Since early August, Quattro Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston has been hosting a terrifically sophisticated yet terribly relaxing "dinner and a movie" series in which patrons feast on multiple dishes while watching a popular movie. Films featured thus far have included The Big Lebowski, Pretty Woman, The Sound of Music and, most recently, Deli Man, starring Houston's own Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy's.
After being seated in ultra-comfy high-backed chairs in a private room with a large projector screen at a recent outing, guests were promptly served a glass of champagne and a marvelous deli-themed (appropriately) appetizer platter of corned beef, crackers, pickles, hummus, pita bread and potato salad. Five more courses followed as we watched everyone from the likes of Larry King to Jerry Stiller wax poetically on the virtues of the deli. First came a refreshing salad of green melon, tender prosciutto, basil and supple burrata. Its crispy, savory and earthy flavors contrasted nicely with those of the dish that followed: a large diver scallop with pappa al pomodoro, a peasant tomato soup with high umami notes.
The saffron risotto cake with wild mushrooms and an intense cheese fondue was a crowd favorite for its moist, creamy texture; a second helping all around was desired, but restraint was necessary to make it through the remainder of the meal. For the entrée, guests were offered a choice of beef medallion with truffled whipped potatoes and heirloom carrots or roasted spigola with cannellini beans, olive tapenade and dried tomatoes. Unfamiliar with spigola (also known as European dace), I chose the latter and was richly rewarded with a lovely fillet dressed in simple spices and oil.
With the fifth and final course, we transitioned back from Italy to the delicatessen via a slice of (what else?) cheesecake. The credits rolled and the audience was stuffed, yet everyone was in the mood for a pastrami sandwich on rye.
The best part of the meal? A surprise appearance by the Deli Man himself. Ever affable and gregarious Ziggy Gruber showed up just before our first course and generously spent a large amount of time providing amusing and educational commentary to the film.
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You can still catch a dinner and a movie, but don't wait. The remaining schedule is as follows:
· September 25 Apollo 13
· October 2 Grease
· October 9 The Wall
Friday Night Movies at Quattro Restaurant
Location: Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Dates: Every Friday, August 7 – October 9
Time: 7 p.m.
Prices start at $79 per person/$145 per couple and include dinner and movie (tax, gratuity and beverages are extra). Beverage packages will be offered each evening or may be purchased on an individual basis. Call 713-276-4700 for reservations.