Life has changed for this food writer. As a brand-new mom, poppin’ bottles has taken on a slightly different meaning. But while I find myself seeking out diaper changing tables for the first time ever, I’m still on the hunt for all the awesome happy hours, exciting menus and H-town icons, both new and old. Only now, I’m bringing my baby, Quinn, along with me. This “Whining and Dining” series looks at dining out with a baby in the city (more specifically, In the Loop, because Quinn doesn’t like to travel too far from home just yet).
Date night looks different these days. As it is unlikely my husband and I are bringing Quinn to a steakhouse anytime soon, we were searching for a new way to get our steak fix when I remembered I’ve been meaning to check out Common Bond for dinner.
I’d been in many times before — for lazy weekend brunches (the shrimp and grits!) and the quick, casual lunch/coffee date with friends (croissant the size of your head, anyone?) — but its nighttime menu seemed to elude me. Not anymore, because on the dinner menu was just what I’d been looking for: steak frites.
We showed up on a Friday just before 7 p.m. and jumped in line, not needing to think about our order. "Two steak frites and two happy hour wines, please." The dining room and patio were filling up (it seems other people are in on this dinner “secret,” too), but we were able to snag a small (and out of the way) round table next to which we could plop Quinn’s car seat.
The house reds left a little something to be desired, but at $4 a pop, I couldn’t complain (next time I’ll go with a happy hour local brew).
I was really in it for the steak, anyway; and Common Bond’s version showcased a petite filet, smoked, charred and finished with steak butter, caramelized shallots and a dreamy green peppercorn Bordelaise. Fans of poutine will appreciate that gravy-like Bordelaise, because the pile of crisp, shoestring frites served alongside absolutely sing when dragged through the sauce. We both dabbed on some Tabasco to cut through the smoke and richness. For 20 bucks a plate, these steak frites were a hit.
Quinn took her bottle while we negotiated which desserts we’d take to-go, settling on a petite black forest cheesecake and turtle brownie combo that paired quite nicely with the bottle of Pinot we opened at home.
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Not a bad date night, after all.
TL;DR: You may have been to this fast-casual bakery and café for its colossal pistachio croissants and decadent brunch plates, but its dinner makes for a worthy date night, one that is kid-friendly, too. The money you saved on a sitter can go toward dessert.
Kid-Friendly Dining Essentials
Parking: Lot and street
Seating: High-chairs available
Bathrooms: Changing table in the women’s restroom
Kids menu: No (but expect one at the Heights opening in November)
Extras: Will accommodate special requests like grilled cheese, ham and cheese and special flatbreads
Common Bond, 1706 Westheimer, 713-529-3535