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.
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.
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.
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.