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He's Still Got It

Arturo Boada is turning out lovely pizzas and tapas at his namesake Memorial Villages restaurant.

Camillo is in charge of the two-page wine list, something the young server clearly takes immense pride in. It's not an inexpensive list — most bottles are in the $45 to $60 range, with some selections around $200 — but it's well-edited and offers some unusual selections. Camillo is quick to notice and remember repeat customers, and just as quick to remember their names and previous wine orders. It's astounding, and rarely encountered in younger servers these days. He's also quick to point out new additions he thinks his regulars would like.

"Would you like a bottle of the Primitivo again?" he asked me on only my second visit to the restaurant. The $48 bottle had been smooth and rich, but we were in the mood for something different. He suggested a less expensive bottle of Ninquén Antu Syrah at $44 that I appreciated just as much — until I got home later and saw that it had been marked up by $27. Profit margins; what are you going to do?

And on some nights, that wine — marked up or not — is one of the few bright spots during dinner. On my last visit, during that packed Saturday night, the appetizer special of prosciutto over marinara-topped bread was blander than I'd imagined it would be (my table wanted to order it); grilled sashimi-grade tuna was equally underseasoned despite its topping of lemon truffle oil-laced arugula, giving me still more reason to wish restaurants would discontinue truffle oil's use entirely; and rigatoni with grilled chicken, sweet peas and a creamy pink sauce was inoffensive but unremarkable — which wouldn't otherwise be a sin except for its nearly $22 price tag.

Arturo Boada's signature dish, camarones henesy en hamaca, works on every level.
Troy Fields
Arturo Boada's signature dish, camarones henesy en hamaca, works on every level.

Location Info

Map

Arturo Boada Cuisine

6510 Del Monte Dr.
Houston, TX 77057

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Galleria

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
Papas bravas: $10.50
Margherita pizza: $14
Carnitas pizza: $14
Tuna tartare: $14.50
Mussels: $14.50
Camarones henesy en hamaca: $14.50
Rigatoni: $21.50
Grilled tuna: $28.50
READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Arturo Boada Cuisine Proves Boada's Still Got It
BLOG POST: Great Pizza in Houston Finally on the Rise?

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The entire dinner was a lesson to stick to the tapas side of the menu, to the dishes which bear Boada's fiery mark just as his restaurant does. Stick with the littleneck clams that are sautéed in a ginger-garlic broth and topped with tomatoes and basil; stick with the tuna tartare, a typical dish that's livened up with cool cucumber and fennel in a ginger-soy vinaigrette.

And stick with those lovely, floury, thin-crust pizzas that seem to float out of the brick oven. We have too few of those in town, and the ones we do should be celebrated.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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5 comments
Stusnow1
Stusnow1

"until I got home later and saw that it had been marked up by $27." Profit margins; what are you going to do?' Price it right, stupid, or go belly up, AGAIN!How about a column about fraud? Or, a good ass kickin' in front of the sheep that continue to "flock" to a place that gets great reviews. Katherine, did I miss something or are you being funny?

Annie
Annie

This is a very cool place with educated, attentive service. Mr. Boada knows service. The best part about it is that the food rocks & it's not in the Heights! As a creature of habit, I always get the trout almondine, but I love the carnitas pizza & always get the creme brulee. The wine list works for me, because it's uncommon. Great hideaway, great food and wonderful review.

Sean Stoner
Sean Stoner

Ah, how this reminds me of my favorite Solero days. As a late 90's Rice lofts resident in its heyday, it was a stop at least a couple times a week. Luckily, Arturo and his staff always recognized regulars and I was fortunate enough to always have a place no matter how crowded it was. Arturo and I became friends as a result. I was very sad when that era ended, but am now very excited to read about this place! This, along with Hay Merchant, is on my shortlist of places to visit when I come to visit (any other recommended additions would be welcome ;-)).

TWW
TWW

The food is good but the tables are too close and the noise is intolerable. By the end of the meal, we just wanted to get out.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I figured the cozy tables and noise levels would be make-or-break issues for most people. For me, it's the kind of noise I'm okay with -- but I know exactly what you mean. There are several restaurants in town I avoid entirely at dinner because their dining rooms are just deafening. Boada has taken some interesting steps to cut down on the noise, I noticed, such as putting acoustic tiles on the underside of the tables... Maybe that's the reason I find it just loud enough to be "boisterous" instead of deafening. :)

 
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