Houston Restaurant Weeks: Latin Bites

What they're up to for Houston Restaurant Weeks: This year, Latin Bites offers a $25 three-course brunch on Sunday and a $35 three-course dinner throughout the week. For each brunch sold, Latin Bites will donate $4 to the Houston Food Bank and $5 for each dinner sold. We decided to check out the HRW brunch menu where you can add two-servings of a tropical cava mimosa to your brunch for $10 extra.

Service/Atmosphere: On a Sunday morning/early afternoon, Latin Bites is slightly empty, but the brunch crowds came flooding in around noon. Service was a bit lackluster up until customers began to fill the seats; it took nearly ten minutes for our waitress to bring us our mimosas when there were only four other tables in the dining room. This is likely due to a slow start in the morning, so if you want more attentive service, come later in the afternoon. Our waitress was informative about each dish, making sure to note each unique ingredient, such as the Peruvian corn, choclo, in the veggie scramble appetizer.

Items that won't be on the regular menu: The only item not featured on the regular brunch menu is the tequeños; this appetizer is featured on the Happy Hour menu though. The tequeños include four small logs of pastry dough wrapped around Venezuelan-style cheese, reminiscent of Mozzarella sticks, except the dough is flaky and soft rather than crispy and crunchy. The dish is served with a side of avocado aioli accented by fresh diced tomato, onion and cilantro. Warm stringy cheese with soft, buttery pastry dough and smooth avocado is an addictive combination.

You also won't find the passion fruit parfait on any dessert menu at Latin Bites; the parfait features layers of caramelized quinoa, strawberries and a meringue.

Don't miss this dish: he veggie scrambler offered as a first course is a twist on traditional scrambled eggs; Latin Bites adds quinoa to the fluffy eggs, as well as finely diced tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, piquillo peppers and mushrooms, as well as large Peruvian corn kernels, choclo, and spinach. The quinoa adds a nutty flavor and crunchy component to the scramble, while the fresh vegetables add volume to the overall dish. Latin Bites serves the scramble in a skillet with a side of diced potatoes smothered in a cheese sauce, likely the same Venezuelan-style cheese used in the tequeños.

For the second course, opt for the choripan sandwich featuring thick slices of greasy, spicy Argentinian sausage links, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato slices, and chimichurri sauce on a pretzel bun. The top of the sweet and salty bun includes a spread of spicy mayo and crispy shoestring potatoes, which adds a hidden crunch similar to the addition of potato chips on a cheeseburger. It's an indulgent sandwich perfect for brunch.

Don't bother: Unfortunately, the Cuban sandwich was overwhelmed by cheese, causing you to miss out on the tender pork shoulder cooked sous vide, as well as the sweet slices of ham. Order the choripan instead. Both of the desserts we had were tasty, but the serving size of the salted caramel gelato was disappointing and it began to melt quickly. You're better off getting the alfajores, even though each is small and you only get two.

Final verdict: For the final Sunday of HRW, Latin Bites is a good option. The brunch menu includes a nice array of breakfast and lunch options, and the addition of mimosas brings it all together. I only wished that the brunch menu, like the dinner menu, included a cebiche or tiradito -- the offerings at Latin Bites are too good to be featured on just one menu during HRW.

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