Coltivare

Coltivare
3320 White Oak Dr.
Houston, TX 77077
I was looking for some good Italian food in Houston, but The Annoyer said it doesn’t really exist.  Coltivare is new on the dining scene so it was new for him too.  Coltivare reminded me of a Portland restaurant.  It’s small.  It had an old, yet contemporary feel to it.  There was a lot of distressed wood.  The kitchen was open.  The menu felt very seasonal and local.  I almost forgot I was in Houston.
Cauliflower pinenuts, raisins
If you’re going to fry a vegetable, your best bet is to fry cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.  Frying brings a a golden caramelization while keeping the vegetable firm and crispy.  There’s nothing worse than mushy vegetables.  The raisins added some sweetness while the pinenuts added crunch.  It was a good starter.

Lacinata Kale pickled butternut squash, smoked gouda, pecans, local pears
I was expecting more kale than squash, but was pleased by the interesting preparation of squash.  I’ve never had pickled squash.  It was crunchy, and a little bit sweet and sour.  The cheese, pecans, and pears really rounded out the picklyness which got a bit tiresome after awhile.  More kale probably would have offset the picklyness too.

Rigatoni autumn vegetables, slow cooked duck, bread crumbs, goat milk ricotta

This was my least favorite dish.  It was kinda unmemorable and nothing about it popped.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.

Pizza gulf shrimp, calamari, puttanesca sauce, roasted tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano, lemon

The pizza itself was soft and doughy, with just enough crisp from the wood fired oven.  Essentially a puttanesca pasta on top of a pizza minus the pasta of course, wasn’t everything I had hoped for.  There wasn’t anything bad about the pizza, it just wasn’t super spectacular either.

Coltivare was good, but nothing too special.  The starters shined more than the main dishes.  I definitely liked the ambiance of the place.  Something happened in the kitchen and food service noticeably slowed, but other than that our experience was good.  We even came with a big wait in front of us, but got seated within 15 minutes.  Lucky us!  The food is not the best of its genre, but it wasn’t the worst either.  Maybe if we ordered a different pizza and pasta dish, our experience would have been better.
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome!
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK 
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here



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