Lomonte’s Italian Restaurant

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FEATURED RESTAURANT

BY MIKE PUCKETT

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Lomonte’s Italian Restaurant is located in Richmond, close to Katy and Sugarland. I have been looking forward to visiting this family-owned restaurant for a long time. As many of you know, I travel the country enjoying the best restaurants recommended by locals, but have spent the last 15 years in Southern California. My best friends have now moved out to the suburbs of Houston and have let me in on this gem … and I can now verify it is worth the drive, no matter where you live.

The Lomonte Family have owned restaurants for over 30 yrs. Braden and Melissa have shared their original family recipes, but have also made them a little different… a little better.

The first time I stopped by Lomonte’s, I only had cocktails at the bar. I was meeting an old friend there and she let me know it was one of her family favorites. Well, my take-away from that night was that not only do they have a wonderful wine list, but a great Top Texas Craft Beer list too! And, trust me, it was not a night I would soon forget. Ha!

So, after getting the lowdown from a dozen or so friends, I knew just the menu to try. This was not easy as I always try 3 appetizers, 4 entrées and a few desserts – all paired with specialty cocktails, wine or beers.

Lomonte’s is one of those places where it was hard to choose what to order. After several visits, I have tried everything and it is all unbelievable! My end-all recommendation is pick what you like best. You’re sure to love it!

The first thing I noticed about the cuisine was how light and fresh it is. Hardly any butter or cream is used.  Instead, these delicious dishes are made using olive oil which makes everything taste great without being too heavy. The flavors are absolutely Ahhhmazing…

We started out with Italian bread. Not just your average Italian bread, though. At Lomonte’s, you have to watch yourself with the instant starter of Italian bread, olive oil, balsamic, fresh Parmesan and basil. Just check out the photography and see for yourself! Throw in a bottle of wine and you might not order a meal – it’s that good! I found this out the hard way  when I had to take my whole entree home in a doggie bag. Which, come to find out, was awesome when it was warmed up. LOL!

My friend Amy highly recommends the Arancini, a marvelous mixture of panko, rice, Italian sausage, bacon, and a blend of 3 cheeses topped with spicy tomato cream sauce. Is THAT something you would be interested in? The savory flavors along with the rich tomato sauce were just what I was looking for. And paired with the Cabernet Sauvignon… forgetaboutit!

Next up was the Toasted Ravioli. I highly recommend you grab this as an app or even as an entrée. It may not be what you’re used to when you think of Ravioli as it originated from St. Louis.  Yup, it’s a little different, and a little better!

Another wonderful app / entrée was a highly-recommended menu item from one of my old and most-beloved friends, Brooke. The Bruschetta Rustica – tomato, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt, yellow onion, and Italian bread – is built with Lomonte family love.  The highly-skilled bartender paired it with a Sicilian Mule (Deep Eddy Vodka, fresh lime, ginger beer and Lemoncello) Not for the faint of heart, but it brought out the garlic and olive oil. Just another example of how an app can become an entrée. Delish!

So, if you have been following me for any length of time, you know I have a fascination for salads. I don’t say this often, but Lomonte’s Famous House Salad is one of my ALL-time favorites. It’s like vacation… Ha! I like vacation! I have the gift of gab, but I can’t quite put it into words. The House Salad is prepared with Romaine and iceberg lettuce, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, red onions and Parmesan cheese all tossed in red wine vinaigrette. Sounds basic, but it’s not. Another must-try – even if you have to share it with the table. But, I didn’t.  This was yet another St. Louis specialty – who knew St. Louis was so special?

Well, as if the starters weren’t enough, we were all excited to get to the main courses. I am so glad I came with a group of some of my closest friends. I can’t emphasize enough that Lomonte’s is a family restaurant which is best enjoyed family-style. Sure, there are many great menu items – but the experience is so much better with your loved ones. Plus… you can try more items.

So, Phil’s Baked Pasta was the first entrée that came to the table. It was served up with grilled Italian sausage, sautéed mushrooms, onions, black olives, red bell peppers and fresh basil. All these yummy goodness was tossed in a spicy tomato cream sauce, topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and baked. The grilled Italian sausage was out of this world! The fresh vegetables were an eye-opening accent that just set it apart. The Parmesan and mozzarella… made it wonderfully cheesy. Ha!

Another wonderful pairing by our server was the Sexual Chocolate 2014. Sex and chocolate… hmm… works for me! This Syrah, Malbec, was unbelievable – an absolute must if you are into wine. Subtle flavors of blackberry, cherry cola, plum, dark chocolate and a leathery richness only enhance the experience.

One of my VERY best friends – the Fox – and her foodie father let me know his favorite dish was Catfish Picante!  The lightly-breaded catfish was perfectly fried and served with Fettuccine Alfredo and a Louisiana-style Picante Sauce. In Southern California, they think catfish is a trash fish – but I will battle anyone who says it doesn’t hold its own with any fish you love. When prepared correctly… nothing tastes as good! The Picante Sauce it was swimming in was nothing less than LOUISIANA LOVE! Hands-down my favorite dish of the night! Thanks for the recommendation Mr. Fox – I owe ya one!

You know I have a sweet tooth, and I highly recommend you save room for dessert. Yup, dessert at Lomonte’s is another reason why I say you have to come here family style. There is no way you can enjoy the full spectrum of this restaurant with just your significant other. Well, unless you make multiple trips – like I have been doing. Ha!

The Cannoli was so sweet… delectable, tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with creamy ricotta. Heaven.

If you experience Lomonte’s… I promise you will not only feel the family love, but also a St. Louis edge you won’t find at any other Italian restaurant in Houston. I have to admit, this family establishment is a little out of the way – just outside the city limits. However, I will put my name on it. Just look at the photography! Enjoy!

Good Eats Houston Recommends…

Drinks

Harlem Fizz

Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, simple syrup and prosecco

 

Citrus Rosemary Tini

Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka, fresh rosemary, fresh orange juice and citrus infused simple syrup

 

Appetizers  

Italian Bread

Olive oil, balsamic, fresh parmesan, basil

 

Arancini

Panko, rice, Italian sausage, bacon, blend of 3 cheeses topped with spicy tomato cream sauce

 

Both paired with: Vino Robles Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Full-bodied with cherries and hints of licorice; juicy, sweet and textured tannins linger into the finish

 

Toasted Ravioli’s

Bread beef Ravioli that originated on “the Hill” in St. Louis

 

Paired with: Battle Line

Brown Ale, Texian Brewing Company

Rich and malty ale with a smooth finish and just enough citrusy hop presence to help balance out the sweetness

 

Bruschetta Rustica

Tomato, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt, yellow onion, and Italian bread

 

Paired with: Sicilian Mule

Deep Eddy Vodka, fresh lime, ginger beer and Lemoncello

 

Salad

Lomonte’s Famous House Salad

Romaine and iceberg lettuce, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, red onions, and Parmesan cheese tossed in red wine vinaigrette

 

Mains

Phil’s Bake Pasta

Grilled Italian Sausage, sauteed Mushrooms, onions, black olives, red bell peppers and fresh basil. tossed in a spicy tomato cream sauce then topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and baked

 

Paired with: Sexual Chocolate 2014

Varietal: Syrah, Malbec, SLO Down Wines

Flavors of blackberry, cherry cola, plum, dark chocolate and a leathery richness only enhance the experience

 

Jumbo Seared Scallops

Over a bed of creamy mushroom Risotto

 

Paired with: Italo Cescon 2015

Pinot Grigio. Italo Cescon Italian Winery

Straw yellow in colour with lingering aromas of nutmeg, vanilla, ripe tomato and acacia blossom. Full in flavour, the palate is dry and crisp with hints of orange zest

 

Beef La Crème

6 oz. certified Angus filet, sauteed onions, mushrooms, marsala wine sauce

Served with: Cappellini and Zucchini Squash Medley

 

Paired with: Turely Cabernet 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon, Turley Wine Cellars

Black cherry, plum, spice and leather all hit the palate in a bold, straightforward wine with good overall intensity

 

Catfish Picante

Lightly breaded and served with a Louisiana style picante sauce

Served with: Fettuccine Alfredo

 

Paired with: Stella Artois

Belgian pilsner lager, Stella Artois Brewery

Full-flavoured premium lager with a hoppy aroma and a hint of fruitiness

 

Bone in Pork Chop

Topped with a cherry red wine reduction and served on a bed of creamy mushroom Risotto

Served with: Roasted Bacon Brussel Sprouts

 

Paired with: Saved

Red Blend: Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Zinfandel, SAVED Wines

Aromas of ripe figs and vanilla followed by jammy flavors of blackberries and spice, all perfected by French-oak aging

 

Dessert

Cannoli

Tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with creamy ricotta

 

Tiramisu

Lady’s fingers, mascarpone cheese, flavored with cocoa

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE PUCKETT

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