Local Spotlight

Date Night: Wings, Pizza, and Love at Coltivare

When looking for a special spot for our anniversary, my man and I decided to try out Coltivare. A lot has been said about the White Oak resto's no reservations policy, but the thought of pizza, wine, and an urban garden was enough to get us there, despite the chances of a long wait. And as it turned out, the wait was no problem.

We showed up around 7 p.m. on a Friday, added our names to the list and walked down to Onion Creek to grab a drink. Less than 30 minutes later, the restaurant texted us that our table was ready. We had 10 minutes to get back and claim our seats, but we only needed 5.

That was easier than expected. But you know what wasn't? Trying to decide what to eat.


We settled on a small plate of lemon-basil chicken wings ($9), the sautéed backyard greens ($6), and a tomato basil pizza with salumi added ($11 + $4). There was about 700 other things I wanted to try, which doubled to 1,400 as I watched heaping plates of pasta, whole roasted fish, and herb-topped pies fly by.

But I forgot about all of it with just one look at the bowl of wings. These birds were beautiful; blackened and charred to a wonderful crisp with rich and dark roasted jalapeños, lemon, and aromatic fresh basil speckled throughout. The herbs from the garden -- also starring in a grapefruit and mint gin cocktail that I was currently enjoying -- are one of my favorite things about Coltivare. The basil brought a hint of sweetness, while a chile-infused lemon vinaigrette added a subtle heat that gained traction with each mouthful. We probably could have eaten five bowls of these things, but there was much more to come.

Our wood-burned pizza came with a slightly smoky char around the crisp, but super bubbly crust. I was actually worried about how thick the crust looked, but it was surprising airy despite its chubbiness. A bright tomato sauce, milky fresh mutz, and spicy salami -- housemade from sibling eatery Revival Market -- were modestly blanketed on top, keeping the pie feeling light. Of course, more fresh basil from the garden didn't hurt either. A bowl of backyard greens, wilted in earthy olive oil and blanketed with briny, sea-flavored anchovy breadcrumbs, made the perfect, slightly bitter accompaniment to it all.

We were super impressed thus far, so a quick breather and a bottle of wine later, we were ready for dessert. Though I'm usually a chocolate girl, the strawberry crostada ($6), hand-formed and cooked in the same wood-fired oven as the pizza, sounded too good to pass up. At the suggestion of our waiter, we added a scoop of Mexican vanilla gelato ($3). It's not like the super buttery, beautifully flaky tart filled with hunks of sweet, gooey strawberries and fresh cream needed it, but the cold, melting ice cream against the hot berry pastry brought the dessert to a spectacular new level. I can't even begin tell you how good of a decision it was.

My fiancé and I left happy, full, and in love...with the restaurant. Okay, and maybe with each other, too.

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano