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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

A dinner to remember at Saldivia's in Houston, Texas

If you have read any of my previous opinions on dining establishments, you know I am honest and unfiltered. While ordering and dining, I do not share who I am or what I am thinking until I get to my computer to share with you. Before you spend one dollar on a dining experience, I want you to know what it is like to have the experience and direction towards or from the dishes I have tried. With that in mind, let's have a chat about Saldivia's South American Grill.

Neil and I were invited by our friends to a farewell dinner at a South American restaurant on Westheimer. My first friend in Houston, Gabby, is originally from Buenos Aries. He is in the know on where to go for the best chimichurri in town. My two besties, Paula and Bev, came as well. This was our last night out together before Neil and I hopped a one-way flight to the Dominican Republic. We ordered an epic meal that has me salivating a month later.

Do you know what the best thing is about going out to a great dinner with great friends? Great friends share. We started out with a wine selection. This bar is stock for both wine and beer lovers. We left the selection up to Gabby as this is one of his favorite spots. We ordered several bottles of Malbec. Celebrating makes us thirsty and the wine selection here is delicious.

With our wine selection, they brought out fresh, warm french bread, and chimichurri. This is no ordinary chimichurri. It must be some of the most divine herb, olive oil, and garlic blends I have ever had. And if you finish that bowl of chimichurri, they will simply bring you another. The service here is outstanding as well. Everyone is treated like a friend of the family.

We ordered a round of appetizers as well. Trust me. You do not want to skip this part. We ordered Sweetbreads called Mollejahs, not your everyday Bruschetta, and hand-made empanadas. I had a beef empanada first. It took my breath away how beautifully tucked each fold of dough is around the filling. And how beautifully the dough cooks into a golden light crispy layer. The beef inside is juicy and well seasoned to savory goodness.

Let's talk about this Bruschetta. I typically think of a fresh diced tomato salad on top of toasted baguette slices when I think of Bruschetta. Here at Saldivia's, they serve this dish with herb-seasoned melted mozzarella in a hot cast iron dish topped with fresh sliced tomato that you can spread all over your french bread as you desire. This would be a great date night appetizer or a decadent vegetarian option. But eating it is an oozy gooey melt in your mouth experience. And like other Bruschetta experiences, you still get that pop of freshness from the ripe tomato on top.

Now let's talk about my favorite appetizer at the table, the grilled sweetbreads called Molejahs. Oh yeah, this one is definitely my favorite. This dish is served hot on a cast iron plate with plenty to share. And it ain't nothin' but the Molejahs. It has a rich beefy flavor. It is so tender, so well seasoned, so scrumptious. It is a must-have.

Bev ordered an Ensalada Camerones. This salad is abundant. The shrimp are wrapped in bacon then grilled beautifully. This salad is built in a bowl with mixed greens, tomatoes, and onions tossed in vinaigrette. Then the chef places hearts of palm all around this mound of greens. The final touch is these gorgeous large shrimp on top. It is a salad that gives you the sense that you may be doing something wrong. However, it is about fifty shades of right.

Paula had the Milanesa Napolitana. This dish is a pan-fried beef cutlet smothered in marinara sauce and melted mozzarella. On the menu, there are six different milanesa varieties featuring both beef and chicken. So no matter what flavors you are leaning towards, Saldivia's has your back. The beef milanesa that we had was tender and lightly battered. When I go back, I will absolutely try a Milanesa Suprema made with chicken, ham, and cheese.

Neil ordered a Chicken Alfredo with penne pasta, mushrooms, and spinach. The chicken was grilled to perfection. Grilling is what Saldiva's does best, in my opinion. The alfredo was nice and creamy. This is a classic dish that was executed so well that I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. Pasta is my last choice for any meal and I thought this dish was the perfect pasta to sauce ratio. Needless to say, the leftovers disappeared in record time.

Gabby and I ordered the same thing. We ordered the Entrana. This is a skirt steak prepared with Uruguayan traditions and expertise. It is served with a side of rice and grilled vegetables. Gabby wanted to go a little lighter, so he got sliced tomatoes in lieu of steak fries. This is truly the best thing I had here, and that is saying a lot with how much wine Bev and I consumed. For a skirt steak, this was amazingly tender. I was chewing it like I would a dry-aged ribeye. Right when I think this steak could not get any better, Gabby leans over and shares his genius with me. He told me to put my chimichurri on the steak. Um, yes, more, please. After decades of friendship, I have learned to listen to Gabby.

I know when we are at home and we are going through the genres of culinary achievement that we want to experience for dinner that night or sometime soon, we never say "South American". It simply does not occur to us. But this meal was so outstanding, it is worthy of a special occasion or simply treating yourself with love. I am marking my calendar for the next time I am in the United States to go to Saldivia's. And I sincerely hope Neil and I see you there.

Thank you for reading. Please check out my other posts below. Come back every Monday for a new blog post. And to stay in the know about what we are cooking next, subscribe to my blog. See you soon!


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