Tailspin

Longtime customers have stormed La Colombe d'Or [3410 Montrose, (713)524-7999], demanding that the luscious lobster cardinal ($14.95) hightail it back to the menu. Their cries, thank goodness, have been heard. This flaky puff-pastry appetizer features slices of lobster tail and baby asparagus, but the pièce de résistance is the sauce, which, like the restaurant's famed bisque, is the sum of all parts of the fresh crustacean. "It sounds terrible," says owner Steve Zimmerman. "But we save everything -- the claws, shells, head, juices, the guts, if you will." All are cooked down for hours with sautéed vegetables, seasonings and white wine, then strained and mixed with cream and cognac. The result is the very essence of lobster, which is enough to make even the revolutionaries lose their heads.

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Melanie Knight