New Houston Restaurant 2840 at Dukessa is Well-Priced — and Even Has Parking
Near the Galleria, it can be a struggle to find restaurants that have both ample free parking and good, reasonably priced food. Newcomer 2840 at Dukessa — partly named for its address at 2840 Chimney Rock — is the solution to those uptown dining woes. It opened on November 1 and serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Chef Adrian de la Cerda (formerly of Ladybird food truck and Cavo Coffee) leads the kitchen operations and the general manager is Shannon Svetlik, formerly of Luigi’s and Weights + Measures. 2840 at Dukessa offers simple but tasteful dishes in a posh setting that feels far away from the hustle-and-bustle of Westheimer. Owner Sara Bhatty, who owns both the Dukessa event center and The Citadel with her husband Jay, wanted to expand the potential of the space; hence the new restaurant was born.
Houston Food Finder was invited to try some dishes. The menu is approachable and surprisingly affordable lunch fare considering the area it’s in. The atmosphere is bright and open with a slightly Mediterranean feel. Natural light fills the space thanks to a large window to the right of the dining area with a view of the terrace. There’s a small fountain just outside the exit that adds to a relaxing atmosphere that’s a welcome escape from the busy metropolis.
The soup of the day on our visit was roasted butternut squash with curry spices and heavy cream topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. The texture was perfectly silky and the spice level impeccably balanced with the sweetness of the squash. A small dollop of crème fraîche or plain yogurt would have added some welcome acidity and complexity, but that’s a minor point. It was a generous portion for a mere $4.
The Cauliflower Couscous is available as both a starter for $5.95 and a larger salad for $9.95 to which customers can add poached shrimp. The riced cauliflower effectively mimics the texture of couscous and the roasted olives, shallots, colored bell peppers and crumbled feta cheese are all chopped to a similar size to the couscous, which makes it easy to get each savory flavor in one bite. Fresh olive oil and lemon juice bind the flavors of this light and refreshing salad.
The Hot Chicken Sandwich is served on a fresh challah bun with bread and butter pickles, kewpie mayo, and a spicy honey and vinegar-based hot sauce. The chicken breast is delicately battered and fried, so the sauce can soften the coating up a bit, but the balance of sweet spice and acid more than make-up for the thin breading. The sauce wasn’t overbearing and perfectly balanced by sweet and crunchy bread and butter pickles and the kewpie mayo’s punch of umami. The sandwich is paired with cool, traditional coleslaw that isn’t overdressed and soggy (as so many slaws are) and is a welcome respite from the heat of the hot sauce.
Both Svetlik and de la Cerda say they are proud to serve simple dishes that reflect Houston’s many influences. That pride is certainly reflected in the food, service and atmosphere. With a 50-spot parking lot to boot, 2840 at Dukessa is primed to gain a loyal following.