Jul 19, 2011 0
Just try and count the carcassness displayed throughout this romantic log cabin we call Rainbow Lodge. Hunters in Houston beware, for if ever compared, you will be reduced to complete animal head mounting noviceness.
Scampering out back, with heads intact, is a forest filled with un-mounted animals celebrating such great fortune. Animals showcasing a scene of serene comparable to that of Bambi & Thumper, pip step about, appearing as though they may break into song & dance at any given moment.
Rainbow Lodge is known for its incredibly romantic vibe. With décor celebrating hunting season chic in a perfectly precise way, one can’t help but feel nestled snug as a bug somewhere in the mountains.
Per Rainbow Lodge…
“Established in 1977, The Rainbow Lodge set its new roots on Ella Boulevard along White Oak Bayou in 2006. This location is a 100 year old log cabin on an acre of grounds and the perfect stage for our hunting and fishing collectibles, garden parties and mouthwatering menu featuring comfortable game and seafood dishes.”
Clearly predictable sleeve tattoo spasticness occurred as executive chef Mark Schmidt approached our table. After candidly violating his chair-stance-chefness with a super secret tattoo picture, only one option existed for AVH… Obtain chef interview behavior recovery at all costs.
Check. Double Check.
Interview intro began with a highly effective Dad meeting Mom story… While stationed outside of Liverpool, he and her brother were playing a friendly pub game of darts. Suddenly, the always exciting I’ll-set-you-up-with-my-sassy-British-sister scenario occurred, thus making this chef’s existence … possible.
Splitting his time between Farmers Branch (sorda Dallas, but not really) and Liverpool, his ultimate chefness actually began years ago in Marble Falls at a restaurant called Café 909. After deciding to relocate, he moved to Houston to further his career at Rainbow Lodge.
Chef Schmidt expressed the always refreshing passion for going local. This chef’s commitment begins with the Farmers Market. Houston has several markets consistently available to restaurants, as well as the community, which makes his desire easily accessible.
During a light lunch last week I ordered the grilled red snapper salpicon tostadas with queso fresco, which was fabulously fresh. During my next visit, the crispy calamari salad with baby arugula, cherry pepper & lemon sriracha dressing is at the top of the list. Crispy crunchy rainbow trout filet on baby green butter bean risotto & walnut pesto is another… Want!
Charcuterie arrived with a couple of fish suitable for AVH. House smoked salmon is cured with just a smidgeon of maple. Another fish to taste was the smoked Gulf cobia from Louisiana Foods… “Total Catch Market.” Sassy.
For dipping pleasure, homemade Shiner Bock mustard is provided. Mustard seed soaked in Shiner Bock is smoked, thus turning it into… mustard. Streaks lining the plate possess Dijon that has been smoked as well.
Always on my to-do list during the day is to hear a delicious duck preparation story. On this charcuterie dish there just so happens to be… duck rillette. Um, this duck confit has been slow cooked in its own fat. Meat is pulled and… pounded… together with fat.
Thank goodness all of the duck fatness is natural. You will not catch polyunsaturated fat pounded into this duck’s leg. Natural animal fat assurance should ease the minds of most cautious carnivores. Also included in this dish is a veal pâté, as well as house cured smoked duck ham. Yikes.
Honey sweetened goat cheese is a local goat cheese from Mia Bella Farms in New Caney. Chef Schmidt sweetens the fresh goat cheese ever so slightly with local Texas honey. Topped with just a bit of sherry caramel, house made fig jam is placed to the side, with baby lettuce & toasted walnut bread to boot. Goat cheese often provides intense gagging potential. Surprisingly, the end result from the ingredients combined, were incredible to the point of almost licking the plate… Definitely the best I’ve ever eaten.
Imagine the most exciting unexpected slow motion lobster moment in existence. Hearing a dish description has never forced my level of spasticness to elevate as quickly as when chef Schmidt began speaking of Rainbow Lodge’s… Lobster Thermidor. He eloquently explained his take on this dish, which is almost always too rich.
Chef Schmidt explained that if you look at classic dishes people perceive as heavy, it’s mainly because they have spent their painfully sad thermidor lives with bad examples of the dish. It’s purely about balance & restraint, while still maintaining decadence. Thermidor jubilance is but only a dream until being prepared by a chef successfully balancing… the ingredients.
Preparation begins using a pound & a half lobster, having been split, which is sautéed together with mushroom, Dijon, and brandy, then placed back into the shell to serve. Chef Schmidt then adds extra lobster meat on top, while also removing the claw & knuckle meat. Thermidor is topped with Dijon mousseline, which is a hollandaise with some fancy shmancy whipped cream. Glorious news of bacon elation arrived as this chef declared pig is, in fact, not an ingredient.
Executive chef Mark Schmidt’s cooking has previously been described as “Excellence without pretention.” Rainbow Lodge proves year after year that quality dining is certain to occur. Keep your eye on the prize… instead of the wall, and all will be a romantically dreamy dining experience.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch