On the Menu: Italian Night at Sweet Tea Café and Tea Bar

Amongst the cute shops in the Heights, you'll find Sweet Tea Café and Tea Bar (325A W. 19th Street), a two-month old restaurant serving up soups, salads and sandwiches. But the folks at Sweet Tea are also experimenting with another concept: Italian Night Fridays. The next one will be this Friday, February 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. A few weeks back I went to the inaugural Italian Night to see if the crew could pull it off.

They absolutely did. In fact, it was one of the better overall dining experiences my family has had. Sweet Tea just has that cool neighborhood restaurant vibe going on that isn't typically associated with Houston. The industrial look, yet cozy feel, of the restaurant was highlighted by the open kitchen set in the rear of the place, along with a tea bar, modern pieces of colorful wall art, and flat screen televisions.

Every aspect of the dining experience was perfect, including the BYOB policy ($2 per person corking fee) and live music. The service was friendly and attentive. The music was just loud enough to hear, but allowed us to converse normally.

And I haven't even gotten to the best part--the food. I had the Leago's Sicilian Spaghetti, which was comprised of stewed beef, a new potato and whole boiled egg, with tomato sauce over pasta. Other than the dish needing a little more meat, it was outstanding. I smashed the potato and egg into the pasta and went to town. I couldn't get over how well all the components worked together.

My wife had the chicken lasagna rolls -- creamy ricotta, chicken, spinach and herbs rolled up in sheets of lasagna. I stole more than one bite. Both dishes were reasonably priced and came with bread and a house salad that was served family-style.

We already have a date to come back this Friday. Judging by the packed house from our last trip, we better make reservations.

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