Last night we went to a fun dinner at Bernie’s Burger Bus, located at 5407 Bellaire Blvd. Bernie’s began as a popular food truck in 2010, and opened its brick-and-mortar establishment in 2014, featuring hand-ground burgers, homemade condiments, and breads baked by a local artisanal baker.
Inside, the restaurant is schoolhouse themed, with menus that look like composition notebooks, school desks, and of course, a school bus:
But last night we weren’t there for burgers. We were there for Bernie’s monthly After Dark “Cool Kids Table” dinner. At the back of the restaurant, tables were set aside for 18 diners — the “cool kids.”
This month’s theme was Mardi Gras Style, and was done in collaboration with Anthony Calleo of Pi Pizza Truck and Matt Toomey of Boomtown Coffee and The Honeymoon Café & Bar. I liked the premise–a multi-course dinner in a casual setting, without the stuffiness that tends to accompany similar wine dinners. Beer, wine, and soft drinks were available for purchase.
The first course, which might have been everyone’s favorite, was called “Remoulade,” and consisted of butter-poached lobster, romesco, and fractured remoulade:
Next up was “PoBoy,” a crispy oyster panzanella with greens and warm andouille dressing. These oysters were plump, spicy, and crunchy:
“Gumbo” was different than any gumbo I’ve ever had, and was served “Lyle” bento box style (a tongue-in-cheek reference to Underbelly sous chef Lyle Bento who is in the process of opening Southern Goods in the Heights):
The fourth course, “Quail,” was a tasty fried, lacquered quail atop duck-laced grits, with pickled greens and a creole vin:
For dessert, we were treated to “Beignets,” which was made up of two sweet potato beignets with a really decadent creole cream cheese ice cream, accompanied by a New Orleans style café sua da, a strong rich coffee that went well with the dessert:
So did I feel cool, sitting back there at the Cool Kids Table? Yeah, kinda. We really enjoy these special dinners, and as a bonus, we usually meet like-minded foodie types at them, which makes them all the more interesting. If you’re interested in dinners like these, you’re in luck, because there are scores of them going on all around the city, all the time these days. To keep up, I follow Eater, Culture Map, Houston Press Eating Our Words, and My Table on Facebook, all of which do a great job of posting events. Try one and see how much fun they are!