Houston Restaurant Weeks: Latin Bites

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What they're up to for Restaurant Weeks: Latin Bites is offering brunch and dinner menus during HRW so this is the perfect time to try out this modern Peruvian hot spot. (Kaitlin Steinberg visited recently, and reviewed LB.) At brunch, $20 will get you two generous courses--but you should really add a cocktail onto that; a Pisco Sour is $12. Dinner menus consist of three courses for $35.

Service/Atmosphere: In terms of space, Latin Bites is one of my favorite spots in the city: bright, clean, and contemporary, but warm and welcoming, too. The staff is unfailingly nice and accommodating. We had brunch at noon on Sunday, and were seated immediately even though we arrived almost twenty minutes early.

Items that won't be on the regular menu: At brunch, the Dulce de Leche Crepe is special for HRW. The sweet caramel filling and the bruleed sugar on top are balanced by a perfectly-cooked, not-to-sweet crepe.

Don't Miss This Dish: My husband and I agreed that the Peruvian-style tamales offered for the first brunch course are the number one, don't-miss dish of the menu. The salsa criolla was perfectly seasoned, and the onions add pop and crunch to the many layers of flavor infused through the tamale. Sorry vegetarians, there is pork in here--and it's delightful. I reluctantly returned to my crepe after trading dishes with my husband for a few bites. The tamale is, in a word, spectacular.

As long as you are at Latin Bites--and especially if it's your first time--you really need to order cebiche from the regular menu. The presentation is beautiful, and it's totally unlike any other you've tried before.

Don't Bother: I like the Arepa de Jamon y Queso offered in course two of the brunch menu, but it's on the regular menu so I would say skip it if only because you can get it any old time--and you should, but not during Restaurant Weeks. If you are just dying to try the Arepa, make sure you order a side of rocoto pepper sauce, a perfectly hot sauce that adds a vinegary zing to the ham, eggs, and flatbread.

Final verdict: I love Latin Bites, and have since my first visit. When my second course arrived it was wrong, but the staff quickly corrected the issue and my Arepa de Jamon y Queso was delivered in a few minutes. I love the cocktails here, too. This is one of those places that, once you find it, feels like your little secret--even though the place is always full!

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