Doug Catron was the financial guy for Frank Triola at Azzarelli's and when Triola decided to sell it, Catron and a couple of other investors stepped in and renamed it Bistro Catron (17754 Katy Fwy. (281-398-4070). While Catron is originally from Charleston, South Carolina, he has spent more than 30 years in Houston. The Charleston connection would be important later on. "We have developed an American Bistro with an Italian flair," Catron says. "We think that pasta dishes are too limiting, so we're providing our guests flavors from around the world, like classic Italian, French and some Asian dishes. We have an amazingly talented chef in Justin Strang, who is also from Charleston."
Strang followed his wife to Houston late in 2009 since her family is from here. "I've worked at TBones and Pearl's in Charleston," Strang says, "and just as graphic designers work with art and design, I work with food." He wants to bring to Houstonians concoctions we may never have tried. "Take my Banana Bacon Brownie, for instance. The combination of sweet and salty makes this an unforgettable experience. I want people to have fun with food and not just think of food as something you just have to eat."
Strang's Charleston roots can be seen in a number of dishes on his menu. First, there is the wonderful Shrimp and Grits, which he embellishes with truffles. This comes as an appetizer or main course. Then there are the Carolina Corn Fritters, which he tops with powdered sugar, showing again how he likes to combine savory with sweet flavors. For our main course, we tried his Slow Cooked Beef Ribs, prepared in red wine and served with a saffron risotto. Strang is an adventurous chef and we can't wait to see what else he has in store for us.
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