BY MIKE PUCKETT
Laurenzo’s Restaurant is located inside the 610 loop, just south of I-10 (the Katy Freeway) on Washington Ave. The restaurant serves delightful food using tried-and-true family recipes dating back generations.
The Laurenzo family has a deep tradition of serving the best quality food and providing great customer service. Everything is fresh, made daily from scratch and with the magic touch that only a Laurenzo can provide.
You can’t miss Laurenzo’s Restaurant; the name is printed in large letters right on the side of the building. A beautiful wooden façade with plenty of windows faces the street. The architecture has character and there’s a charming little canopy as you walk through the entrance. I am a sports fan and love my hometown Houston sports as well as my Texas Aggies, so I was delighted to see a ton of memorabilia all over the place. And, to you Longhorn fans, or any other school for that matter, there’s no discrimination here – I saw memorabilia from all schools. The server told me that much of it is for sale with proceeds being donated to your favorite non-profit. What a cool concept! You can come to Laurenzo’s, get a nice, juicy prime-rib, an autographed Earl Campbell jersey and they will donate the proceeds to my favorite charity? Hmmmm, sounds like a win, win, win!
Well, let the games begin! We headed up to the bar to try out a couple of their specialty cocktails: the Prickly Pear Margarita and Moscow Mule. Both were wonderful choices, especially the Prickly Pear Margarita – a delicious starter for sure. They also have an extensive wine selection and serve a number of Top Texas Craft Beers.
We moved on to the very spacious dining area, thinking to myself this would be a perfect place for groups. After a look at the extensive menu, I saw it was going to be a tough choice deciding what to eat; I just wanted to devour everything on it.
We decided on a couple of Top Texas Craft Beers, namely, Karbach’s Hoppadillo IPAs. Along with the great craft beer, we ordered a couple of apps: the Crab Cake and the Spinach & Artichoke Dip.
First, the Crab Cake: colossal lump crab which is lightly breaded, then pan fried and served with Remoulade Sauce. I don’t think I have ever seen a crab cake with so much actual crab meat. Usually there is more cake than crab, but not here… so amazing!
Laurenzo’s Spinach & Artichoke Dip, a unique and tasty version of an old favorite, is served with homemade chips and salsa. I topped the chips with the dip, salsa and sour cream. So good! I had noticed something unique on the menu and just had to try it: Blackened Prime Rib Pizza. This delicious pizza was built with spicy blackened prime rib, mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. The crust was made from scratch and absolutely divine. The prime rib was sliced thin and laid across the pie, so you get to enjoy it with every bite. Wow!
We split two entrees: the French Dip and the Colorado Lamb Chops. We also ordered some of Laurenzo’s signature creamed corn so we could see what all the fuss was about. The French Dip consisted of sliced prime rib roast served on an Italian roll. It came with French fries – wonderfully crispy, fresh-cut potatoes. The prime rib was so juicy and the sandwich so big you could split it. A great, hearty sandwich to grab for lunch. For the record, I have never been a huge lamb guy, but lately I’ve been getting out of my comfort zone and trying new lamb-based dishes. I’ve been enjoying them so much I think I am becoming more of a fan. The Colorado Lamb Chops were no exception: the meat was cooked to perfection, the garlic mashed potatoes and gravy were made from scratch, the flavors all went together beautifully and the mint jelly really topped it off. This delicious entrée reminded me of a home-cooked meal, just like mama used to make.
Now, I had heard big things about the creamed corn they serve here at Laurenzo’s Restaurant. It seemed kind of weird to me; I mean, I like creamed corn, but wasn’t sure how something so ordinary could be so special. Well, I ate those words – almost as quickly as I ate the best creamed corn I have ever had! They roast the fresh corn and take it right off the cob; there are even a few darkened kernels which give it a bit of a crunch. This delicious side wouldn’t be a bad entrée if you just doubled it up. Ha! The creamed corn is definitely something you need to try on your visit Laurenzo’s.
Finally, it was time for dessert! We ordered the Key Lime Pie with whipped cream (mandarin, lime conﬁt, and a graham cracker crust) and the Italian Cream Cake, a four-layer amaretto and pecan cake with mascarpone frosting. Unbelievable! Just another prime example of the awesome “from scratch” cooking here. Although the crust on the Key Lime pie meshed perfectly with the filling, it should at least be tasted by itself. What a fine dessert! As for the Italian Cream Cake, it was chock-full of nuts and had that perfect mascarpone frosting: thick and creamy, but not too sweet. I felt like I might have died and gone to heaven.
My visit here at Laurenzo’s Restaurant was nothing short of amazing. I understand it is owned by the same family that brought us the El Tiempo, another favorite of mine which we’ll be featuring soon. For now, I say farewell to the Laurenzo family and this great experience – but you can bet that I will be back! Back for lunch, happy hour, dinner, brunch… Ha! Back for a piece of Key Lime pie for sure!
PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE PUCKETT
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