Our Texas week on the blog comes to a close with our last stop in Houston. A wonderful brunch at a lovely restaurant on the North West side of town, Bernadine’s. Cori Sue and I still had loads to do on our Houston bucket list as our trip came to a close, so we rushed over to Bernadine’s to enjoy our last meal in this wonderful city. We had hopes to make it a quick brunch in order to go see some other Houston sites during our last few hours on the town, but due to to the restaurant’s pure awesomeness, it turned into a long, memorable meal.
Bernadine’s is a contemporary Gulf Coast-inspired restaurant with a laid back, and extremely pleasant atmosphere. The restaurant is located in a vacant area, and is almost hidden. In fact, our Uber had a difficult time finding it. But once you enter the space, you see an open patio that is (thankfully) mostly shaded—perfect for summer cocktail enjoyment. Inside, the restaurant is open, well-lit, warm, and inviting. Brunch was at 1 p.m. and when we arrived, the restaurant was still extremely busy.
The first thing we instantly loved about the restaurant was the upscale ambiance the restaurant’s perfectly presented dishes, perfectly clean linens, combined with the relaxed feel, due to the casual, yet cute, attire of the servers, and the lovely simple decor.
We were seated at our table promptly, and ordered cocktails. Cori Sue opted for a traditional mimosa, while I went for the Sweet Magnolia, a sparkling wine breakfast cocktail. Leave it to our East Coast roots to be immediately drawn to their raw bar selections. Cori Sue and I are not know to pass up oysters on the half shell, what can I say?
Our server was kind enough to make a selection of oysters that would provide a variety for us, and still include our favorites, like Rappahannock oysters from our DelMarVa upbringing. The oysters were all great, and gave us a little piece of home all the way in Texas—our meal was off to a great start.
Another thing that caught our eye was the sticky bun. We knew we had to have that to start as well. The sticky bun arrived looking ooey and gooey, covered in sticky pecans. It was warm, and delicious. Buttery and sweet with a perfect touch of cinnamon, I am certain we could have ordered another one and devoured it equally as fast. Thankfully we didn’t. Little did we know we were about to have several more courses of dishes even more satisfying than the one before.
We decided to try and share a few plates, and were immediately drawn to the black pepper biscuits Rockefeller, and the green chile pork guisada. The biscuits came with jumbo lump crab, fried oysters, and was topped with fried eggs. Talk about a piece of home for this D.C. girl, jumbo lump crab meat is difficult to come across in my new home of Chicago, so I was extremely excited to try this dish. Cori Sue was initially having a difficult time deciding between the green chile pork guisada BBQ pork hash, so our server recommended we try both in addition to my biscuits Rockefeller.
Feeling especially gluttonous, Cori Sue and I also came to the conclusion that we needed to try a little bit of fried chicken in Texas, and the fried chicken salad sounded delicious. We requested that this come out first, and when it did, we dove right in. The chicken was crisp to perfection, and the salad was great. What I especially enjoyed about the dish though, was the light poppy seed dressing. It was so good! We made sure to control ourselves though, and not finish it all, as we anticipate our next couple of dishes arriving at any moment.
Our entrees arrived and to our surprise, there was a fourth dish. Yes, that’s right, a fourth dish. We took a look and it was a bright colored ceviche— quelle surprise! Our server, who as it turned out also happened to be Bernadine’s general manager, had insisted we try the ceviche as well. We were up to the challenge, if you want to call it that. I mean the ceviche was a show stopper; it was beautifully presented, it looked so good.
Okay, this is the point in my review where I admit— we ordered a LOT of food. But call it gluttony or calling it being brunching powerhouses, but Cori Sue and I dug enjoy. I wish I could say we enjoyed everything to the very last bite, but we didnt. Nonetheless we made a pretty good dent in all of our dishes.
The ceviche tasted even better than it looked. It was a Peruvian-style aji amarillo leche de tigre, with green tomatoes, pineapple, blood oranges, and chiles—we loved it. The green chile pork guisada was phenomenal as well. I really enjoyed the flavor components of the dish; the salty grits, savory eggs, and the green chile sauce worked perfectly together.
The BBQ pork hash Cori Sue enjoyed. I am not much of a hash girl myself, but it was still another exceptional dish. My favorite dish of our lets-not-say-how-many-courses had to be the black pepper biscuits Rockefeller. I don’t know how, but I managed to almost finish the dish. The crab meat was delicious, and made this Maryland crab loving gal one happy brunch-goer. The fried oysters were crisp and were just another fantastic component to the dish. The gravy was so yummy, and the black pepper gave it just the kick it needed to really pack it with flavor.
If you can’t tell, our time at Bernadine’s was well spent experiencing the best of brunch. We loved everything about it, seriously, if you are in Houston, go here for brunch, you won’t regret it! As expected, we spent way more time at Bernadine’s than we had originally intended, one of us even missed our flight back home as a result. It didn’t matter, because I am here to tell you it was all worth it. I will certainly be back next time I am in Houston.
The Bitches Say: A+. If you are looking for a first class brunch, in a laid back atmosphere that will satisfy all guests, get to Bernadine’s. This place is the perfect spot for any brunch-loving diner. We can only imagine what dinner is like here!
1801-B N Shepherd Dr.
Houston, TX 77008
Bernadine’s serves brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.