“The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it” James Beard
Well the folks over at Rise No 2 are clearly not at all intimidated by the thought of producing consistently perfect soufflés. During my visit, I witnessed a constant stream of picture-perfect soufflés making their way to eager diners.
But first you might be wondering what exactly is a soufflé? A soufflé is a baked egg-based dish that originated in France in the early eighteenth century. Beaten egg whites are combined with an egg yolk custard base. A variety of additional ingredients that can be both savory or sweet are added. The pure French definition of soufflé means to puff.
Rise No 2 can be found on the upper level at the newish shopping center close to Wholefoods Market. Located at the junction of Post Oak Boulevard and San Felipe. Having driven by, but not stopped at this center in quite a few years, I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of shops and restaurants that will tempt me back to explore again. There is quite a sizeable covered parking garage very close to the restaurant. Additionally there is a valet parking kiosk right by the entrance. A plus for those diners that love to take their four-legged friends are the tables set up outside the main entrance where dogs are permitted to visit.
As the name might suggest, there is a Rise No 1. Founded by Hedda Gioia Dowd and executive chef Cherif Brahmi the original restaurant opened in Dallas in 2008.
“…inspired by the simplicity and versatility of the soufflé, the European way of celebrating the genuine pleasures of the table, and a dream to engage all of the senses in an environmentally conscious bistro, the concept of rise n°1 was born.
I think the design of the restaurant is best described as whimsy and eclectic. Nothing cookie cutter about this store. The tables are decorated with mismatched tea towels in place of napkins (also available to purchase if you fall in love with them). Glassware is made out of recycled wine bottles. European antique silver plate flatware accompanies plates made from recycled glass. Don’t worry about getting bored with your fellow diners either as there are scrabble pieces on the table. Oh and the tables are actually 18th-century school desks converted into private dining tables.
Tip: The bathrooms are quite unique. Lookout for the button to press to open the doors as that seemed to leave a few people confused.
This deserves a special mention as it was simply delicious. Served hot on a rather lethal looking guillotine-style cutting board that was so sharp it made me wonder if this is not an accident waiting to happen! And yes, if you like the idea of the guillotine, then you can purchase that too. I normally try and avoid the additional calories and carbs of the bread offering. But this bread was just too tempting. Make sure you eat the bread when it’s first served as it was so good hot.
After looking over the menu our group of four decided to share a couple of the savory souffle’s. The idea being so we could save space to share a couple of sweet ones for dessert. We asked our server for his recommendation and went with the Jambon & Gruyere (USD 19) and the Cauliflower & Brie (USD 20). I preferred the jambon as the flavors were much stronger than the cauliflower souffle that tasted a little bland for my liking. The consistency was light and puffy on top of both and then the melted cheese gave a more solid base.
Souffles are served in individual-sized ramekins and while they are fun to share, the size is not overwhelming for one person. For anyone watching their calorie intake, the menu states that the savory soufflés range from 263-540 calories.
Tip: Make sure to ask the server to explain what the Marshmellow Soup is all about
When taking our initial order, our server asked us to make our dessert selections. I’m not a fan of doing that as I don’t know how much appetite I will have by the end of the first course. We decided not order dessert and had no issues with the souffle’s taking too long when we did place our order. Of course our group does talk a lot when we go out so if you don’t want to wait then you might opt to order at the start.
We opted for a chocolate souffle (USD 12) and the Grand Marnier (USD 12). When our server brought them to the table he made a small hole in the top center of the souffle, to let out a little steam, and then poured in and over the top a sauce. The sweet soufflés range from 122-317 calories, sauces not included.
With so many options of where to eat in Houston, I loved that this restaurant stands out with its unusual decor and specialized menu offerings. I enjoyed the ambiance and the whimsical decor gave me plenty to look at. So much thought has been put into this restaurant. As you leave, if you don’t get distracted by all the goodies on sale, you are handed a card with the days saying. Just an added bit of whimsy to finish your visit.
Address: 1700 Post Oak Blvd, Suite 290, Houston (near the Galleria at Post Oak/San Felipe)
Phone: 713 850 7473
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm
Additional Info: Small outdoor seating area where dogs are welcome, Reservations taken
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