Cozy Rabelais in the Rice Village

Once we came here for lunch and heard animated Italian at the next table, always a good sign. Tonight they were out of the by-the-glass Bordeaux, so Dave got an insipid Cotes du Rhone, and I went white for a change and got an OK Vouvray, a bit too cold. We had spent the entire day listening to the EEB grad students give us a 12 minute slice of their research, had a beer at Valhalla with said students, and were ready for some coziness on this cold day (46 degrees). You can see below what we had, goat cheese salad, turnip-bacon soup, quail, sweetbreads, creme brulée to split. I have to say it was good, in a fairly honest sort of way, if more than we’re used to paying at about $90 before tip for two. We could have gotten sandwiches, though. I thought about getting the turnip soup for my first course, and the onion soup for my second course, but wasn’t up for the likely gloppy mess of cheese and bread on top of the onion soup. Oh, the table bread was dry, oversalted, not very good. Not like the delicious sour bread we made last night, and ate at lunch with eggplant, provolone, and arugula, causing Michael Kohn, walking by to ask admiringly where we got the sandwiches. No one knows a good sandwich quite like the Germans in my experience.

Rabelais is a small place, slightly phony in a Houston kind of way. We KNOW for a fact you have air-conditioning. You don’t need to advertise in the window, Salon Climatisée. There’s this odd high shelf thing with a big plant on top right inside the door. I guess it blocks the bitter winds, but looks kind of funny when you really look at it.

The place filled up fast right after seven. Maybe these were the people who read you just can’t eat before seven, but by then were starving. Nothing is perfect about this place, but it is a slice of life, our life, and the other customers are us 20 years ago, or in 20 years. We go here about once a year, and are glad it’s still there.

They write on the board, then light it so you have to dart all over to see it past the glare.


See that lump of fried goat cheese at the top that gives this salad its name?


I got the turnip-bacon-ton-of-cream soup, yum, but they could have filled the bowl a little more!


Yup, I got the sweetbreads, and even got Dave to try them, deep-fried crispiness. No, those aren’t porcini.


Dave got the quail, stuffed with something livery. Potatoes were good, a little salty.


We split the creme brulée. Still can’t do the accent grave. It was nicely tepid the way I like it.


The espresso was only ok, a little crema.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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One Response to Cozy Rabelais in the Rice Village

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Another restaurant you might enjoy is Antica Osteria on Bissonnet & Greenbriar. It is in the former Deterings Book Store house. Good food, nice ambiance. We have enjoyed Cafe Rabalais but liked it best when JJ was the manager.

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