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Lucio's Hidden in Plain Sight

Montrose gem offers exquisite food, a generous BYOB policy and a gorgeous patio.

"I'm from the orchard area of Indiana," he explained, "so the apple cider is something I wanted to incorporate. I like basic forms, natural forms." Although, he adds, the duck may be gone soon — the summer menu is arriving, bringing with it lighter flavors and more of an emphasis on fish such as grouper or smaller fowl such as quail.

_____________________

Now that I've found Lucio's, there's no doubt I'll become a regular. It seems to occur quite naturally here. Even Maesch noted that the bulk of the business comes from patrons who've made the place into their second living room, many of whom are — again — serious wine geeks. On one evening alone, I spotted wine gurus Dale Robertson and Guy Stout crowded into a boisterous table, while a room full of wine reps filled out the second part of the intimate dining room.

Dinners, in fact, are usually very busy affairs. I almost didn't get a table on that return visit with my editor, since nearly all of the spots were booked up for the night. The open kitchen shines with a fulgent warmth when you walk in, its open flames and sparks of movement as dishes are expedited supplanting any need for a fireplace to make the dining room cozy. And diners crowd around the kitchen like moths to an open flame when they aren't lingering on the back patio. It's the kind of place in which you feel instantly at home, so it's easy to see why the tables get booked up every night.

Perfectly cooked bronzino is fileted tableside.
Troy Fields
Perfectly cooked bronzino is fileted tableside.

Location Info

Map

Lucio's BYOB

905 Taft
Houston, TX 77019

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: River Oaks

Details

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 5 to 10 p.m. Saturdays.
Heirloom tomato salad: $8
Spinach dip: $9
House cured tuna sashimi: $10
Vegetable plate: $17
Three-course lunch: $18
Herb roasted chicken: $19
Bronzini: $30

READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Hidden in Plain Sight: Lucio's BYOB
BLOG POST: The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 BYOBs

Lunch is a much easier time to explore Maesch's food. It's far quieter on weekdays, and the gracious service will get you in and out in time to drive back downtown after your lunch break. There's an $18 three-course lunch I find irresistible, offering a choice of soup or salad, an entrée of either "drunken" chicken or a risotto topped (depending on the day) with pancetta, peas, asparagus or maybe all three, and a dessert choice of decadently thick chocolate mousse or a crème brûlée that's topped with sorbet.

It's this last item that is the only thing I haven't enjoyed here, but just barely. It's not that there's anything wrong with the little brûléed dessert, but that it doesn't live up to the expectations set by Maesch's other dishes. It's not quite burned enough on the top to give it any real depth and wants for more sugar overall, and the sorbet it's served with is an odd textural contrast that simply doesn't work.

But if this is the most offensive thing I can think of to say about Lucio's after three otherwise exquisite meals, the restaurant is clearly doing something right. Its regulars think so, too. In fact, I dare you to get a seat there tonight.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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11 comments
AlainHarvey
AlainHarvey

Lucio’s BYOB & Grill is a New American inspired BYOB, located on Taft Street near the heart of Houston. Owner John Sjoberg, and chef Brett Maeschand his team prepare a menu focused on the season, respecting French traditions along with classic and modern techniques to build a dining experience that evokes entertainment, excitement, and satisfaction. We love the charming service and recommend the beautiful patio for dining al fresco for the perfect romantic evening.

Out of the loop now
Out of the loop now

Leaving Lucio's was the hardest part about moving from Montrose. My husband and I had the best date nights strolling over there, enjoying a leisurely meal, drinking too much wine since it is BYOB, and finding our way home again, relaxed and sated after a hard week of work. The service is always excellent, the roast duck in amazing, whatever they have on special, get it! It's also an excellent place to go for special occasions with a group, I really can't tell you how much we miss being regulars there.

Breakaway
Breakaway

Would know how the food was. We spent two hours waiting after we ordered and finally approached the manager and he said the ovens didnt work. Thanks for letting us know two hours later. Will never go back.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

I cannot believe you had never been there until recently. Great food and great service. It's been too long since we have been, but it is usually a staple when family comes home around the holidays.

Shmozer
Shmozer

true, not sure if i've normally seen interviews inside reviews before or not. getting too cozy with chef might spoil the impartiality, but katherine's reply makes sense. its a lil unclear in the article

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

If you'll note in the review itself, I interviewed the chef by phone. This was after the three visits that I paid to the restaurant, anonymously (at least, I was anonymous as far as I could glean...). So in answer to your question, yes -- these are "review reviews," although we've never employed a star system here at the paper. Our casual write-ups of restaurants are found at our food blog, Eating Our Words.

catty_arbuckle
catty_arbuckle

Kinda new around these parts... just wondering, are these articles supposed to be like "Review"s reviews, or more like casual write-ups? I'm guessing the latter, since there is no rating system and the writer is even interviewing the staff during the "review"?

Patsyqwerty
Patsyqwerty

I am a regular and I'm glad to see this place getting more press. It's so good! The new patio is beautiful.

The moron
The moron

Literally around the block for me, 30 second walk max. Great food, very good review.

KOM5k
KOM5k

Wanna know why you've never heard of Lucio's? Because people who've been going there for years know that it's too good to share. Some things in life you want to keep for yourself.

 
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