Instantly feel your body morphing into socialite status upon entering Brasserie 19. Caress your white wicker chair as a man passes by in the slowest of almost all slow motion country club catwalks. Wearing a seersucker starched to a southern belle’s standard, this is none other than… The Managing Partner.
Without wasting a single summertime second, Shawn Virene could pull off a pink seersucker with his iron turned off. With an ease as effortless as having valet park a Rolls, he shimmies around the restaurant as if it were only a stroll.
Underneath his seersucker belt just so happens to be 26 years of service industry fluff. After paying ultimate dues as a busboy, his bio reads of a waiter gone wild with wine knowledge, thus catapulting him into massive sommelierness.
Virene’s motto is “Communication is the most important key to success in the restaurant business.” For the record, AVH will always be open to communicating with anyone wearing such a sassy suit.
Entrancement became reality while soaking in the pretentious scene of see & be seenness. Suddenly appearing, with hair combed to complete OCD part perfection, was one service industry worker possessing an exceptional dose of debonair… hair.
Not only did our whimsical waiter maintain 12 finitely parted parts as clean cut & smashingly straight as this, he also delivered rock star service from start to finish.
Escargot arriving with a fluffy pastry puff produced an instant pip. Resting beneath we found burgundy escargot. Um, this would be found in the hors d’oeuvres section of the menu.
Glimpse toward the top right side of the same menu, if you dare, for there just so happens to be an app for $130. Le grand dix neuf plateau is an array of shellfish and oysters, along with some cooked and raw crustaceans as well.
Depending when, a variety of highly exciting oysters are offered. During our lunch, we had four different types that were semi fluffy, reminding me of Branch Water Tavern in the very best way.
My friend, as always, has the right to choose an entrée in which incisor exercise is a must. Usually achieving forte fancy is foie gras, or the always finger lickin’ bone marrow. Today’s dish of complete carcass delish is a juicy burger served on challah bread with house-made pickles & a side of frites. Bon Appétit!
Ah, the always exciting seafood salad. Fresh lobster, shrimp, and crab hidden throughout layers of lettuce make this dish the favorite of both visits.
Almost ruining lobster joy would have to be a rookie menu miss that came to light hours after departing. Tears almost sporadically squeaked out upon realizing Brasserie offers a… lobster roll.
While perusing the menu during a second visit to Brasserie 19, a surprise comparable to that of staring through a window during the soft opening of Chris Shepherd’s new restaurant… Underbelly, suddenly occurred.
For in front of the bar, standing as though his almost sleeve tattoos were holding him up, was chef Mark Schmidt.
During an interview at Rainbow Lodge last month, Schmidt never let on that he was soon to move in as that of a chef coat crusader in joyful hopes of saving Brasserie’s day.
With the chef-after-chef turnover plaguing Brasserie 19 since its recent opening, it’s not surprising Schmidt coming on board was a secret. Chef Michael Gaspard bit the dust just as quickly as chef Antoine Ware. Clark & Cooper must realize this place is going down if it happens again.
My resident River Oaks girlie lunch neighbors were open in their opinion… “We think most of the food sucks, most of the time.” They continued to growl, stating the air conditioner is so old they have occasionally been… hot.
Imagine the sight of any River Oaks slash Botox filled femme fatale sporting sweat pits. Oh, the therapy in which one would need. Let us all hold on tight to our tiaras as we respectfully have a mini moment of socialite silence.
Regardless of occasional AC drama, in which a mini battery operated fan is provided, predicting the future is an obtainable task. Chef Schmidt is going to give Brasserie 19 the stability it has longed for since sashaying onto West Gray.
Pondering is the only option when trying to wrap brain cells around why this keeps happening. What’s the deal? Why do chefs keep leaving?
Chef de Cuisine Amanda Macgraw seems to be the only one that hasn’t called it quits. Cooper & Clark certainly don’t seem like sweat shop kinda restaurateurs, which leaves one to wonder what the growl’s all about.
AVH previously violated chef Schmidt’s personal picture space at Rainbow Lodge by sneaking a peek at his massive arm tattoo. While chatting at Brasserie, he informed me of his new tattoo, still in progress, in which prior picture taking approval became reality.
Time stood still as this chef began his glorious tattoo story. Like being lost in a novel on a breezy beach, AVH sat listening to not only the purpose, but the perpetual pleasure.
Triple Chef Story Sniffle.
Scallops usually put a flip in my flop. Presentation of the seared diver scallop app was spiffy. Disappointing was trying to cut the scallop with my fork, as to gently taste itty bitty bites. While attempting this task, my fork failed, thus requiring a knife to fulfill this feat.
Chef Schmidt couldn’t possibly have cheffed within ten feet of the tuna tartine. No. Double no. Triple no. Quadruple no. Infinity… No.
He had nothing to do with the debacle of saltiness forcing my palate to be stricken with pain. Without wasting a single sodium second, there is no alternative other than to give this dish a… Double Salty Sandwich Wow.
This chef recommended the salmon entrée, which tasted fantastic. Being very light & flavorful, there wasn’t a bit of unpleasantness about it. Therefore, chef Schmidt had to have prepared it from fish farm to table.
Please & Thanks.
Brasserie provides an iPad for an easier drink picking process. Whether it be perusing the wine list, crafted cocktails, or the always exciting single malts & sippers, leisurely change this chore into so much more.
This concept is convenient without affecting the actual service needed from humans. If anything is 100% spot on at Brasserie 19, it’s the service. Top Notch.
Dessert suggestions from the bartender led to caramelized banana bread with banana Bavarian, bourbon anglaise & cinnamon ice cream. After stuffing my face all day, I managed to almost clean the plate. A personal favorite of the bartender is the dark chocolate cake with hazelnut, bittersweet chocolate & hazelnut ice cream.
Brasserie has an apple galette with salted caramel & double vanilla ice cream. Also on the dessert menu is seasonal berry shortcake with macerated strawberries, almond cake & vanilla ice cream, as well as the almost always on every menu… crème brulée.
Jump, clap, and skip down West Gray because this spanking new executive chef is going to fluff things up. With Mark Schmidt, along with a menu makeover, a long overdue like will soon arrive for Brasserie 19.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch