PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston September 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 35 of 115

W hen you know, y o u k n o w. C h r i s t i n a Sulien knew deep inside that it was amore when, at the age of 22, she met Alfredo Mojica. In fact, she told her mother that night, "I'm going to marry him." The pair worked at Da Marco — she as a hostess, and the handsome Mojica as the restaurant's chef. A veteran of the Italian restaurant world in Houston, he has spent decades in the business, first in the employ of Tony Vallone, then Vallone's prodigy, Marco Wiles, signing on to help Wiles launch his restaurant, Da Marco. Mojica was awed by the beautiful girl at the front desk, but he was married. Fast forward seven years, one divorce (his) and a wrenching breakup (hers) later, and they saw one another again at the very restaurant where they had first met. Love struck — followed by marriage, two children, and Amore, the aptly named restaurant that they launched a few months ago. (Queue up Dean Martin.) Spurred on during the pandemic to make a career change and open a restaurant, they renovated a former sandwich spot on Shepherd Drive — which, as we go to press, has been fronted with a messy road-construction project. Fortunately, the dump trucks and jackhammers outside their door haven't deterred the legions of new fans filling this bright white dining room, a simple and elegant space designed by Christina herself with herringbone- patterned flooring, a gray-veined marble- topped service bar, and linen-covered chairs pulled up to tables cloaked with starched white tablecloths. Chef Alfredo is particular about his ingredients and insists on importing seafood such as Dover sole and branzino from Europe, along with cheeses like burrata straight from the best source in Italy, and simmering his own stocks and fish fumets, all to create — in the chef's own words — "quality classic fare." Start your repast with a glass of cool bubbles and the rich yet delicate potato croquettes crowned with jamon serrano poised on a pool of truffle cream. The wine list bridges the New World with the Old, and By Laurann Claridge Photography Pär Bengtsson Art Direction Michelle Aviña patrons who want to dust off a special bottle are also invited to do so here (naturally, with a small customary corkage fee). Move on to a crisp, cool celery salad tossed with garbanzos, olives, and shaved pecorino in a light vinaigrette ($10). Not to be missed is the grilled octopus, glazed with a reduction of orange and lemon juice enriched with olive oil, sided by a tangle of arugula ($19). Don't pass up the crudos, especially the prawn carpaccio, in which fresh Patagonian prawns are pounded paper-thin to create a paillard of raw shrimp drizzled with Meyer lemon juice, honey, and truffle-scented sea salt, with a scattering of toasted walnuts for crunch ($14). Primi pastas include Spaghetti Harry's Bar, inspired by the famed dish the couple loved in Venice, in which strands of linguine cradle chunks of lobster meat enrobed in a brandy-spiked Pomodoro sauce redolent of lobster stock ($38). Lasagnetti is a delicate dish made with wide pasta ribbons tossed with branzino, pine nuts, and Romano beans in a light white wine sauce ($20). Classic risotto Milanese makes quite the statement: Here called Risotto Dorato, the creamy saffron-seasoned rice, cooked to a perfect al dente, is topped with seared scallops papered with a sheet of edible pure gold leaf and two rose petals ($32). The pizza is the thin-crusted Neapolitan sort. The pizzaiolo pulls blistered-bottom pies out of the golden-tiled oven, such as a taleggio pear variety topped with arugula, fresh Bosc pear slices, and a drizzle of truffle oil ($19) and a Calabrese-style pizza with mozzarella fior di latte, Calabrese salami, and fresh basil ($14). Tempting entrees include the cheekily named Thanksgiving Duck, inspired by the Americana flavors of our beloved holiday, in which seared duck magret is painted with a cranberry-orange cognac reduction, sprinkled with fennel pollen, and served with creamy Parmesan potatoes ($29). Carnivores, please share the Bistecca alla Fiorentina (market price) with the table. The simply seasoned and grilled (enormous) porterhouse cut arrives sliced off the bone with the filet separated from the strip, sautéed garlic-tinged spinach and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes by its side. Amore, 3310 S. Shepherd Dr., 713.485.0033, LOVE at First Bite Handmade Tagliolini with black truffles Chef Alfredo Mojica and Christina Sulien 34

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - PaperCity Houston September 2022