Lomonte's Italian Restaurant is located in Richmond, close to Katy and Sugarland. I have been looking forward to visiting this family-owned restaurant for a long time. As many of you know, I travel the country enjoying the best restaurants recommended by locals, but have spent the last 15 years in Southern California. My best friends have now moved out to the suburbs of Houston and have let me in on this gem ... and I can now verify it is worth the drive, no matter where you live.
The Lomonte Family have owned restaurants for over 30 yrs. Braden and Melissa have shared their original family recipes, but have also made them a little different... a little better.
The first time I stopped by Lomonte's, I only had cocktails at the bar. I was meeting an old friend there and she let me know it was one of her family favorites. Well, my take-away from that night was that not only do they have a wonderful wine list, but a great Top Texas Craft Beer list too! And, trust me, it was not a night I would soon forget. Ha!
We started out with Italian bread. Not just your average Italian bread, though. At Lomonte's, you have to watch yourself with the instant starter of Italian bread, olive oil, balsamic, fresh Parmesan and basil. Just check out the photography and see for yourself! Throw in a bottle of wine and you might not order a meal - it's that good! I found this out the hard way when I had to take my whole entree home in a doggie bag. Which, come to find out, was awesome when it was warmed up. LOL!
My friend Amy highly recommends the Arancini, a marvelous mixture of panko, rice, Italian sausage, bacon, and a blend of 3 cheeses topped with spicy tomato cream sauce. Is THAT something you would be interested in? The savory flavors along with the rich tomato sauce were just what I was looking for. And paired with the Cabernet Sauvignon... forgetaboutit!
Another wonderful app / entrée was a highly-recommended menu item from one of my old and most-beloved friends, Brooke. The Bruschetta Rustica - tomato, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt, yellow onion, and Italian bread - is built with Lomonte family love. The highly-skilled bartender paired it with a Sicilian Mule (Deep Eddy Vodka, fresh lime, ginger beer and Lemoncello) Not for the faint of heart, but it brought out the garlic and olive oil. Just another example of how an app can become an entrée. Delish!
So, if you have been following me for any length of time, you know I have a fascination for salads. I don't say this often, but Lomonte's Famous House Salad is one of my ALL-time favorites. It's like vacation... Ha! I like vacation! I have the gift of gab, but I can't quite put it into words. The House Salad is prepared with Romaine and iceberg lettuce, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, red onions and Parmesan cheese all tossed in red wine vinaigrette. Sounds basic, but it's not. Another must-try - even if you have to share it with the table. But, I didn't. This was yet another St. Louis specialty - who knew St. Louis was so special?
Well, as if the starters weren't enough, we were all excited to get to the main courses. I am so glad I came with a group of some of my closest friends. I can't emphasize enough that Lomonte's is a family restaurant which is best enjoyed family-style. Sure, there are many great menu items - but the experience is so much better with your loved ones. Plus... you can try more items.
So, Phil's Baked Pasta was the first entrée that came to the table. It was served up with grilled Italian sausage, sautéed mushrooms, onions, black olives, red bell peppers and fresh basil. All these yummy goodness was tossed in a spicy tomato cream sauce, topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and baked. The grilled Italian sausage was out of this world! The fresh vegetables were an eye-opening accent that just set it apart. The Parmesan and mozzarella... made it wonderfully cheesy. Ha!
One of my VERY best friends - the Fox - and her foodie father let me know his favorite dish was Catfish Picante! The lightly-breaded catfish was perfectly fried and served with served with Fettuccine Alfredo and a Louisiana-style Picante Sauce. In Southern California, they think catfish is a trash fish - but I will battle anyone who says it doesn't hold its own with any fish you love. When prepared correctly... nothing tastes as good! The Picante Sauce it was swimming in was nothing less than LOUISIANA LOVE! Hands-down my favorite dish of the night! Thanks for the recommendation Mr. Fox - I owe ya one!
If you experience Lomonte's... I promise you will not only feel the family love, but also a St. Louis edge you won't find at any other Italian restaurant in Houston. I have to admit, this family establishment is a little out of the way - just outside the city limits. However, I will put my name on it. Just look at the photography! Enjoy!