by Ganteng Boy
This is the new kid on the block. Cooking Girl recently opened in October of 2015, and in less than a few months, the word is out. Watch out Houston, Cooking Girl is a formidable contender to other Szechuan fare restaurants in Houston.
Located on 315 Fairview St, the restaurant is nestled in a quiet part of the Montrose neighbordhood. Inside, it’s anything but quiet. My friend and I went to visit this restaurant on a casual Thursday, far less busy than what I would imagine their weekend crowds.
First blush and I already like the layout of the menu. It’s not daunting by any means. The menu is easy to navigate and helps guests who are particularly indecisive. If you noticed on the far right corner of the Back Page Menu, the restaurant is open to BYOB service. That’s a big plus in my book!
Beverages and Starters: Crisps and Honey Lemon Tea $5.99 (jar)
Delicate in flavor, the tea had an ideal balance between sweetness and tart. The crisps (not sure exactly what they are called, but we are going to run with ‘crisps’) reminded me more like a very lightly textured Dorrito, subtle in taste, and with a hint of sweetness. Not that it was our main meal, at this point I’m far from being full; but nonetheless, it was a great way to whet my apptetite.
First Course: Oxtail Tomato Soup $5.99 (Small)
This soup reminded me of what Mom used to cook. Unlike the Indonesian variant, this soup was lighter in taste. There is a pronounced taste of tomatoes. And again, slight sweet overtone on the tail end of the soup. Well done.
Main Course: Fried Spicy Intestine $11.99, Sauteed Fresh Vegetables $8.99, TMD Soft Bacon $11.99
Don’t be fooled by the presentation of this dish. Although it might appear to be a dessert, this is by far the most interesting texture in bacon. Each piece of bacon is sliced not too thick, and not too thin. As soon as the bacon lands on your tongue, it immediately melts in your mouth. I can’t believe it’s not butter!
The majority of intestine dishes that I have encountered are either boiled or braised. I seldom come across fried intestines. Lightly seared and fried, the fried intestines found a good balance between a slight crunchiness, and juiciness on the inside. As a fair caveat, the dish is peppered with a few jalapeno slices. For those of you averse to spicy foods, the fried intestine itself is not terribly spicy (confirmed by my friend who is averse to spicy food) – just don’t go for the jalepeno.
As always, you can’t go wrong with the sauteed vegetables. Doused in garlic and cooked to perfection, this is my go-to vegetable dish. With it’s hallowed stems, the watercress veggies have a slight crunch to it. There’s alot of magic going on when I grab a bit of veggies, a bit of fried intestines, and a bit of pork.