We are huge seafood fans to the point that we could happily eat fish everyday which makes it sound like we would be really easy to please as long as you wave something with fins in front of us. This is not the case. I am sure everyone in the world would agree there is nothing worse than over cooked fish. We did not have to worry about that at the Reef. Both my Crispy Skinned Snapper and David’s Almaco entree were perfectly prepared with delicious accompaniments (in David’s case, his fish came with Chinese Long Beans which was our first opportunity to try out and we are now crazy about them). The baked oyster appetizer I ordered was tasty but not as spectacular as David’s Tuna Bacon Turadito which we fought over. Our only complaint would be the service — our meals were unceremoniously placed in front of us without explanation, and the timing was very rushed so that you still had your last bite of your appetizer in your mouth when the second course arrived.
Video of our meal here: http://foodtease.com/tag/reef
We went to Reef for the first time and thought I'd just add my thoughts to this post. It is in our top restaurants list of Houston. I can see why this restaurant has gotten so many awards.
We started dinner with a bottle of Morgadio Albarino. I'm just getting into white wines so I couldn't really say if this was a find or not but we enjoyed it and we'd order it again. It went well with all the foods we had. Priced reasonally too.
Appetizers; 1. shrimp shooters (in a horseradish tomato broth)-my personal favorite and I'm pretty sure I'd have to have at least one every visit. 2. Smoke tuna bacon, sea bass tiradito with granny smith apples and avocado-very good. I wasnt' sure how this would all come together but all the different flavors worked very well. Would have again. 3. Ceviche. The ceviche was my least favorite but it wasn't bad. I wouldn't order it again. Not a whole lot of flavor for me. Fish was fresh. I'm use to a more Mexican ceviche and our waiter told us it was a Fillopino style ceviche with coconut milk. 4. Seafood Gumbo. Very good. One of the dishes I will crave. It's a soupy gumbo. Just delicious. Our waiter brought us tabasco to add to it and that only added to the pleasure but didn't need it at all.
Entrees; 1. Crispy skin snapper with sweet & sour chard and tomato brown butter. This was very good and is one of the restaurants signature dishes. Skin wasn't as crispy as I'd hoped but I would order it again. If I hadn't tasted our 2nd entree this would have been the dish I would had when I wasn't trying something new. 2. Red fish on the half shell with fried macaroni & cheese. Everything on this dish was perfect. I'm not a mac & cheese fan and I'd order a side of this if it didn't come with my meal. Perfect old school mac & cheese that had been breaded and fried to perfection. 3. Side of fries with the sriracha remoulade. Fries were very good. Wouldn't use the remoulade in the future.
Dessert; Buttermilk panna cotta, with macerated strawberries and strawberry sorbet. Another hit. Everything about it was good. The sorbet was my favorite while my husband loved the panna cotta so it will become our dessert to share. With all the food as listed above I wasn't going to have dessert but I had to taste for future reference and then just kept eating.
Mention has been made that service here was lacking. I have to say the service we had was perfect. We were able to order each course separately then enjoy it before having to order our next course. Just how we like it. Our waiter was attentive without being intrusive and knowledgeable. All other restaurant staff was very friendly and accomodating.
When the next course arrives just as you are finishing the first one, that is perfect timing in the restaurant world. Unceremonious serving? Were you expecting a celestial choir to announce your entrees? Does Bryan Caswell himself have to present them to you? Or did you forget what you ordered and need the server to remind you as he put it down? I've been to Reef several times, and service is ALWAYS above standard.
Hey, don't get us wrong, we loved Reef! We definitely want to return there! The service was not by any means bad, just saying we've had better. It may be personal preference, but like tlegray and I'm sure many others, we definitely prefer a couple of minutes in between courses to digest a little and finish our glasses of wine without feeling like we're being rushed out the door. By unceremoniously, yes all we were looking for was, basically a re-stating of the dish and its accompaniments in case we forgot all of what was included in the dish, "here is your blah blah blah with blah blah"... do not believe that is asking too much.
I'm so sorry. When I made my comment about the mention of service lacking I was refering to not only the OP's comment but on the comments we'd seen on other web sites. I should have clarified. I don't know about perfect timing in the restaurant world but I do know that my husband will ask if we can order each course after our plates have been cleared from the course before. That is our preference. I don't think our request has ever been denied.
Another thing I forgot to mention about Reef was 3rd Bar (the bar attached to the restaurant). We went in to see it and really liked the atmosphere. This is a place we would go to for a quick bite or drink before or after a game or something at the Theater District. It also had outdoor seating.