While on the way to an early dinner in the Woodlands, I noticed Black Walnut Café. I have heard about it and even looked online. I still had no idea the atmosphere was so cozy, in a total high fashion Starbucks way, minus the explosion of pumpkin & leaf décor throughout the restaurant.
I sat at the bar and looked around the room for a moment. The high ceilings have fans being pulled by a chain of some sort. The windows are tall, with lots of oversized chairs and tables. WiFi happy people can be seen working during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The bar is in the center of the room, with booths to the side, and a counter for ordering in the back. If you are eating at the bar (and drinking…), then you can order without the Café Express type pick-up.
The dessert/pastry/gelato counter is attached to the bar, offering a variety of sweets. The gelato menu includes biscottino, mocha, menta, french vanilla, coconut, etc… Other sweets include fruit tarts, rugulah, croissants, brownies, cheesecake…Oh My!
Looking over the menu, there are several sections listed. The Signature Entrée section is mostly meat. They have a Black Walnut Café Pork Chop & Crab Cake entrée. Yikes for me, but very interesting for pork chop people.
After having such incredible fish tacos at Tommy Bahamas, I would like to try the Black Walnut Fish Tacos. They consist of beer-battered tilapia, fresh lime, corn tortillas, shredded lettuce, cilantro, pico de gallo, house green salad, and cayenne ranch dressing.
The Burger & Sandwich section is limited. There isn’t a veggie burger option, and the only sandwich without meat is the grilled cheese… with an option listed beneath to add peppered bacon, sausage or honey ham. Wuh Wah.
The Twisted Italian section has a couple of choices that work… Artichoke & Spinach Stuffed Rigatoni and Bank #19… Oh, also the Veggie Pasta. Snore.
The Munch section of the menu has lots to choose from, but without substitutions, Black Walnut Café is lacking elsewhere for Almost Veggie Houston people.
Here we go again…The Manager… His name is Chase. He was not at all comfortable with talking to me. If your name is Chase, then you should relax… you are cool. If your hair flips like MTV people…you are even cooler. True.
When I last spoke to Chase, he was checking with the operations manager. This was before I ordered anything and now it’s time for dessert.
Chase is the assistant manager. That would be an assistant to someone who knows how to be a manager. After the uncomfortable mini wave, Chase informed me Barrett didn’t answer. He then proceeded to tell me the chef doesn’t speak English. He said, “I have eaten a million things. I can tell you something if you want.” This guy is awesome for having Justin Beiber-ish hair, but that’s about it.
Time to talk about the champion of all champion servers… Tiana. Seriously, what didn’t she do? Before she knew anything about Almost Veggie Houston, she didn’t appear annoyed with my questions, and even offered fantastic recommendations.
Tiana told me about the Black Walnut Salad, which is a house favorite. It consists of grilled marinated chicken breast, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, julienned green apples, house greens, tomato savory dressing, and garlic bread.
I was impressed when she recommended I sub blackened Tilapia for the chicken breast. Everything about this salad tasted healthy and fresh.
We then discussed the Shrimp Mango Pasta Salad… sautéed shrimp, strawberries, mandarin oranges, kiwi, bowtie pasta, mango cilantro dressing, and garlic bread. After telling Tiana I was interested in ordering this, she told me about one of her personal favorites. She hearts the Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad!
This consists of grilled marinated chicken breast, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, goat cheese, julienned green apples, toasted almonds, Marie cheese, bowtie pasta, balsamic pesto dressing, and garlic bread. Whew. She suggested I sub sautéed shrimp for the chicken. Genius!
Time for dessert! I asked this 1st place customer service phenomenon what she would suggest I order. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…Snickers Cheesecake with Chocolate Syrup & Caramel. Sinful!
I started taking pictures of my glorious dessert, when suddenly, out of nowhere… sent down from heaven and placed across the bar from me… Derek…the manager from 1252 Tapas. His hat was turned backwards as he said, in the all-time greatest manager voice, “Hello Ashli…” Um, I’m going to go ahead and give myself a Double Stalker Wow.
My experience at Black Walnut Café was perfect. Tiana not only has kudos from me, but while I was eating my dessert, I overheard a woman telling her friend that she couldn’t believe this bartender could not only remember the wine she drank last summer, but the new wine she tasted last week.
I stopped in for breakfast a couple of days later and ordered the Pico Benedict. Yes, I ordered this because my Champion Chihuahua is named Pico… Please & Thank You.
Two poached eggs, sautéed spinach & pico de gallo, served on a toasted English muffin & topped with cayenne citrus hollandaise. It was fabulous, of course… just like Pico.
Great food, service, and atmosphere…Heart!
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch