Monthly Feature
Mondays are dedicated to restaurant reviews. This week, you get two opinions for the price of one. Time for another He Said, She Said for Carrie and me.

Here’s how it works:
* We went to the same Houston-area restaurant at different times.
* It’s our first time eating at the restaurant.
* We read no previous reviews.
* Carrie wrote the review, and I react.

Atmosphere (5)
Mockingbird Bistro has a sort of casual, trendy-goth feel; dark and romantic with unique features, such as gargoyles throughout. Nice bar with a small lounge area. The tables are simply set giving the dining room a neat and clean feel.
The React (4.5): I agree, beautiful decor. I loved the exposed brick, and the tile behind the bar was nice. Heck, the bar itself was nice. Would have given a 5, but it was just a tad too goth and a little too dark inside the restaurant.

Menu Selection (4)
As a meat eater, I found the menu selection to be more than adequate with many creative and yummy sounding choices. However, my vegetarian friends may be limited to soup and salad, as there were no vegetarian entrees on the current menu. According to the website, the menu is updated seasonally, so maybe there will be more options for our veggie-loving friends on the next menu. The current menu offers several appetizer options from the omnipresent calamari to the less common veal sweetbreads. Entrees ranged from salmon to a kobe beef burger, crispy duck breast to a braised lamb shank. There is a large wine list with plenty of by-the-glass options.
The React (5): Carrie is dead-on with this, especially with the impressive selection of starters. We went for brunch, but they also had the lunch menu available.

Pricing (4.5)
Appetizers range from $8 (onion soup) to $23 (fois gras); Entrees from $21 (chicken, of course) to $36 (tuna, steak, lamb). Our meal of a shared appetizer, two entrees, a shared dessert and two glasses of wine came to $150 with gratuity.
The React (3): It’s hard for me to react to her prices because we went at a different time of day. I ordered the French toast ($12). Felt like $10, even given the nice setting. Sara’s Mountain trout was a ridiculous $21 for lunch.

Taste (5)
SO good! Our calamari (yes, I know…not very daring) was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Maybe it was the graham crackers that the chef adds to the coating? The crispy, light breading and tender squid served with a sweet soy glaze and spicy remoulade were delicious. Our entrees also hit the mark. My scallops had a nice crust but were melt-in-your-mouth tender. The parsnip puree was a unique side topped with a nice little bundle of asparagus wrapped in bacon. And, as we all know, everything is better with bacon! My hubby’s 16 oz bone-in ribeye special was a perfect medium and well seasoned. The sides of broccolini au gratin and mashed potatoes with cheese, sour cream, and bacon were outstanding. Our flourless chocolate cake – like eating the center of a truffle – was the perfect VERY rich, chocolaty ending to an amazing meal.
The React (3): Our meal could not get any more average. Nothing was bad and nothing stood out. The best thing I had were the complimentary, pre-meal frites. Those were delicious. I’ve had better French toast at IHOP and Sara’s trout was moist, flavorful, but overall–boring. In all fairness, due to her shellfish allergy, it was lacking a crawfish sauce.

Mountain trout

French toast with bacon

Service (5)
Mockingbird Bistro’s service was topnotch. There was a slight seating snafu when we first arrived, as it appeared that several groups came to dine at the same time, resulting in a backup at the door. When the chef saw this situation, he immediately directed several of the wait staff to assist in seating guests. Our waiter was very friendly, offering suggestions and seemed to take real interest in our dining experience. He also went out of his way to surprise my husband with his pre-ordered birthday dessert.
The React (5): Great service. Our waiter was still in training and he did a fine job. They even had someone there to hold the door open to lead you into the bathrooms. Nice touch. Although, I’m always a little freaked out when there’s more people working in the restaurant than there are customers….this was the case.

Overall Opinion (5)
I love, love, love Mockingbird Bistro! Unique atmosphere, outstanding food and impeccable service make me wish every day were a special occasion and reason to enjoy a culinary treat.
The React (3): I’d go back for a drink, but nothing about the food made me want to make a return visit. There’s just too many other quality restaurants in that area that offer a superior product at comparable prices.