Coming to the end of our long journey, we had just perched for the night in Livingston, TX, about an hour out from Houston. This was our last night on the road together for the coming month, and we were going to make it count...by finding a really great restaurant.
Thing is, though, Livingston in the dark is not a very promising-looking place, and Urbanspoon wasn't coming up with a lot of places to try out. There was this one listing downtown, though, for a place called the Blue Duck. There were no photos of the food, just an exterior and what appeared to be a window with the restaurant's logo. Though we were tired, we were up for the challenge, we thought.
After parking on the street (the Blue Duck is on a block close to the county courthouse), we ducked the rain and found our entry point, a four story building that had apparently received recent care. Inside, we walked through a small dining room where a single group had gathered, and were ushered further in by a hostess.
We didn't feel much better when we saw the menus, which were often-dampened printed sheets slid inside a report cover. In fact, this really, really screamed "bar food" to us.
But at the next table, a family was being asked what they wanted for dessert, and one of the options happened to be a strawberry cheesecake brownie. I looked at Grav and shrugged and he shrugged back. It was close to eight in the evening. We were tired. We weren't going anywhere else.
We finally got up the gumption to order. I was curious about the steak-filled potato, which our waitress insisted was a winner. Grav ordered a pork chop, and we put in for an order of fried mushrooms.
Everything changed at that moment. Thrilled with the prospect of an actual decent meal, we found ourselves salivating as we shot and then downed these magnificent creations. Both of us took to cutting them in half to prevent the inter-oral explosion of hot mushroom juices between our teeth. They were huge, and they were delicious.
What made my cravings worse was the long ramekin packed with macaroni noodles in bechamel sauce, topped with Cheddar cheese, I was allowed a taste of this and almost ordered my own... but with so much food, it would have been a waste.
Red River Cafe, was nothing short of amazing. We even craved, and got, a piece of Boston Cream pie to share betwixt us. It was moist and sweet and custardy and Grav let me have the last bites because he is awesome like that.
We walked out feeling very fortunate, excited still about the meal we had just encountered. This pretty little restaurant served up some great food, despite a rather gnarly menu. So, yeah, don't judge the restaurant by its menu cover.
410 N Washington Ave.
Livingston, TX 77351
After living in Houston (what I consider to be the gastronomic capital of the South) for 40+ years, my wife and I bought a lake house and moved to Livingston. I have to admit I was worried about where I was going to find something other than fried catfish, barbecue, and Mexican food (all good here in Livingston, but it does get tiresome after a while). Enter The Blue Duck. It has all the charm of a Montrose-style bistro (Houstonians will know what that means) and food that we never figured we would find here. Their steaks I would put up against any in H-town, but I have to admit, my favorite thing is the same as what your husband ordered, the pork chop. And the Bechamel mac and cheese takes it to a new level. They also do Sunday brunch once a month with a new menu each month, where for one price, you can order as much of everything on the menu as your tummy can handle. And every Friday they have a fish special for dinner. Not catfish, but things like pecan-crusted snapper, Grilled Ahi, and rainbow trout. Lake Livingston is the second largest lake in Texas, with over 450 miles of shoreline and phenomenal fishing, boating, and recreational facilities. It’s always been the best kept secret in Texas, since for whatever reasons, Houstonians tend to gravitate to overcrowded, very citified Lake Conroe. Thanks for letting folks know that Livingston (and “The Duck” as we call it here) are well worth the drive.ReplyDelete
We also went to The Blue Duck for the first time last night based on the great reviews I saw about it online. We moved to Onalaska -15 miles from Livingston - on the lake after living in Houston for 40 years. I've missed good restaurants and was very excited to find The Blue Duck. My husand and I are both gourmet cooks and love to cook at home. But last night was our 44th Anniversary and we wanted to go out for a special meal. The Blue Duck was fantastic! The food was delicious and the ambience was great! Larry had the Crawrish Etoufee and I had the NY Strip. Both were wonderful, as was the Chocolate Pie we shared for dessert. And, Armand, our server, was so attentive. Even though we rarely eat out, we're already planning to go to The Blue Duck twice a month. I can't wait to try their Brunch on the 2nd Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.ReplyDelete