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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Noche Cocina has risen from the ashes of Cafe Noche

My husband made a trip to the waffle bar for a sweet ending. The huge Belgian waffle was already rich, thanks to its vanilla-tinged batter, but Brad had the cook add chopped pecans, which made for a sensational dessert. Artfully displayed in front of the waffle irons were bowls and bowls of fruit toppings, like apples, peaches and strawberries, as well as whipped cream.

Meanwhile, I went for a second course. I've always taken the word "brunch" literally -- breakfast followed by lunch. I sampled tender chicken breast pieces stewed in tomatoes, onions and peppers; chewy pork chunks bobbing in a tart tomatillo sauce; and basic ground beef seasoned with chopped jalapeños. All of these meats can be wrapped in flour tortillas -- well, they could if there were any tortillas on the buffet table that weren't hard and cold. I don't know why waiters don't just deliver warm tortillas to every table along with the chips.

Before dessert, I made an obligatory trip to the fruit bar for fresh pineapple, huge strawberries and watermelon, all of which I dipped into a sweet crème fraîche that accompanied them. By the time I tried the creamy rice pudding, wonderfully flavored with cinnamon and raisins, I had reached my breaking point. I could see a siesta in my future.

The new Noche's dining room better suits a clientele that prefers eating alfresco.
Troy Fields
The new Noche's dining room better suits a clientele that prefers eating alfresco.

Details

713-529-8559. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight.

Sunday brunch: $12.95
Pollo Acapulco: $15.95
Pork medallions: $9.95
Shrimp puff pastry: $6.95
Tortilla soup: $3.95

2409 Montrose Boulevard

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The only negative in an otherwise wonderful buffet experience came when the check arrived: Noche had charged us separately for the black beans, cheese and tortilla in my son's meal, combining for the world's first $5 kiddie taco. Next time, we hit the buffet without the kids -- and with mimosas.

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