99% Food, 1% Skin

Coltivare – Houston

My sister brought us to Coltivare for dinner — no reservation taken and long line, we waited for 45 mins on a Monday night.

Eventually when it was our turn, we were seated outdoor with the much-needed heat lamp blasting next to us, and a view of their garden full of edibles.

It was TX after all: with eggplant in full fruits, tomato plants blossoming at the end of October, I could only envy.

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The menu was vibrant with small and large plates, pizza, pasta, salads and salumi.

We were so happy to see all these vegetable dishes on the menu and we went for them like mice to cheese.

Cauliflower with raisins and pine nuts, sautéed backyard greens with anchovies, and kale calamari salad.

The ingredient combinations were exciting and made my mouth watered.

The small plates came out in lightening speed as if the chef and cooks could read our minds.

The cauliflowers were oven-blasted with a little burn bits, deliciously dressed with sweet raisins, nutty pine nuts, and good dose of black pepper.

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I never thought of sautéing vegetables with anchovies and boy, was that amazing!

Not fishy at all, it gave the backyard veg, a chard, a whole new desirable identity even to someone who did not like vegetables.

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Addictive bites one after another.

The olives in the kale salad were huge, and to our surprise, the kale was cooked and the salad was warm!

On a cold night, this unexpectedly warm kale salad was welcoming!

The calamari were tender and the dressing was made with lemon preserve — a little tangy and a little sweet, and I was in love with the pleasant lemon aromas!

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We also had the lemon verbena chicken wings and grilled octopus.

Wings were fried deliciously and tossed with some very spicy chili and crisp basil.

I was really intrigued with the lemon verbena addition to the dish but really could not taste it.

The charred octopus was blackened, extremely tender and super yum.

The best part was the sunchoke paste on the side adding some nutty flavor and earthiness to the octopus.

Partnered with pickled grapefruit, the dish was the best marriage with land and sea.

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For large plates, we had to have pizza since it was one of DH’s favorite food, and that the restaurant was “pizza & garden”.

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The crust was bready, fluffy and soft with crisp bottom, and the shrimps were amazingly fresh – crisp, bouncy and quite literally still carried the flavor of the sea.

Tomatoes, capers, olives harmonized well with the shrimp, with the addition of little fish called alici.

It was one awesome pizza.

My most anticipated dish was the pasta with gulf fish since I never had gulf fish in my life!

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All their pasta were made in-house as well, an the orecchiette pasta had an enjoyable chew to them.

Gulf fish was interesting – very firm texture and fibrous, reminded me of grouper from Asia.

Mild white fish, a little sweet, with unusual ingredients of almond and mint, the flavors of the dish was very unique and extra tasty.

We had a wonderful meal at Coltivare, and it was well worth the wait!

Coltivare Pizza & Garden on Urbanspoon

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