Down House

Instagram photos from this Heights venue prompted a birthday outing and makeshift friend reunion. For the most part we were thrilled with Down House, both in terms of laid back atmosphere and food offerings.

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Atmosphere
Buried back in a strip of big trees, its easy to miss as you travel down Yale St. from the core of the Heights. Seating is both inside, which has a pub feel – dark wood tones and casually configured tables, and outside – the same feeling with sturdy tables and chairs but they have added fans for those unbearable Houston summers. Outside has a more lively, drinks-with-friends mood, inside is more sedate, family dinners.

Food
Wins all around. We noticed the small plate,  large plate partition on the menu and went straight for a few small plates as appetizers. Cheese board was good but small. Cauliflower chaat was delicious – cauliflower was roasted and lightly seasoned with Indian spices and the chickpeas were ‘puffed’ with the same spices. The show stealer for me were the beets – roasted, sliced then topped with fresh anchovy fillets, a mint-cilantro sauce accompanied. While disturbing on paper, the flavours actually worked well together – the sweetness of the beets paired exceptionally well with the slightly salty anchovy, mint and cilantro added a small herbal note acting as a daft negotiator between sweet and salty flavours.

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For a main I partnered up with Birthday Girl and we split an order of Fish and Chips. You can just promptly forget about the traditional English version as this will not be what’s on the plate. However, what is, is truly delicious. The fish is pan fried rather than batter fried; crispy, lightly seasoned and flaked apart by a mere glance. The chips were double fried, lightly salted and hard to keep on the plate. Note that some co-diners walked away with fork marks on their fingers as a result of ignoring ample warning not to steal my chips. What was most notable about this dish was the toned-down curry sauce underneath. I really liked the Indian spin on the traditional British fare.

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Service
Definitely no complaints; attentive without being intrusive, spot on with recommendations and more than accommodating for some of our more specific requests. Timing was good for the most part with a 2-hour dinner pace seemingly the norm.

Price
Dead center on medium priced. Drinks all hovered in the $10 range. Apps varied from $6-15 and mains settling on a median of $15.

While Down House may not be the IT place, its a solid choice for a casual night whether you’re out for a quick post-work cocktail or settling in for a multi-hour event.

Dinner: May 2014

Down House | 1801 Yale | HTX 77008

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