Houston Happy Hour list is still a wise choice. These items are just a few of the spectacular dishes you can expect from Chef Soto. The samosas and crab fried rice are two of the most scrumptious honorable mentions ever!