As mentioned previously about my experiences of the amazingness of Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar, there is in existence a similar restaurant-bar 1-2 punch in North Loop, Borough and Parlour, which opened up in January of 2013. When I dined at Borough the first time (back in May 2013), I enjoyed my meal thoroughly, but didn’t have time for cocktails. I left feeling slightly more impressed with what Bachelor Farmer/Marvel Bar had to offer. However, after having returned to both since and now partaking in Parlour’s menu, I must say that Borough’s food has a slight edge, and while I love Marvel Bar and probably would give them a slight edge for cocktails, I’ve been there a number of times now, and so Parlour has officially risen on my list of favorites cocktail spots to return to. Either way, both are excellent in their own ways and deserve a visit, though this post focuses on the title pair.
Having been both during early evening and late night for dinner, both have different ambiances. In the daylight, the restaurant almost glows, while at night, lighting was kept low. Either way, the place definitely gives a classy air despite the influences of the raw Warehouse District (former name for North Loop) architecture – exposed cement and conduit. Definitely date-worthy.
My dining companion and I opted to get 2-courses each, though the server pointed out that the menu was constructed specifically as a 3-course meal. Below are my selections from the first and second course options, followed by my dining companions selections from the first and third course options.
- Duck – Prosciutto, Rillette, Pâté, Aspic, Fig, Pickles, Mustard
- Prawns – Grilled, Ricotta Cavatelli, ‘Nduja, Tomato, English Peas, Radish
- Broccoli – Sautéed, Purée, Cheddar, Crispy Pig Ears
- Halibut – Pan Seared, Spring Onions, Wild Mushrooms, Potato
The duck charcuterie plate was beautiful both in presentation and taste. I think this was the first duck prosciutto I’ve had, and the rillete was exceptionally flavorful. I also enjoyed the duck aspic jelly, which added some interest for me. The fig, pickles, and mustard were very nice accompaniments and complimented the rest of the plate very well.
While the presentation on the prawns was a little lacking for me, part of me thinks they were trying to go for a sort of live prawn-like sculpture, and I can appreciate the intent. However, the dish itself was delicious. The sauce had a lovely spiciness to it, and while I typically am not a big fan of cheese-filled pasta, the ricotta cavatelli wasn’t overly cheesy and was a delicious addition to this meal. The prawns were executed well, too – a nice char without over-cooking to add flavor but maintain the tenderness of the meat.
As for my friend’s meal, she could not stop raving about the broccoli, so it must have been very good, and the serving was huge. The pigs ears with the broccoli looked like a chicharron style preparation. Her halibut was beautifully plated, as well.
As for cocktails, at Borough I ordered the Seasonal Manhattan (Bookers Bourbon, Cocchi di Torino, Cocchi Rosa, Strawberry Tincture), which was probably the most delicious manhattan I’ve had. We followed up with a stop to Parlour, where she ordered the “there’s an app for that” (organic vodka, aperol, apple liqueur, prosecco, cinnamon, lemon, sage), and I had the “noe way, noe how” (pork washed bourbon, sweet corn liqueur, pineapple, lemon, egg white, habanero tincture). I think my friend’s drink was a little too cinnamon and sage forward for her. I loved my drink, though. The pork washed bourbon definitely added an interesting touch to the drink, especially with the body added by the egg white. It was like drinking a luau, which was awesome. I also downed a few delicious fried risotto balls from Parlour’s food menu.
Side note – on my previous trip, I believe my dining companion and I shared barbeque octopus and then he got steak while I opted for lamb tenderloin. If memory serves correctly, it was presented in multiple preparations (I believe this included loin, sausage, and pate) and was accompanied by a cucumber and yogurt sauce and a chickpea puree. I also had a Dill/Cantaloupe Gimlet (Gamle Ode Dill Aquavit, cantaloupe, lime juice) and a syrah blend.
While definitely not cheap, especially if you go for the true 3-course meal, I think this place is worth saving up a little to get a full experience. I had a lovely time here and would definitely recommend this to friends and return for more!