| Lunch |

A Fine Patio and Plenty of Rosé: Introducing the New Lunch Service at Café Azur in Montrose

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

It’s 72 degrees outside and the sun is shining. Not the sweltering, hot and humid sunshine that plagues Houstonians during our summer months, but the breezy, California-esque sunshine that practically caresses the skin.

There I was, sitting under a white umbrella on the pristine, astroturfed patio at Café Azur in Montrose. Cars passed by on the road just a few feet away, but thanks to the large Oak tree and strategically placed shrubbery in front of the cafe, I barely noticed it. My lunch companion had already gone back to work, but I had the afternoon off, and I couldn’t bring myself to leave. Despite the fact that my coffee was cold and I’d already been there for two-plus hours, I wanted to linger.

You can't help but want to linger on this lovely patio at Café Azur.EXPAND
You can't help but want to linger on this lovely patio at Café Azur.
Photo by Mai Pham

That afternoon, we’d been treated to a preview of the new lunch menu at Café Azur. When the Montrose restaurant opened last fall, only dinner and weekend brunch service were offered. The lunch menu debuted on April 4, just in time for patrons to take advantage of Houston’s fantastic spring weather.

Though the lunch selections do have some crossover with dinner — items like his bouillabaisse (fish soup), foie gras taco (one of the best bites we tasted last year) and the truffle linguine are available — chef and owner Sidney Degaine has several delightful new plates designed to light up not only your plate but your palate as well.

Salmon gravlax, $16.EXPAND
Salmon gravlax, $16.
Photo by Mai Pham

The salmon gravlax, more of an appetizer than a salad (but listed under the salad section of the menu) is a definite highlight. Made with Degaine’s own gravlax recipe, the mild, slightly sweet cured salmon is served over a bed of cucumber marinated in yogurt. Cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and a gin dressing, along with mustard seed pearls and artfully placed radicchio, make a beautiful, Instagram-worthy plate.

Grilled shrimp and avocado tartine, purslane salad, $16.EXPAND
Grilled shrimp and avocado tartine, purslane salad, $16.
Photo by Mai Pham

For sandwiches, you can try the classic croque-madame or croque-monsieur — the French versions of ham and cheese with or without a fried egg on top. But in keeping with the coastal French theme of the restaurant, Degaine also offers three choices for lighter, open-faced tartines topped with, respectively, prosciutto, salmon or grilled shrimp and avocado. The latter comes with a salad of purslane with balsamic vinaigrette. “I love purslane,” says Degaine, “It is a medicinal herb, good for the prevention of cancer. I recently found a supplier for it out in California.”

Heirloom tomato salad, $15.EXPAND
Heirloom tomato salad, $15.
Photo by Mai Pham

Degaine offers some vegetarian options as well, including a chunky heirloom tomato salad with crispy croutons, a smattering of pine nuts, and hunks of fresh, creamy mozzarella dressed simply with fresh basil, Maldon salt and extra virgin olive oil. “You don't want to mess with the amazing taste of those tomatoes,” he says.

Butternut squash with melted Taleggio, $11.EXPAND
Butternut squash with melted Taleggio, $11.
Photo by Mai Pham

For the cheese lover, there’s a crowd-pleasing grilled slab of butternut squash served over butternut squash puree and topped with a thin slice of French bread, over which is a mound of oozing, melted Taleggio cheese. A liberal dose of chopped chives and pine nuts are sprinkled on top. It’s large enough to be ordered as a shared plate, and decadent enough that you’ll want to order a glass of wine to go with it.

Boeuf bourguignon. Gorgeously plated, $19.EXPAND
Boeuf bourguignon. Gorgeously plated, $19.
Photo by Mai Pham

Entrées are heartier and more substantial, with choices ranging from a lighter Mediterranean branzino filet, to duck pot pie served in a large, terrine-style tranche reminiscent of a pâté en croûte, to Degaine’s spectacularly plated version of boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy). To see it is to want it: Fried strips of crispy potato jut upwards from a round bed of buttery smooth mashed potatoes, with the stewed beef and its juices hidden in the center underneath a generous helping of gremolata.

If there’s one thing that’s missing from the lunch menu at this point, it’s a prix-fixe or business lunch option for those who have less time to linger (we are hoping Café Azur will introduce one in the future). For those who are looking for a lovely lunch experience, however, the menu is filled with options that invite you to sit back and enjoy the simple pleasures of coastal French dining. And, in keeping with the spirit of the Côte d’Azur, it’s worthwhile to know that there are also plenty of options for rosé — by the bottle and by the glass — among them, the Jolie-Pitt clan’s famous Château Miraval from Côtes de Provence, a Bandol Rosé from Domaine de La Laidière, and even a bubbly JP Chenet Brut Rosé.

Café Azur is located at 4315 Montrose. Lunch will be served Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are recommended at 713-524-0070. For more information, please visit www.cafeazurhouston.com.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.