I won tickets to Jersey Boys and it included dinner at Artista. I had never been to this restaurant before and I was happy to try it. I don't get into down town very often when I am in the area visiting my family and this was going to be a great night.
Or I thought. My certificate thanks to the Houston Chronicle was not accepted right away and was even questioned as if I created it. After a bit of waiting and confusion, the GM (Geoff Harmison) honored the certificate as is. I was glad to see he was professional about the situation as I was just the messenger so to speak, the winner, and not in charge of either end of the deal between them and whomever put the contest winnings together.
We were seated, my friend and I, and it was not a bad spot, in a middle area, not far from the bar. It became a terrible spot, as servers bumped into my seat, I was facing the outside seating area, my back to the tables behind me. (I have worked in the restaurant business, done my time so speak, from the front of the house to the back) These servers need some training. From public etiquette, to team manners (speaking with one another), etc. If I behaved like this, my GM would have had my [--]. When I was the manager, I would have been highly disappointed if I witnessed some of this behavior for myself. It was like a school playground of sorts at times.
Even though my seat was bumped into from time to time, I kept it to myself. Just the issue of getting seated being settled was enough to move on for the evening and not allow it to ruin a great time with a great friend.
We enjoyed two appetizers. The EMPANADAS
flaky golden-brown savory latin pastries (from their menu) were true to form and flavor. The GNUDI SPOONS
naked spinach and ricotta ravioli, porcini mushroom (from their menu) were also delicious. I ordered the SHRIMP MASALA AND POLENTA
grilled jumbo river prawns with fallen polenta soufflé and citrus beurre blanc (from their menu) and my only let down was the faulty deveining process. I lost my appetite when I found one of my last three prawns lacking a clean slice and good cleaning. I shared the issue with our server as well as the GM. Prior to that finding, it was perfectly light and filling. A great choice for a spring evening. The sauce was seasoned well, had a rich texture but was not overwhelming with the polenta. My friend ordered the PAN ROASTED CHICKEN
mascarpone potato puree, rosemary and cremini mushroom sauce (from the menu) and she enjoyed it. From it's appearance, it looked as though it was lacking color. I was not sure about the cremini mushrooms, but I didn't taste it. The potatoes looked as though they were lacking something also but perhaps I am just not a mash potatoes person. Perhaps a rosemary sprig would have liven it up a bit. The plate looked bland, where as mine looked like the life of the party.
We had the house bottle of white wine. It was not bad. I was a bit skeptical, being that I usually don't enjoy the house choices but I will say, this one surprised me.
I was also glad to see a place in Houston where jeans were not the attire and people were willing to get dressed for dinner. As laid back as Houston is, I am not from here, and I seem to always be over dressed for many occasions. I was glad to see a great atmosphere paired with great food. Our server did a great job but I would have some kind of training working on communication on the floor. What is acceptable and what is not. It seems the ambiance of this locale calls for it.
I gave it a four out of five, mostly because of this one female server that seemed like a whole lot of one hot mess and not necessary for a great night in down town Houston and for the bumping in my chair over and over as if I was not sitting there.
I definitely suggest outdoor seating when weather is great, the view was nice.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.