Fall For It

As the calendar advances, Houstonians can at least pretend that we've changed seasons. We can bid adieu to white shoes and chilled soups, and embrace mellow, fruitful autumn, with its special ingredients and dishes. At La Griglia (2002 West Gray, 713-526-4700), Tony Vallone's tribute to the Milanese style of Italian cooking, the risotto with beef tenderloin and Barolo sauce is a perfect cool-weather entrée. The dish has been modified for Houston tastes, as risotto in Milan is made with beef marrow melted into the mixture. The local version is less operatically caloric in that respect, but where an Italian restaurant traditionally offers beef in an etto, a measure of weight equivalent to about three and a half ounces, this Texan risotto has close to half a pound of the most sublime slices of steer. A garnish of thin Parmesan shavings completes the confection. At $16, it is one of the city's best fine-dining bargains.
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George Alexander