July 5, 2023

Mimo on Telephone Road

With three others to help me dine, we were able to sample many items on the lunch menu including two salads,  bucatelli with sausage, a fettucine with mortadella, orechiette in a light tomato sauce, and their Hoagie #1, as well as the panna cotta dessert. I can tell you truthfully that there was not a dud in the whole order. Flavorful. And the service was excellent.

Thanks to Alison Cook's Houston Chronicle review, which is how we heard about this restaurant, located in the old Kanomwan location on Telephone Road, across from Bohemeo's.

A high point were the zucchini fritters. Wow. Listed as a happy hour offering, but they were happy to fry some up for us. Panko (and some secret stuff) made for a delicious, crispy, crunchy crust.

Highly recommended. But with one caveat emptor. See comment below.

I have a good friend who owned a one star Michelin restaurant in Rome. And he is Roman to the core. And passionate about Italian, well, all cuisine as presented in Europe (which is very differently prepared, for him, based on his experiences here in Houston).

His "al dente: is REALLY "al dente". "To aid in digestion" he would say. I know, cause he's made a pasta a la Amatriciana for me in his home, and softened the pasta for me. Not much. But a little. What he called "al dente American style".

Well. He took one look at the parsley, topping the bucatini (and let's not get into the soft pasta which he would hate but which I prefer) and said "No, no, no, absolutely not! If you brought a dish with the parsley stems still intact, you would be laughed out of business. That is NOT done in Italy. Ever." He also was amused by the mortadella topping the fettucine and the general appearance of the dish. I've learned a lot from him. 

John Nechman writes of the lunch:
"You’ve likely heard amazing things about Mimo ( https://www.mimohtx.com/ ) the unassuming spot that has taken over what was once Kanomwon in the Tlaquepaque complex at 736 ½ Telephone Rd. Believe everything you’ve heard. Dramatic flavors from the finest ingredients set forth in a simple manner so that every individual element shines through. Superb wines. A caring staff who knows how a dining experience is supposed to be managed. Dining at Mimo yesterday for lunch with a couple of delightful friends, we tried a wide assortment of dishes and found all of them good.

You don’t want to rush this. Mimo is the ideal place to relax, share plates and conversation, and contemplate the magic of each plate set before you. We started with a snappy suppa del giorno of creamy chickpeas in a slightly tart and aromatic broth and a salad of red-tip lettuce dressed in a classic Caesar. We couldn’t pass up another salad about which the Chronicle’s Alison Cook (a Mimo regular) raved—tangy and just-bitter-enough layers of burgundy-speckled Castelfranco radicchio with watermelon relish doused in preserved lemon-miso vinaigrette, then buried under a snow flurry of fine shaved parmigiano. Simply stunning.
We split 3 excellent pastas—a fettucine coated in lemon, crushed pistachios and English peas, then topped with sliced mortadella; orecchiette blended with crispy pancetta, roasted cherry tomatoes, and lemon butter, with the unique nuttiness of fresh chunks of Romanesco and the earthy qualities of mature Pecorino; and a daily special of bucatini in a velvety sugo rosa-like sauce with nuggets of sweet rosemary-spiked homemade salsiccia. Nothing was left from these 3 plates.
Of the 5 mouth-watering panini, we chose and loved the one simply called “hoagie,” featuring finocchiona (a rarely-seen-in-Houston fennel-flavored salami), mortadella, and provolone on spectacular bread, served with a homemade giardiniera of iceberg lettuce, tomato, and peppers in top quality vinegar and evoo. One of my favorite dishes is easy to miss on the menu—look under the sides for the corn and zucchini fritters, served with truffled honey. These are totally addictive and would make a sensational antipasti. If you are more than 2 people, you will want more than 1 order of these. An Azimut Brisat Parellada, a bracing orange wine, set off all the flavors of these wonderful dishes we enjoyed.
We went with 2 desserts—an insanely rich panna cotta topped with a candied lemon and mint honey-like syrup, and fresh-baked lemon amaretti cookies served with crema di vin santo.
After lunch, I tried to remember where I’d seen the handsome gentleman with the gorgeous blue eyes who was one of 3 who took such great care of our table—the receipt showed M. Sammons, and I saw his name in Alison Cook’s review (https://www.houstonchronicle.com/.../mimo-italian... ). He has managed or owned several of our favorite places—How to Survive on Land and Sea, La Dolce Vitá, and 13 Celsius, Weights & Measures, and Mongoose vs Cobra in Midtown. We’ve enjoyed all of these places, and Mimo brings together much of what we’ve loved in all of them. "

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