I entered Shade with great expectations. After ordering a drink, I was soon given a country club type of membership welcome. This happened just outside of Austin on the way to a UT game a few years ago, but never in Houston. My neighbor at the bar enlightened me…
“This part of town was a beat-em up brothel slum kinda place, and the Baptists came in and said no way.” She continued to tell me, “The only way to reverse the charter is if all 100 members were to sign, but… they are dead.” Alrighty then…
Shade has a Private Club Permit which allows them to serve alcoholic beverages. There is no charge for the membership, just sign on the dotted line.
Shade’s upscale contemporary décor has a relaxing feel. Although the dining room was full, the atmosphere in the bar was not too noisy or uncomfortably busy. The hardwood floors and green walls remind me oh so much of having brunch at The Grove… Heavenly.
A lovely couple sitting behind me has an interesting story to tell…
Married for many years, they are artists living in the Heights. Having to spend their money wisely, they decided to place any five dollar bill they receive from working… into a jar.
Once the jar is full, they take the money out and head to Shade for wine and dinner. How romantic… Ahh, to be an artist in love…
The Executive Chef and owner, Claire Smith, was in the kitchen, but extremely busy with brunch guests, as well as preparing for an awards dinner that evening.
She sent out the Chef de Cuisine, Greg Beebe. Yes, I did say Chef de Cuisine. There is no chance that this does not excite me… We could all use a Chef de Cuisine in our lives.
The first item to taste was the Cornmeal Crusted Oyster Caesar Salad with chopped romaine, Parmesan-Reggiano, red grape tomatoes, hearts of palm, garlic croutons & fried capers.
The Chef de Cuisine happily told me Shade competed in the 26th Annual Best Classic Caesar Salad Competition. My Table magazine and the Houston Food & Beverage Managers Association sponsor this event. Shade won the award for Best Classic Caesar Salad.
The Heirloom Tomato BLT is served on homemade wheat toast with butter lettuce, basil mayo, fresh mozzarella, and Applewood smoked bacon. I asked for…no bacon. This is served with Napa cabbage slaw & a deviled egg.
The chef recommended taking out the B and adding an A… avocado. Everything about this sandwich is delicious… especially the deviled egg served on the side!
Deviled eggs make me equally as happy as Shrimp & Grits, reminding me of South Carolina and my Grandmother’s scrumptious Southern cooking.
The last entrée sent out by the fabulous Chef de Cuisine was Two Eggs Scrambled with sautéed spinach, caramelized leeks, cherry tomatoes & feta cheese, served with crispy potatoes, toast & fresh fruit.
The amount of choices to order from the brunch, lunch, or dinner menu is abundant. I will definitely return for the Fried Shrimp & Bacon Cheese Grits, without the bacon, of course. This includes sautéed Swiss Chard & Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
Being a sorbet fan, it’s wonderful to know the sorbet flavors at Shade change every few days. A perfect ending to my tasting at Shade was The Trio of Seasonal Sorbet… Raspberry is my favorite.
Other desserts on the menu include Peach & Vanilla Crostada, Chocolate Profiteroles, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Plantain Charlotte, and Flourless Chocolate Torte.
The dessert during my next visit will be the Espresso Crème Brulèe served with orange & cardamom honey, as well as shortbread cookies.
Brunch at Shade exceeded my expectations, and the Chef de Cuisine is charming and proud… His boyish smile combined with small conversations and exceptional food, helped make my time at Shade unforgettable.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch