What You'll Get
If humankind never learned to play with its food, it would never have learned to play with its ingredients, and the world would be one bereft bowl of gruel. For $20, today's deal regales your palate with $40 worth of contemporary American cuisine at the brand-new Strata Restaurant & Bar in the Champions area. You can drop in and use your Groupon, but you will need to make a reservation during holidays, so call ahead for Valentine's Day.
Executive chef John Ly has crafted a sumptuous menu that combines fresh, seasonal produce and high-quality ingredients into multiple "strata" of flavor within each dish. Discriminating diners get to dig through these strata without fear of cave-ins or awakening balrogs. Start off with the sausage du jour (sourdough crostini, caramelized onions, sweet bell peppers with tomato mostarda, $7) before delving into deeper dishes. Deep-sea divers will dig the potato-wrapped sea bass with butternut-squash risotto, marinated tomatoes, zucchini, and squash in a leek wine sauce ($28). Meatfreaks can dive straight into a 12-oz. New York strip steak with pancetta grits and garlic spinach ($25), while herbivores can augment an order of veggie-heavy bow-tie pasta ($14) with sautéed mushrooms ($6) and whipped potatoes ($5). Otherwise, savor the complexities of pecan- and coffee-crusted lamb chops with creamy polenta and apricot-glazed butternut squash in a Merlot demi-glace ($26). Strata also offers a hearty brunch of as-you-like-it three-egg omelettes ($14), breakfast tacos ($12), and the classic eggs benny ($12).
This Groupon is not valid for alcohol.
Though it only opened in November, Strata Restaurant & Bar has already been featured in the Houston Chronicle:
- Knowlton also says Strata Restaurant & Bar (122 Vintage Park Blvd.) deserves your attention. “Executive Chef John Ly really hits the mark with his creations,” he says. “Although we have sampled much of the menu’s pastas, soups and salads, our top four favorites are the roasted pork tenderloin with peppercorn mustard seed rub, the potato-wrapped sea bass with butternut squash risotto, cabernet duck with black pepper/red wine reduction sauce, and pecan and coffee-crusted lamb chops with mascarpone polenta.” – Mary Vuong
You can also check out Chef John Ly's appearance on Great Day Houston.
The Fine Print
Promotional value expires May 4, 2010. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per table. Not valid for alcohol. Not valid for Valentine's Day menu. Tax and gratuity not included. No cash back or credit. Reservations required on holidays, including 2/12–2/14. Mention Groupon when making a reservation. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.
Though John Ly grew up helping out in the kitchen of his family's restaurants, his parents never wanted him to become a chef. The restaurant industry is competitive, they warned him—a lot of hard work with little recognition. Heeding their advice, Ly began pursuing a degree in computer science at the University of Texas, but soon realized that he longed for the creativity and chaos of the kitchen. Propelled by his passion for food and cooking, Ly renounced his degree and enrolled in culinary school. After years spent working his way up through scrubbing floors, washing dishes, and absorbing his managing chef's techniques, Ly finally spearheaded Strata—naming the restaurant after the word for "different layers" to reflect the diverse international influences of his cooking.
As executive chef, Ly captains his kitchen crew as they artfully plate innovative, contemporary American dishes using seasonal ingredients, earning the restaurant Hungry in Houston's Best Restaurant award in 2010. His pan-seared sea bass, cinnamon-rubbed rib eye, and spicy habanero-infused sausage dishes have also enticed the taste buds of reporters from the Houston Press. Ly staffs his modern dining room with a friendly team of servers, while offering up an expansive outdoor patio, an ideal spot for a date night or celebrating recent acquisitions of rival rent-a-bobcat businesses.