Thursday, September 20, 2018

La Lucha in the Houston Heights

The much anticipated new restaurant concept from Chef Ford Fry opened this week in Houston. La Lucha is the chef's opportunity to pay respect to one of his favorite childhood restaurants, the San Jacinto Inn, that his family regularly visited for southern cuisine and other gulf coast favorites. It is the first restaurant of its kind in the Ford Fry family.

I just had my first meal there and I am excited to go back for more. My husband and I sat at the bar and each went with a wine by the glass. I ordered the Cleto Chiarli "Vecchia Modena" Lambrusco, a refreshinging and very food friendly light sparkling Italaian winewhile he went with a more classic choice of Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve Champagne. We had great service at the bar from both Colton and Allie. They knew the menu well and were quick to discuss their favorite items.

We started with a side of watermelon that was dressed with Thai chiles, lime and fresh cilantro and an order of La caviar
and onion dip topped with chives and served with a half can of Pringles potato crisps. This combination was extremely tasty together. The fresh, sweet and spicy watermelon was an ideal contrast to the savory, creamy, salty goodness of the dip. We quickly finished both in record time barely maintaining against the urge to lick the dip container and wash it down with the watermelon juice in the bottom of the bowl. Luckily, our next course was quick to arrive

We decided to split a whole fried chicken which was served with biscuits, pickles and a choice of sauce. Colton shared that the green harissa was his favorite so we followed his lead and enjoyed the  fresh herb condiment alongside the crispy yet juicy bird. Predictably, we could not finish it all so were able to bring a couple of pieces back to our daughter at home as a late work day had prevented her from joining us that evening. We both felt that our drink choices had worked well through the entire meal.

Kevin, the bar manager, stopped by to check on us and we took the opportunity to question him about his favorites. He highly recommended the oysters, both raw and fried, paired with Mezcal as a top choice for him. As they have a great Happy Hour deal on the oysters, I imagine we will be back soon to test that out. Other items of interest that we saw going by were the fried shimp and the Pharmacy burger. We also watched Colton mixmaster up some cocktails that he assured us were not only refreshing but that also played well with the menu options.

To top off the evening, we enjoyed small dishes of soft serve ice cream. I had the vanilla topped with  crushed saltines while he had the chocolate sprinkled with crushed oreos. Simple and delicious.

As a born and raised native Houstonian, I am particular about my southern Gulf Coast cuisine. Chef Ford Fry, along with Executive Chef Bobby Matos have gotten everything right with this menu. This is no surprise as their restaurant on Westheimer, State of Grace, is one of my family's favorites as well. While I like to eat at a restaurant a few times before labeling it one of my top choices, I have no doubt that La Lucha is on it's way to making that list, I highly recommend it after one visit and I'm looking forward to returning soon.

Check out my thoughts on State of Grace here.

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